Carrying out business activities subject to value-added tax (VAT) requires becoming a VAT payer in the first place. In order to do so, you must submit the appropriate registration form. We explain step by step how to correctly fill out and submit the VAT-R form.
What is the VAT-R form?
The VAT-R form is a document that should be submitted when a taxpayer needs to be declared in the VAT register, as well as to change previously declared data. Therefore, it is said that the VAT-R form can be either registration or update, depending on the circumstances.
Who must file the VAT-R form?
All entrepreneurs who carry out activities subject to VAT or the net value of the goods or services they sell exceeds PLN 200,000 are required to file a VAT-R return. Only companies that have been exempted from VAT are excluded from this obligation:
- subjectively – includes types of activities that have been exempted from VAT under the provisions of the Tax Act, such as services in the field of medical care and for the prevention, preservation, rescue, restoration and improvement of health;
- objectively applies to entrepreneurs who are engaged in activities that are not exempt from VAT, but whose turnover last fiscal year did not exceed the statutory threshold (in 2022 it was 200,000 in revenue).
Of course, VAT-exempt entities still have the right to file such a form and register as VAT payers. Those who pay VAT are so-called active taxpayers. On the other hand, entrepreneurs who enjoy an exemption (regardless of its type) are referred to as exempt (so-called passive) taxpayers.
Updating data in the VAT taxpayer register
The obligation to update data in the register of VAT taxpayers arises from Article 96(12) of the VAT Law. According to this provision – if the data contained in the registration application changes, the taxpayer is obliged to report the change to the head of the tax office within 7 days, counting from the day on which the change occurred.
Obligatory registration, regardless of the value of goods or services sold, applies to selected activities that consist of:
- supplying goods listed in Appendix 12 to the VAT Act (e.g., precious metals);
- supplying goods subject to excise taxes (with few exceptions);
- supplying buildings, structures or parts thereof, building sites or means of transportation;
- selling parts for motor vehicles or motorcycles;
- the provision of legal, jewelry, debt collection and factoring services.
The VAT-R form must also be submitted by all foreign entrepreneurs who conduct business on the territory of the Republic of Poland and do not have a registered office on its territory.
When is it necessary to obtain an entry in the register of VAT taxpayers?
It should be pointed out that a businessman who must become a VAT taxpayer before performing his first taxable activity in accordance with Article 96(1) of the VAT Law. In the case of registration resulting from exceeding the net sales value limit, registration must be made before the date of exceeding the amount of 200 thousand zlotys. If an entrepreneur wishes to register as a VAT taxpayer voluntarily, the notification must be made before the beginning of the month in which he gives up his subjective exemption.
To avoid missing the deadline, it is advisable to submit the VAT-R form well in advance. During busy periods, tax offices recognize taxpayers’ applications for up to several weeks. Applying for VAT taxpayer status at the last minute, for example, before opening a business, could result in unnecessary business losses.
Once the application is received, it is analyzed. In the absence of negative premises, the head of the relevant tax office registers the taxpayer.
Where to find the VAT-R form?
The VAT-R form can be submitted on paper or electronically. The electronic version of the form can be downloaded from the government website www.finanse.mf.gov.pl. The paper form, on the other hand, is ready to be downloaded from any tax office in Poland.
In practice, many tax offices require taxpayers to show a legal title that proves the right to use the premises designated as the company’s headquarters. This could be, for example, a copy of the land and mortgage register or a lease agreement.
However, it is worth noting that the lack of a legal title does not constitute a formal deficiency, as it does not result from statutory provisions. Tax offices carry out verification activities in this way. Their course of action most often includes a visit by tax office employees to the premises indicated as proper for business activity in order to determine whether it actually resides at the indicated address.
How to fill out the VAT-R?
The VAT-R form is a 5-page document consisting of several parts and dozens of fields. Below we discuss what information should be included in each of them so that the taxpayer’s application for registration is not rejected.
At the very top of the form is a space for the applicant’s TIN number. If the taxpayer does not have one, along with the VAT-R, a NIP-2 application should be submitted, intended for identification notification by entities that have not yet been assigned a Tax Identification Number.
Part A of the VAT-R form – purpose and place of submission and jurisdiction of the head of the US.
