[REPORT] The total tax burden

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Sound tax law is based on respect for the principles of economic freedom. It must be stable enough for the taxpayer to predict the tax consequences of his actions. The taxpayer must not be caught by surprise by more and more new regulations that trigger significant changes with regard to his rights and obligations. The complexity of tax law grows with the number of tributes charged to taxpayers. The numerous regulations governing them overlap, exclude each other, and are subject to arbitrary interpretations by tax authorities. The state economy and wealth of citizens suffer from this.

The tax reform implemented in Poland in the initial period of systemic transformation was based on solutions used in European Union countries. Unfortunately, over time, the process of negative changes to the tax system, the introduction of further complicated regulations, progressed, which led to the fact that the solutions in force in Poland clearly differ from those existing in economically developed countries. This is why Poland ranked only 28th in the 2022 International Tax Competitiveness Index (ITCI) out of 38 tax systems of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Poland has a number of complex taxes, ranging from personal income tax to property tax and local fees. In addition, sectoral tributes, i.e. those imposed on specific market areas, have increased in recent years. Taxes were introduced: commercial, banking, on revenues from buildings, sugar or the alcohol miniatures. The large number of various fees that the state collects at the central and local levels has another effect: the taxpayer no longer knows how much of these taxes he is paying in total. He thus becomes an easier target for fiscal exploitation and populist propaganda. Therefore, the less taxes, the better. Unfortunately, this postulate will not be implemented any time soon.

We decided to bring a little more clarity to the current tax maze. This report provides a comprehensive summary of the tributes that make up the total tax burden in Poland. We presented them in the form of the sum of taxation per citizen with average income based on the most common employment model – the employment contract, taking into account direct taxes, indirect taxes and local fees.

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