How to become a tourist guide or tour leader?

Service Business

Work primarily for passionate people looking for history in the surrounding space. It is also a task for people who are outgoing and easily establish contact with other people. Read our article and check out how to become a tourist guide or tour leader!

General characteristics of the activities of tour leaders and tourist guides

The tasks of a tourist guide are:

  • showing visitors around the indicated towns, facilities, etc.,

  • providing professional information,

  • taking care of tourists under the contract,

  • caring for the safety of charges during trips to the mountains.

Due to the selected specialties, tourist guides can be divided into:

  • mountain guides for specific mountain areas;

  • city ​​guides for individual cities;

  • field guides for individual voivodships, poviats, communes, regions and tourist routes.

In addition, the powers of mountain guides are divided into three classes depending on the degree of difficulty of the routes and trips.

However, the duties of the tour leader include:

  • overseeing the way services are provided to tourists,

  • receiving comments from them and signaling shortcomings,

  • indication of local attractions,

  • informing customers about the places visited.

Tourist guides and tour leaders may establish cooperation with travel agencies. In such a situation, they are not obliged to register their business activity.

Preliminary requirements related to the business of tour leaders and tourist guides

Due to the partial deregulation of the profession of a tourist guide, city and field guides do not have to undergo theoretical training, pass an exam and present a certificate of appropriate health condition.

To become a city or field guide and tour leader, you must be at least 18 years of age, not be punished for intentional or other offenses committed in connection with the performance of the tasks of a tourist guide or tour leader, and have a minimum secondary education.

Guides and pilots of foreign tours must prove language knowledge on the basis of:

  • diploma of graduation in philology,

  • diploma of graduation from a foreign language college,

  • school leaving certificate with a foreign language as a lecturer abroad,

  • a document certifying the knowledge of a foreign language at the B2 level in accordance with the European System for the Description of Language Education of the Council of Europe.

If the candidate does not have any of the above-mentioned documents, he / she may pass a foreign language examination before an examination board appointed by the voivodship marshal.

Prospective mountain guides must undergo theoretical and practical training for a specific mountain area, as well as pass a mountain guide exam. There is no obligation to train a person who already has the qualifications of a mountain guide and wants to take the exam enabling obtaining the qualifications covering an additional mountain area.

Acceptable forms of activity of tour leaders and tourist guides

The activities of tourist guides and tour leaders cannot be carried out only in a partnership. A sole proprietorship should be registered as a business in CEIDG - in the case of choosing a sole proprietorship. On the other hand, the registration should be made in the National Court Register when a decision has been made to establish a general partnership, limited partnership, limited joint-stock partnership, limited liability company or joint stock company.

How to set up a business for tour guides and tour guides

Tour leader and tourist guide - sole proprietorship

This type of business is self-managed. A sole proprietorship means that the established company has only one owner. However, it is worth knowing that this is not a restriction when it comes to the possibility of hiring employees. Initial capital is not required from the entrepreneur, and the future tour leader or tourist guide does not have to keep full accounting. For small enterprises, it is possible to keep simplified accounting until their turnover does not exceed EUR 1,200,000 (according to the exchange rate from September 30).

Tour leader and tourist guide - general partnership

A general partnership is a type of partnership that can be established by natural and legal persons. It is worth remembering that if you choose this type of activity, the partners are jointly and severally liable with all their assets. The obligation of the partners of a general partnership is to make contributions specified in the partnership agreement. The partner also has the right to demand an annual interest payment of 5%. on its equity participation, even if the company has suffered a loss. In the case of a general partnership, as in the case of sole proprietorship, no minimum share capital is required.

Tour leader and tourist guide - limited partnership

A limited partnership consists of at least two partners, in which one is a limited partner - is responsible for the partnership's obligations only up to the limited partnership sum, and the other is a general partner - is responsible for the obligations of the partnership with all its assets. The agreement of this type of company is concluded in the form of a notarial deed. The profit generated by the company is shared among its members. The rules of division are included in the previously prepared agreement. In the case of a limited partnership, no share capital is required.

Tour leader and tourist guide - limited liability company

This type of company is the most popular type of commercial company in Poland. Its founders may be natural persons or legal persons limited liability company. has legal personality. Limited Liability Company Agreement must be drawn up in the form of a notarial deed, as in the case of a limited partnership. From 2012, it is also possible to register this type of company online. The partners are not responsible for the liabilities of the limited liability company. (there is only the economic risk related to the investment in the company). For the obligations of a limited liability company only the company is liable up to the amount of the share capital (minimum PLN 5,000) - except when the company's management board fails to file a bankruptcy petition in a timely manner, then the management board is also liable with personal property.

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Tour leader and tourist guide - joint-stock company

A joint-stock company is an economic entity that is characterized by the greatest expansion and legal protection. Its shareholders are shareholders who hold a certain number of shares entitling them to receive a designated part of the dividend. The dividend is the amount to be distributed among the shareholders by a resolution of the general meeting. The company is responsible for the obligations of the company with all its assets, the shareholders are not liable for the obligations of the company.

Attention! If a joint stock company is established, a minimum capital of PLN 100,000 is required. This type of company is associated with the obligation to keep full accounting.

PKD definition of the activity of tour leaders and tourist guides

PKD activities of tour leaders and tourist guides are:

  • 79.90.A Activities of tour leaders and tourist guides.