Part A of the form consists of the following data:
- field number 4 – specifies the purpose of submission of the application (registration or update of data); for new VAT taxpayers it will always be registration;
- field number 5 – here the head of the tax office competent according to the place of residence of the applicant in the case of natural persons, or the seat in the case of legal entities and organizational units should be entered;
- Boxes number 6 and 7 – information about the tax authority and its address in the country where the taxpayer has its registered office, if it is not in the Republic of Poland;
- boxes number 8 and 9 – contain information about the change of jurisdiction of the tax authority, together with the indication of the previous head of the tax authority (the change of jurisdiction is caused by the transfer of the company’s registered office).
Part B of the VAT-R form – data of the taxpayer
Part B of the form contains data identifying the taxpayer and consists of three parts. The taxpayer can be both a legal person (or an organizational unit) and a natural person (including a sole proprietor. The legislator has made it clear that the fields next to which there is the symbol “*” apply to a taxpayer who is not a natural person, while the symbol “**” applies to a taxpayer who is a natural person. The individual fields require the following information:
- field 10 – type of taxpayer (selectable from natural person, non-natural person and foreign person);
- Box 11 – full name of the entrepreneur or his name;
- Box 12 – abbreviated name in the case of entities that are not natural persons, or father’s name and mother’s name;
- Box 13 – PESEL registration number in the case of taxpayers who are a natural person;
- Box 14 – date of commencement of activity in case of taxpayers who are not a natural person, or date of birth in day-month-year format for natural persons;
- Boxes 15 through 24 – contain a precise indication of the taxpayer’s registered office or residence address, including:
- indication of the country;
- indication of the province, county and municipality;
- house and premises number;
- postal code.
- Boxes 25 and 26 – are to be filled out only by entities that are a foreign legal entity or organizational unit registered in a country other than the Republic, include the identification number for VAT or similar tax purposes.
Part C of the VAT-R form – circumstances determining tax liability
Like Part B of the form, Part C also consists of three sections. They specify various types of circumstances that may affect the tax liability. Part C.1 contains the following data:
- box 27 is to be checked by entities that are not Polish VAT taxpayers within the meaning of the goods tax (legal entities, organizational units, individuals engaged in individual business activity);
- box 28 – should be checked if the taxpayer does not have a registered office or place of residence in the territory of the Republic of Poland;
- box 29 should be checked if the taxpayer engaged in individual business activity is not entitled to the exemption referred to in paragraph 1 or 9 of Article 113 of the VAT Law. Paragraph 1 of the provision relates to the exemption of taxpayers whose total sales value in the previous tax year did not exceed the amount of PLN 200 thousand. Paragraph 9, on the other hand, concerns the exemption of taxpayers who “enter” VAT during the tax year, if they perform activities subject to mandatory taxation, but the expected value from the sale of goods or services will not exceed the said 200 thousand zlotys in proportion to the period of activity in the tax year. The list of taxable activities is found in Article 5 of the Law and includes:
- paid delivery of goods and paid provision of services on the territory of the country;
- export of goods;
- import of goods on the territory of the country;
- intra-Community acquisition of goods for consideration on the national territory;
- intra-Community supply of goods.
At the same time, the legislator in Article 5(2) indicated that activities are taxable regardless of whether the entrepreneur meets the requirements for the form of the legal act or other conditions. It does not matter whether the contract as such remains valid under civil law, because on tax grounds it will still have legal effects.
- box 30 – the taxpayer will use the exemptions referred to in Article 113 paragraph 1 or 9 of the VAT Act;
- box 31 – the taxpayer makes or will make only tax-exempt sales to the extent listed in Article 43 (1) with the exception of item 3 and Article 82 of the Law (e.g., supply of blood, plasma, organs and breast milk, supply of gold to the NBP, supply of undeveloped land other than construction land);
- box 32 – the taxpayer will use the tax exemption referred to in Article 43 (1) (3) of the Law, i.e. the supply of agricultural products by a flat-rate farmer;
- boxes 33 alternatively 34 should be checked in a situation where the taxpayer voluntarily abandons the statutory exemption despite the fact that the taxpayer is entitled to use them;
- box 35 – the taxpayer has lost the right to use the exemption referred to in Article 113 paragraph 1 or 9 of the VAT Act;
- box 36 – the taxpayer performs activities referred to in Article 113 (13) of the VAT Act, i.e. activities that do not entitle the taxpayer to a subjective exemption. Obligatory taxable activities include, among others:
deliveries of goods listed in Appendix No. 12 to the VAT Act;
supply of goods subject to excise tax with the exception of a closed catalog of goods, including tobacco products, new means of transportation and construction sites;
provision of legal, jewelry or factoring services.
