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Excise quarterly declarations – who submits them and when?

The third quarter of 2021 has ended. What does this mean for excise tax payers? For this quarter, taxpayers are obliged to submit for the first time new quarterly declarations that relate to products exempt from excise duty or taxed at a zero rate and listed in Annex 2 to the Act on Excise Duty. Who, within what period and under what conditions submits these declarations – about this in this entry.



New quarterly declarations


On 1 July 2021, anamendment tothe excise duty rate entered into force (Actof30 March 2021 amending the Act on Excise Duty and certain other acts; Journal of Laws of 2021, item 694). In addition to regulating the obligation to send electronic returns to tax authorities, two new quarterly declarations have also been introduced:

  • AKC-KZ - declaration concerning excise goods exempt from excise duty or taxed at a zero rate of excise duty (listed in Annex 2 to the Excise Duty Act) and

  • AKC-UAKZ – declaration concerningintra-Community acquisitions outside the duty suspension arrangement of products subject to a zero rate of excise duty (listed in Annex 2 to the Act on Excise Duty).

The obligation to submit the above-mentioned declaration results from Article 24e and Article 78(1)(3b) of the amended Act on Excise Duty. These provisions came into force on 1 July 2021, however, the legislator introduced a transitional regulation in this respect. According to it, the obligation to submit the above-mentioned declarations appears starting from the declaration submitted for the third quarter of 2021. Taking into account the statutorydeadlines, the first declaration in this respect (i.e. for the third quarter of 2021) must be submitted by 25 November (AKC-KZ) and 10 November 2021 (AKC-UAKZ) respectively.


At the same time, this obligation does not apply to natural persons who do not conduct economic activity.



Who is affected by the new obligation to submit AKC-KZ declaration?


The new obligation to submit AKC-KZ declarations applies in principle to entities carrying out transactions subject to excise duty in relation to products exempt from excise duty due to their intended use or products listed in Annex 2 subject to the rate of PLN 0.


The AKC-KZ declaration will therefore have to be submitted m.in in the case of sales of coal products exempt from excise duty to FNW or in the case of consumption of products listed in Annex 2 to the Act covered by the PLN 0 rate for the production of other products.


Importantly, the new obligation to submit AKC-KZ declarations should not apply to entities consuming excise goods exempt from excise duty – e.g. entities consuming lubricating oils purchased for their own needs in exemption from excise duty or final coal buyers purchasing coal products exempt from excise duty.



When not to submit an AKC-KZ declaration?


On 15 June 2021, the Ministry of Finance published explanations regarding changes in excise declarations. According to them, AKC-KZ declarations do not apply to taxpayers who submit monthly (or quarterly – e.g. AKC-WW)declarations for a given product, in which the amount of excise duty to be paid is shown. At the same time, according to the position presented by the Ministry of Finance, in such a case, both products effectively taxed with positive excise duty, as well as those subject to taxation at the rate of PLN 0 and products exempt from excise duty should be included in the submitted declaration.


For example, an intermediary coal entity selling coal products exempt from excise duty and effectively taxed with excise duty should be obliged only to submit an AKC-WW declaration, in which it should include both sales of products not exempt from excise duty and sales made in exemption. However, this entity should not be obliged to submit a new AKC-KZ declaration. However, the obligation to submit such an AKC-KZ declaration may appear on the part of the PPW, which sells coal products only to entities benefiting from exemption from excise duty (therefore, it does not carry out activities subject to effective excise duty).


The Ministry's position is understandable and beneficial for taxpayers, as it does not force them to submit two separate declarations. What's more, a similar approach was also presented by the Director of the National Tax Information in the individual interpretation (letterof 9 August 2021, No. 0111-KDIB3-3.4013.141.2021.1.JS),in which he confirmed that in the case of taxpayers declaring products taxed at a positive rate, the obligation to submit new quarterly returns will notarise.


The above letters, although beneficial for taxpayers, are not supported by the literal wording of the Excise Duty Act. Therefore, legislative actions have already been taken in this area – in the draft amendments to the ExciseAct, it is proposed to introduce a provisionthat would directly indicate the lack of obligation to submit quarterly AKC-KZ declarations by entities obliged to submit "traditional" declarations in relation to a given product, in which the amount of excise duty is included up to payment (DraftAct amending the Act on Excise Duty and certain other acts of 29 June 2021, list no.: UC 83).


In addition, at the design stage there is a regulation with new templates of excise declarations (draft of 29 September 2021, list no.: 414). The proposed templates correspond to the above position regarding the lack of obligation to submit quarterly declarations.



Additional doubts related to quarterly declarations


Due to the imprecise wording contained in the Excise Duty Act and the position described above (not based on the literal wording of the relevant provisions), in practice there are a number of doubts regarding the scope of the obligation to submit new AKC-KZ declarations. In particular, it is not clear what to do if a given quarter includes both the months in which the transactions subject to effective excise duty were not carried out and the months in which the transactions giving rise to the obligation to pay the tax effectively were carried out. Should the taxpayer submit a "traditional" monthly return for a given month and show the absence of tax due? If, on the other hand, an AKC-KZ declaration should be submitted, should it include all exempt activities carried out in a given quarter or only activities carried out in the month (or months) in which a given entity did not perform a transaction subject to effective excise duty?


In addition, in the practice of some local tax offices, one can meet with an approach according to which the declarations should also include events that do not become transactions subject to excise duty at all – e.g. the sale of coal products to an intermediary coal entity. However, this approach is not justified in the wording of the applicable regulations, as well as in the published explanations of the Ministry of Finance or individual interpretations of tax law issued so far.



What's next?


As you can see, the new regulations may pose numerous interpretation doubts. What's more, the tax authorities have not yet developed a uniform approach to some of the issues arising from the introduced amendment. Therefore, it is worth verifying in advance whether and to what extent the new obligations may affect the conducted business activity. Especially since in order to prepare a new AKC-KZ declaration, it may be necessary to collect data that have not yet been monitored or aggregated within the company.

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