Accounting office as a VAT taxpayer

Accounting Offices

For many years, an issue that causes interpretation problems is the possibility of using the subjective exemption by accounting offices. Against this background, entrepreneurs' disputes with tax authorities very often arise. So what does an accounting office look like as a VAT taxpayer?

Accounting office as a VAT payer - subjective exemption

The subjective exemption is available to taxpayers whose value of taxable sales did not exceed the total amount of PLN 200,000 in the previous tax year. The amount of tax is not included in the sales value.

In addition, this exemption may be used by taxpayers starting their business during the tax year, if the sales value predicted by the taxpayer does not exceed the limit of PLN 200,000 in proportion to the period of the business. zloty. However, the right to be exempted from the VAT settlement is lost if the proportional limit is exceeded during the year (PLN 200,000 x number of days from commencing business to the end of the year / 365). The exemption shall cease to apply as soon as the limit is exceeded.

However, this exemption will not apply to activities specified in Art. 113 paragraph. 13 of the VAT Act - among the activities listed there are advisory services, with the exception of agricultural consultancy related to the cultivation and breeding of plants and animal breeding and breeding, as well as related to the preparation of a plan for the development and modernization of a farm.

Persons running accounting offices had a problem with determining whether accounting services fall within the scope of the concept of consulting and therefore, it is not possible to take advantage of the subjective exemption in the case of their provision.

The VAT Act, when referring to the concept of consultancy services, does not directly refer to other legal acts or contain its definition. Therefore, only activities consisting in providing such entities as: taxpayers, payers and collectors, third parties responsible for tax arrears and legal successors of taxpayers, payers or collectors, at their request or on their behalf, with advice, opinions and explanations should be considered as advisory activities. in the scope of their tax and customs obligations and in matters of administrative enforcement related to these obligations.

On the other hand, activities consisting in keeping tax books and records are essentially close to the professional activities of persons entitled to provide bookkeeping services, i.e. accounting activities, and activities consisting in preparing tax declarations and tax returns are to a large extent technical, not legal, in nature, for instance due to the fact that they are prepared on the basis of other documents, in particular accounting books.

Accounting office as a VAT taxpayer in jurisprudence

In a situation where the bureau does not provide consulting services, it may benefit from VAT exemption. However, technical or typically accounting activities cannot be considered advisory activities. This position was confirmed by the Minister of Finance in the general interpretation of April 9, 2015, file ref. PT3 / 8101/2/2015 / AEW / 16, where we can read:

(...) in a situation where the entity (regardless of its status or having certain powers) will only provide bookkeeping services, tax books and other records for tax purposes or the preparation (completion) of tax returns and declarations and will not provide advisory services or legal (such as those indicated in Art. 2 (1) (1) or (4) of the Tax Advisory Act), the provisions of Art. 113 paragraph. 13 point 2 lit. a or b of the VAT Act. Therefore, such an entity will be able to benefit from the VAT exemption (unless there are conditions other than those discussed, excluding the exemption specified in Art. 113 of the VAT Act). If, on the other hand, a given entity (regardless of its status or having certain powers) will provide advisory or legal services (e.g. indicated in Art.2 (1) (1) or (4) of the Tax Advisory Act), the provisions of Art. . 113 paragraph. 13 point 2 lit. a or lit. b of the VAT Act (...).

It is worth adding that also in a situation where the accounting office has a power of attorney to represent the taxpayer before tax authorities for technical activities or signing declarations, there will be no obligation to register for VAT. This position is confirmed by the courts in their rulings, an example of which is the judgment in Gdańsk of March 28, 2012, file ref. act I SA / Gd 175/12, in which we can read:

(…) Having a wide range of powers of attorney, in the realities of the case under examination, does not justify the claim that the applicant provided advisory services. The powers of attorney were used, which clearly results from the findings of the tax authorities, to sign and submit tax declarations on behalf of principals.

The act of sending by the applicant, on behalf of the principal, a letter regarding the transfer of the overpaid lump sum towards income tax should also be regarded as falling within the category of accounting services and not consulting services. The transaction of re-accounting performed by the tax authority is of a purely technical nature (...).

Also, in the case of electronic submission of declarations by the office, there is no need to register for VAT. Such a position was presented by the Director of the Tax Chamber in Warsaw, in a letter of 30 July 2014, no.IPPP2 / 443-530 / 14-2 / ​​KOM, which reads:

(...) On the other hand, referring to the issue of the submission of e-declarations via the Internet by the Applicant, which, with the consent and on the basis of a power of attorney granted by clients, she will sign with her electronic signature, it should be stated that the very fact of making such e-tax declarations and their signing with a secure e-signature cannot be considered a tax advisory activity, unless this activity is carried out under a separate order, but will constitute an element of comprehensive customer service in the field of accounting and bookkeeping services provided by the accounting office of the Applicant. The applicant is an entity with an accounting certificate which, in accordance with the above-mentioned art. 76a paragraph. 2 of the Accounting Act is authorized, inter alia, to prepare, on behalf and for the benefit of taxpayers, payers and collectors, tax returns and declarations, but does not have the authority of a tax advisor, therefore - in the case of signing e-declarations with a secure electronic signature, these declarations will be one of the elements provided by the Applicant of comprehensive accounting services - Art. 113 paragraph. 13 point 2 lit. b of the Act (...).