  • 93.19.Z Other activities related to sport. This class includes, inter alia, activities of mountain guides.

The best form of taxation for the activities of tour leaders and tourist guides

Tour pilots or tourist guides cannot pay with a tax card. They can choose a flat 19% tax, taxation on general principles or a lump sum on recorded revenues. The choice of the form of taxation depends on the planned amount of revenues and costs of the entrepreneur.

Taxation on general terms

With an income lower than PLN 85,528, the tour leader or tourist guide will be obliged to pay tax in the amount of 18% of the income. If the income is higher - the tax will amount to PLN 14,839.02 plus 32% of the surplus over PLN 85,528. What are the advantages of general taxation? Tourists and guides will primarily be able to benefit from tax benefits. After deciding on this type of business accounting, the future guide will be required to keep an income and expense ledger.

Lump sum on recorded revenues

The lump sum is a simplified form of settlement and it is possible when the annual income does not exceed PLN 150,000. euro. The amount of tax depends on the amount of income, therefore tour pilots or tourist guides will not be able to deduct tax deductible costs in such a case. After the end of the tax year, until the end of January of the following year, the tour leader or the lump-sum guide settles the revenues that they achieved in the previous year under this method of taxation (PIT-28).

The flat rate for the activities of tour leaders and tourist guides is 17%.

Linear tax

The choice of flat taxation applies to taxpayers who earn high amounts of annual income. Otherwise, this form is unprofitable. In addition to tax deductible costs, the taxpayer may not settle the tax-free amount and benefit from tax reliefs, except for the abolition relief related to earnings obtained abroad.

Activities of tour leaders and tourist guides with or without VAT

Tour pilots or tourist guides who intend to perform activities for other VAT payers or plan to achieve high turnover from business activity should decide to register themselves as an active VAT payer. In such a case, being a taxable person is associated with the benefits of the possibility of deducting VAT on purchase invoices.

The provision of services related to the activities of tour leaders or tourist guides is taxed at the rate of 23%. However, it is also possible to tax at 0%.


Under Art. 119 paragraph. 7 tourism services, the tax base of which is the margin, are subject to taxation at the rate of 0%, if the services purchased from other taxpayers for the direct benefit of the tourist are provided outside the territory of the European Union.

Cash register for tour leader or tourist guide

In the case of providing services to natural persons, it is also necessary to consider the purchase of a cash register after the turnover exceeds PLN 20,000. When purchasing the first cash register, the taxpayer may take advantage of the tax relief for the purchase of a cash register (90% of the net value, not more than PLN 700).

ZUS contributions and the activity of tour leaders and tourist guides

Registration of a tour leader or tourist guide for insurance

A tour leader or tourist guide who starts running a business registers it on the CEIDG-1 form. Then, this application, together with a copy of the CEIDG entry, is sent to ZUS. The latter prepares a declaration of the contribution payer on the ZUS ZFA form.

Nevertheless, the entrepreneur has to register for social security and health insurance on his own. The entrepreneur has 7 days from the date of commencement of business activity to apply for insurance. To do this, fill in the form:

  • ZUS ZUA - if the tour leader or tourist guide is subject to social and health insurance,

  • ZUS ZZA - if the tour leader or tourist guide is subject only to health insurance (social insurance is covered by full-time work or other activities).

Sickness insurance is voluntary for the entrepreneur. ZUS covers him with this benefit upon his application. It is submitted on the ZUS ZUA form, along with registration for compulsory social security and health insurance.

A tour leader or tourist guide and preferential ZUS contributions

A tour leader or tourist guide starting a business may benefit from preferential ZUS contributions, which cover a period of 24 full months. The amount of ZUS contributions depends on the average salary in Poland. In 2015, it amounts to PLN 3,959 gross. When determining the amount of contributions, 60% of the amount, i.e. PLN 2,375.40, is taken into account. The basis for the amount of contributions for people who pay social contributions on a preferential basis is 30% of the minimum wage in a given year.

Company account for a tour leader or tourist guide

A tour leader or tourist guide is not required to set up a separate company account. He has the right to use a private account for business purposes. However, it should be noted that the account must have one owner (couples with a joint account cannot allocate it also to make financial transactions for the company).

Making or receiving payments related to the performed business activity should be carried out via the entrepreneur's bank account whenever:

  • another entrepreneur is a party to the transaction from which the payment results;

  • the one-off transaction value, regardless of the number of payments resulting therefrom, exceeds the equivalent of EUR 15,000 converted into zlotys at the average exchange rate of foreign currencies announced by the National Bank of Poland on the last day of the month preceding the month in which the transaction was made.

Housing conditions for a tour leader or tourist guide

The services provided by tourist guides and tour leaders do not require premises. They are implemented mainly outdoors and in the field. An office may be needed only when receiving customers and collecting orders.

In the case of providing the services of a mountain guide or tour leader, a possible office should enable the service of interested persons. It should be equipped with basic office equipment and devices for establishing contact with clients, such as a computer with the Internet or a telephone. The office should meet the general sanitary, occupational health and safety and fire safety conditions resulting from the construction law.

A tour leader or a tourist guide are professions that require, above all, passion and commitment to their work. It is also worth finding out in advance what soft skills are required for the above-mentioned positions. If we want to start a business offering such services, let's start with acquiring the required permissions.

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