Deposit for packaging and VAT


Deposit definition

In the provisions of the tax law, the concept of a deposit is not defined. However, in the Polish language dictionary, a deposit is a sum of money submitted as a guarantee of compliance with the obligation or as a security in the event of failure to meet the terms of the contract and, due to its nature, it is returned after its termination.

The deposit for returnable packaging is collected when the goods are sold in the returnable packaging and is released upon return of the said packaging. