Poland: New standard refund procedure as of 2019 - Updated

04.07.2019

Note: This announcement, originally published on 17 June 2019 has been updated further to clarify the responsibility to monitor the annual 2 million PLN income threshold. Changes have been highlighted.


Clearstream Banking1 informs customers that following the changes to taxation rules for 2019 the process of standard refund applicable as of 1 January 2019 was also amended and required a deep analysis. 

Our local depository Bank Handlowy w Warszawie SA (the depository) confirmed the final process applicable to all securities except the Euro-denominated mortgage bonds held with the Central Securities Depository (CSD) KDPW. The procedure of standard refund for Euro-denominated mortgage bonds will be announced separately.

Effective 

immediately

the following standard refund procedure applies to all reclaims on income paid by Polish equities and bonds before and after 1 January 2019.

Impact on customers

Since guidance regarding the new process is still expected to be issued by the Polish Ministry of Finance, Clearstream Banking and its depository cannot ensure that the requirements provided below will not change in the future. Additional documentation may also be required from time to time by the Polish Tax Office treating the refund. 

Customers wishing to reclaim tax on behalf of final beneficial owners must provide Clearstream Banking with the following documentation by the prescribed deadlines. 

This standard refund process is only applicable to income from equities and income from bonds excluding the Euro-denominated mortgage bonds deposited with KDPW. 

Procedure for bonds and equities (except Euro-denominated mortgage bonds)

Eligible beneficial owners

The beneficial owners eligible to standard refund through Clearstream Banking upon receipt of the valid documentation as requested below, are: 
According to the Double Taxations Treaties (DTT):

  • Beneficial owners (Legal entities and individuals) qualifying for the benefit of a reduced rate of withholding tax in accordance with a DTT between its country of residence and Poland.
  • Banking entities: The DTTs signed by Poland with Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar and United Kingdom are granting tax exemption from withholding tax to banking entities having their fiscal residency in those countries. There is however a restriction for Belgium whose DTT with Poland states that tax exemption cannot be applied to securities issued in bearer form.
  • Central Banks: tax exemption is available if granted by the DTT signed between Poland and the Central Bank’s country of residence. 

According to the domestic law:

  • EU/EEA Investment funds: the tax exemption is available to the investment funds that satisfy certain eligibility criteria listed in the required self-certification. 
  • EU/EEA Pension funds: the tax exemption is available to the pension funds that satisfy certain eligibility criteria listed in the required self-certification. 
  • EU investors holding, for 24 months continuously, at least in 10% of the share capital distributed by a Polish Issuer (or 25% of the bonds , as per 2003/49/WE), may benefit from tax exemption on the respective income. This exemption is granted by the Polish Act of Corporate Income Tax and is related to implementation into Polish law of EU directive 2003/123/EC. NB : the 24 months required holding period can be before the impacted income payment but also after it. If the investor received income gross but sells the security before the end of the mandatory holding period, he is under the obligation to pay the tax amount to the Polish Tax Authorities.
  • Supranational/international organisations: there are no particular Polish regulations granting tax exemption for supranational/international organisations. The eligibility must be requested on a case by case basis (for example,  ONU agencies or entities such as EBRD and NATO where Poland is a member are exempt from taxation in Poland).  

No service is offered to Polish resident legal entities and individuals. They are recommended to introduce their reclaim directly with the Polish Tax Authorities.

Documentation to provide

The documentation to provide varies depending on the type of beneficial owner

For ALL beneficiaries

The reclaim will be processed by hard copy or electronically, depending on the date of income payment and the annual income held by the beneficial owner, as follows:

  • Income distributed before 1 January 2019: hard copy tax reclaim
  • Income distributed after 1 January 2019 with an income per beneficiary up to 2 million PLN: hard copy tax reclaim
  • Income distributed after 1 January 2019 with an income per beneficiary above 2 million PLN: electronic tax reclaim

All customers must provide for any type of beneficial owner: 

  • A document confirming the annual income (above or below the 2 million threshold) for each final beneficial owner, advising of the necessity to submit tax reclaims electronically. This is only needed for tax reclaims referring to income received in years 2019 onward. No official template exists, a self-declaration from the customer or the final beneficial owner is sufficient. 

Important: It is the beneficial owner’s responsibility to monitor its annual 2 million PLN income threshold which will determine the tax process to be followed (hard copy or electronic).

For DTT residents

  • Letter of Request to Clearstream Banking for Reclaim of Polish Withholding tax.
  • A Certificate of Tax Residence (CoTR): to be provided in original by all entities claiming the benefit of the DTT signed between their country of residence and Poland. The COTR must cover the date of the income payment. Electronic CORs are accepted. Please refer to the procedure described under A18103.
  • A Power of Attorney (POA) – Omnibus Account, notarial confirmation required, confirming the person signing the POA is authorised to act on behalf of investor. The investor’s name on the POA must be consistent with account name and the CoTR. 
  • A full chain of credit advices: confirmation of the money transfers related to interest/dividend payments as well as the deduction of tax. It must be provided for each standard refund application by each intermediary between the final beneficial owner and Clearstream Banking. It is recommended to use the Proof of Final Distribution templates provided by Clearstream Banking’s depository to avoid translation delays and costs.
  • Additional document, if applicable: in case of any change to the BO’s registered details (name, address, etc.) customers must provide any document confirming the changes. This is necessary to determine the beneficial ownership or entitlement to reduced withholding tax rates or tax exemptions.

And if the DTT resident is a legal entity:

  • A Declaration – Beneficial ownership: self-certification to be signed by the final beneficial owner (BO) or its representative under a POA and stating that:
    a)    the applicant is the beneficial owner as well as a taxpayer with respect to the relevant interest/dividend payments,
    b)    the applicant conducts actual business activities in the place of its registered office, which is connected with the income earned in Poland,
    c)    interest/dividends are not received by the applicant’s permanent establishment in Poland and are not effectively connected with a business carried out in Poland by said permanent establishment,
    d)    all facts presented in a reclaim application are true and all attached documentation is authentic.
  • A Declaration - Reclaim: self-certification stating that the declarations mentioned in the Beneficial ownership declaration and documentation provided are true and accurate.

And if the DTT resident is an eligible bank: 

  • Any document supporting the status of the bank: attestation from the regulator confirming that the entity has permission for banking business or notarized copy of the banking licence. It should cover the year of the income payment; 

For EU investors

  • A Letter of Request to Clearstream Banking for Reclaim of Polish Withholding tax
  • A Certificate of Tax Residence (COTR): to be provided in original by all entities claiming the benefit of the DTT signed between their country of residence and Poland. The COTR must cover the date of the income payment. Electronic CORs are accepted. Please refer to the procedure described under A18103
  • A Power of Attorney (POA) - notarial confirmation required, confirming the person signing the POA is authorised to act on behalf of investor. The investor’s name on the POA must be consistent with account name and the CoTR. 
  • Full chain of credit advices: confirmation of the money transfers related to interest/dividend payments as well as the deduction of tax. It must be provided for each standard refund application by each intermediary between the final beneficial owner and Clearstream Banking. It is recommended to use the Proof of Final Distribution templates provided by Clearstream Banking’s depository to avoid translation delay and costs.
  • A Parent-subsidiary declaration:  self-certification stating that the conditions required to apply exemption on the interest/dividend payments under the EU Parent-Subsidiary Directive are met (only where applicable). Please use the appropriate template for interest or dividend. 
  • A Declaration - Reclaim: self-certification stating that the Parent-subsidiary declaration and the documentation provided are true and accurate.
  • Additional document, if applicable: in case of any change to the BO’s registered details (name, address, etc.) customers must provide any document confirming the changes. This is necessary to determine the beneficial ownership or entitlement to reduced withholding tax rates or tax exemptions.