- box 37 – shall be checked by a supplier who does not have a place of business in the national territory and makes a distance intra-Community sale of goods that are in the national territory at the time of commencement of shipment or transportation;
- box 38 – the taxpayer will facilitate or facilitate the supplies referred to in Article 7a of the VAT Law. Facilitation should be understood as the taxpayer’s use of an electronic interface to sell imported goods in consignments with an actual value not exceeding the equivalent of 150 euros (e.g., via an online platform). The taxpayer is then considered to have independently received the goods and made their delivery;
- box 39 – is checked by taxpayers who will facilitate supplies within the meaning of Article 109b of the VAT Law. This refers to the facilitation by means of an electronic interface of, among other things, distance sales of imported goods other than the supply of goods under Article 7a of the Law;
- box 40 – contains the date starting from which the taxpayer will exercise the exemption, gives up the right or loses it. The date should be given in terms of day-month-year;
- boxes 41-52 are for exemptions relating to financial services, small taxpayers and quarterly returns; the taxpayer in each case should specify the quarter, month or year from which the right to exercise the exemption is elected, given up or lost;
- boxes 53, 54 and 56 are for the so-called special procedures; this includes four items, including the flat-rate taxation of passenger cab services or the waiver thereof, as well as the exemption for the delivery, purchase and import of investment gold and other transactions carried out in gold (e.g., swaps, futures and forwards derivatives) and the waiver of this entitlement.
Information regarding the submission of VAT-R returns
Section C.2 contains information regarding the submission of returns. In fields 57 and 58, taxpayers choose whether they want to settle VAT monthly or quarterly. As a rule, VAT is settled on a monthly basis. Quarterly settlements can be chosen by small taxpayers, i.e. entities whose sales value in the previous year did not exceed €1.2 million. The choice of reporting period also affects the type of summary of VAT transactions sent. For monthly settlements, it will be JPK_V7. For quarterly settlements, JPK_V7K applies.
Note that quarterly settlement will not be available for taxpayers who:
- are active VAT taxpayers for less than 12 months;
- in a given quarter or the preceding four quarters have made transactions involving so-called sensitive goods listed in Annex 15 to the VAT Act, the total value of which exceeded in any month the amount of PLN 50,000 excluding VAT;
- have imported goods in a given quarter in accordance with the rules set forth in Article 33 Section 1 of the VAT Act (applies to the settlement of output tax on the import of goods);
- do not, contrary to their obligation, ensure that payment can be made by means of a payment instrument at each place where the business activity is actually carried out.
In addition to the possibility of choosing the settlement period in Part C.2, there are also boxes that should be checked:
- taxpayers making intra-Community acquisitions of goods who file a VAT-8 return (box 59);
- taxpayers engaged in the business of providing passenger cab services, excluding the rental of passenger cars with a driver, who are taxed on a flat rate basis and file a simplified VAT-12 tax return (box 60).
Boxes 61 through 64 contain space for entering the date on which the taxpayer will file the first return referred to in boxes 57 through 60.
Information on the performance of intra-Community transactions
Part C.3 is to be filled out only by taxpayers who perform intra-Community transactions and therefore must register as a VAT-EU taxpayer.
- box 65 – applies to VAT taxpayers who perform one of the following activities (intra-Community supply or acquisition of goods, import or provision of services to foreign counterparties);
- box 66 – is checked by a VAT-exempt taxpayer who will make or is making an intra-Community acquisition of goods;
- box 67 – is checked by a VAT-exempt taxpayer who will be providing or rendering services to foreign contractors (Art. 100(1)(4) of the Law) or will be purchasing or acquiring services to which Art. 28b of the VAT Law applies, if the services would constitute an import of services for the taxpayer;
- field 68 – the expected date of commencement of the activities referred to in fields 65 through 68 should be entered therein;
- box 69 – it should be marked by a taxpayer who has completed the activities referred to in boxes 65 through 68 (intra-Community supply or acquisition of goods, provision of services to a foreign contractor and services that would be an import for the taxpayer) and has not marked any of these boxes.
- box 70 – the correct date of completion of the activity should be entered here (only if box 69 is checked).
Application for confirmation of registration
Part D of the form contains only one field – 71 and two answer options “Yes” and “No”. The “Yes” field is filled out by a taxpayer who wants to receive confirmation of registration as either an active VAT taxpayer or an exempt VAT taxpayer.
Contact information of the taxpayer
Section E is the place where the data of the taxpayer or the attorney acting on his behalf is located.