For EU/EEA pension funds

  • Letter of Request to Clearstream Banking for Reclaim of Polish Withholding tax
  • A Certificate of Tax Residence (COTR): to be provided in original by all entities claiming the benefit of the DTT signed between their country of residence and Poland. The COTR must cover the date of the income payment. Electronic CORs are accepted. Please refer to the procedure described under A18103
  • A Power of Attorney (POA) – Omnibus Account - notarial confirmation required, confirming the person signing the POA is authorised to act on behalf of investor. The investor’s name on the POA must be consistent with account name and the CoTR. 
  • A full chain of credit advices: confirmation of the money transfers related to interest/dividend payments as well as the deduction of tax. It must be provided for each standard refund application by each intermediary between the final beneficial owner and Clearstream Banking. It is recommended to use the Proof of Final Distribution templates provided by Clearstream Banking’s depository to avoid translation delay and costs.
  • A Declaration - Beneficial ownership: self-certification to be signed by the final beneficial owner (BO) or its representative under a POA and stating that:
    a)    the applicant is the beneficial owner as well as a taxpayer with respect to the relevant interest/dividend payments,
    b)    the applicant conducts actual business activities in the place of its registered office, which is connected with the income earned in Poland,
    c)    interest/dividends are not received by the applicant’s permanent establishment in Poland and are not effectively connected with a business carried out in Poland by said permanent establishment,
    d)    all facts presented in a reclaim application are true and all attached documentation is authentic.
  • A Declaration – Reclaim: self-certification stating that the declarations mentioned in the Beneficial ownership declaration and documentation provided are true and accurate.
  • Any document supporting the status the EU/EEA pension fund. Can be Articles of Association, Attestation from regulator (German BAFIN, Luxembourgish CSSF,  French AMF etc.), Extract from business register, Trust Deed, Annual Report, Domestic regulations. All documents must clearly refer to and must be issued in the year of payment of the income. 
  • Additional document, if applicable: in case of any change to the BO’s registered details (name, address, etc.) customers must provide any document confirming the changes. This is necessary to determine the beneficial ownership or entitlement to reduced withholding tax rates or tax exemptions.

For EU/EEA investment funds

  • Letter of Request to Clearstream Banking for Reclaim of Polish Withholding tax
  • A Certificate of Tax Residence (COTR): to be provided in original by all entities claiming the benefit of the DTT signed between their country of residence and Poland. The COTR must cover the date of the income payment. Electronic CORs are accepted. Please refer to the procedure described under A18103.
  • A Power of Attorney (POA) – Omnibus Account - notarial confirmation required, confirming the person signing the POA is authorised to act on behalf of investor. The investor’s name on the POA must be consistent with account name and the CoTR. 
  • A full chain of credit advices: confirmation of the money transfers related to interest/dividend payments as well as the deduction of tax. It must be provided for each standard refund application by each intermediary between the final beneficial owner and Clearstream Banking. It is recommended to use the Proof of Final Distribution templates provided by Clearstream Banking’s depository to avoid translation delay and costs.
  • Additional document, if applicable: in case of any change to the BO’s registered details (name, address, etc.) customers must provide any document confirming the changes. This is necessary to determine the beneficial ownership or entitlement to reduced withholding tax rates or tax exemptions
  • A Declaration - Beneficial ownership: self-certification to be signed by the final beneficial owner (BO) or its representative under a POA and stating that:
    a)    the applicant is the beneficial owner as well as a taxpayer with respect to the relevant interest/dividend payments,
    b)    the applicant conducts actual business activities in the place of its registered office, which is connected with the income earned in Poland,
    c)    interest/dividends are not received by the applicant’s permanent establishment in Poland and are not effectively connected with a business carried out in Poland by said permanent establishment,
    d)    all facts presented in a reclaim application are true and all attached documentation is authentic.
  • A Declaration - Reclaim: self-certification stating that the declarations mentioned in the Beneficial ownership declaration and documentation provided are true and accurate.
  • Any document supporting the status the EU/EEA investment fund. Can be Articles of Association, Attestation from regulator (German BaFin, Luxembourgish CSSF,  French AMF…), extract from business register, Trust Deed, Annual Report, Domestic regulations, prospectus. All documents must clearly refer to and must be issued in the year of payment of the income. 