- boxes 72 and 73 – in these spaces you should enter the name and surname of the taxpayer or his attorney. In the case of individual entrepreneurs acting on their own, the fields are to be filled in by the entrepreneur; in commercial companies, they are to be filled in by the partners (or shareholder) authorized to represent the entity before the tax authorities;
- boxes 74 and 75 – spaces for a contact telephone number and e-mail address.
- box 76 – date of completion of the form;
- box 77 – space for the taxpayer’s handwritten signature or the person acting on his behalf.
The VAT-R form still contains section F (on a characteristic gray background). However, the fields in it are filled out not by the taxpayer, but by an employee of the relevant tax office.
Submitting VAT-R by an attorney – what is worth knowing?
The possibility of submitting the VAT-R form by an attorney results from the general principle of the Tax Ordinance expressed in Article 138a §1 of the Tax Ordinance. A party’s attorney may be a natural person with full legal capacity.
The VAT Law, in Article 96, paragraph 4b, stipulates that in the case of a registration application made by a proxy, that proxy is jointly and severally liable up to PLN 500,000 for the taxpayer’s tax arrears arising from activities performed within 6 months from the date of registration of the taxpayer as an active VAT taxpayer.
How to file a VAT-R online?
Of course, the completed VAT-R form in paper form can be submitted to the competent tax office according to the taxpayer’s place of residence, or, as a last resort, sent by mail. However, both solutions are time-consuming, so it is better to use the solutions offered by new technologies.
The VAT-R form can also be filled out electronically and sent via the Tax Portal (requires prior creation of an account) or signed with a trusted profile or electronic signature. In the case of individual business, the VAT-R can be submitted simultaneously with the CEIDG form, which is also submitted online. As a result, the circulation of documentation takes place exclusively online. Similarly, the VAT-R is updated through CEIDG.
Can the head of the tax office refuse to register a VAT taxpayer despite the submission of the VAT-R form?
The VAT Law provides a number of grounds that obligate the head of the tax office to refuse registration even without informing the applicant. According to Article 96(4a) of the VAT Law, refusal occurs if:
- the data provided in the registration application is not true;
- the entity making the notification does not exist;
- despite documented attempts made, it is not possible to contact the entity or its proxy;
- the entity or its proxy does not appear for summons from the head of the tax office;
- from the information at hand, it appears that the taxpayer may be carrying out activities with the intention of using the activities of banks or cooperative savings and credit unions that are related to tax extortion in the meaning of the Tax Ordinance;
- a court has ruled against the filing entity to prohibit it from conducting business.
What are sensitive goods and services under Annex 15 of the VAT Law?
Carrying out transactions involving sensitive goods and services excludes the possibility of filing quarterly VAT returns. When filling out the VAT-R, it is useful to know what falls into this segment of products and services. These include:
- steel and steel products;
- scrap and waste;
- precious and base metals;
- tablets, smartphones and game consoles;
- construction services;
- electrical machinery and equipment.
The catalog of sensitive goods and services is very extensive, with more than 100 items.
Consequences of not submitting the VAT-R form
Failure to submit a VAT-R form despite meeting the statutory prerequisites means, first and foremost, that the tax loss must be compensated. However, it is worth remembering that even in a situation where taxpayers, do not have to register, in accordance with Article 88(4) of the VAT Act, the reduction of the amount or refund of the difference of output tax does not apply to taxpayers who are not registered as active VAT taxpayers.
The inability to reduce output tax by input tax is a significant loss for the entrepreneur, who will end up paying a higher tax liability. The easiest way to understand this is with a simple example.
The entrepreneur provided business-related services for the net amount of PLN 10,000 and PLN 2,300 in VAT. At the same time, he purchased materials and equipment for business needs for a net amount of PLN 5,000 and PLN 1150 in VAT.
The amount of VAT that is the difference of 2300 and 1150, i.e. 1150 PLN, and not the full 2300 PLN, should be paid to the tax office.
How much does it cost to submit a VAT-R form?
Registration of a taxpayer in the VAT register is free of charge. Only if the applicant wishes to receive confirmation of registration, the amount of PLN 170 must be paid. An additional fee of PLN 17 may arise if an attorney is used.
Completing the VAT-R form yourself is not a simple task. It is an elaborate and complicated form, so often – despite extensive explanations at the end of the form – taxpayers often make unconscious mistakes when filling it out. It is not difficult to select an option that does not correlate with a given business activity, or even to select two mutually exclusive fields.
It is worth remembering that even unknowingly providing false data not only prolongs the entire VAT registration process, but, above all, gives rise to potential criminal and fiscal liability. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a professional fill out and submit the form.