Supranational/International organisations

The entitlement of those entities to a standard refund will be confirmed on a case by case basis and the documentation requirement may defer from one entity to another. Customers thinking that a Supranational/International entity is entitled to standard refund of withholding tax must provide in a first stage: 

  • Letter of Request to Clearstream Banking for Reclaim of Polish Withholding tax.
  • A Power of Attorney (POA) – Omnibus Account (notarised and apostilled): confirming the person signing the POA is authorised to act on behalf of investor. The investor’s name on the POA must be consistent with account name and the CoTR. 
  • Additional document, if applicable: in case of any change to the BO’s registered details (name, address, etc.) customers must provide any document confirming the changes. This is necessary to determine the beneficial ownership or entitlement to reduced withholding tax rates or tax exemptions
  • A Declaration - Beneficial ownership (notarised and apostilled): self-certification to be signed by the final beneficial owner (BO) or its representative under a POA and stating that:
    a)    the applicant is the beneficial owner as well as a taxpayer with respect to the relevant interest/dividend payments,
    b)    the applicant conducts actual business activities in the place of its registered office, which is connected with the income earned in Poland,
    c)    interest/dividends are not received by the applicant’s permanent establishment in Poland and are not effectively connected with a business carried out in Poland by said permanent establishment,
    d)    all facts presented in a reclaim application are true and all attached documentation is authentic.
  • A Declaration -Reclaim (notarised and apostilled): self-certification stating that the declarations mentioned in the Beneficial ownership declaration and documentation provided are true and accurate.
  • Any additional documentation will be required after examination by our local depository. 

Translation, notarisation and apostille

Documents provided in a foreign language will be translated in Poland by a sworn translator. The cost will be charged as out of pocket expenses. To limit the cost and delay, it is recommended to use the templates provided by Clearstream Banking’s depository or to provide the documents in English if no Polish version exists. 
The Power of Attorney, Beneficial ownership declaration and reclaim declaration must be notarised and apostilled. 

How to instruct 

All of the above documents must be provided in original, unless stated otherwise, to the following address regardless if the tax reclaim proceeding is hard copy or electronic: 
Clearstream Operations Prague s.r.o. 
Attn: PTR - Tax Services 
Futurama Business Park Building B 
Sokolovska 662/136b 
CZ-18600 Prague 8 
Czech Republic

Statutory deadline for reclaiming withholding tax

The statutory deadline for reclaiming withholding tax is usually five years after the end of the calendar year in which the dividend payment is made, unless stated otherwise in the DTT signed between Poland and the country of residence of the BO. 

Such exceptions exist in the DTTs signed by Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. Please refer to A18009 for further information.

Clearstream deadline for standard refund applications

The deadline by which Clearstream Banking must receive the documentation for an application is at the latest four months before the statutory deadline. 

All reclaim applications received after this deadline will be processed by Clearstream Banking on a “best efforts” basis. However, in such cases, Clearstream Banking will apply an extra charge and accepts no responsibility for forms that have not reached the Polish Tax Authorities by the date considered to be the statute of limitations deadline.

With respect to tax reclaims in general, customers are reminded that we accept no responsibility for their acceptance or non-acceptance by the tax authorities of the respective country. It is the customer’s responsibility to determine any entitlement to a refund of tax withheld and to complete the forms required correctly and calculate the amount due.

Further information

All forms can be found on the Clearstream website under Tax Forms to use - Poland.

For further information, customers may contact Clearstream Banking Client Services, their Relationship Officer or Tax Help Desk.

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1. Clearstream Banking refers collectively to Clearstream Banking S.A., registered office at 42, avenue John F. Kennedy, L-1855 Luxembourg, and registered with the Luxembourg Trade and Companies Register under number B-9248, and Clearstream Banking AG (for Clearstream Banking AG customers using Creation Accounts), registered office at 61, Mergenthalerallee, 65760 Eschborn, Germany and registered in Register B of the Amtsgericht Frankfurt am Main, Germany under number HRB 7500.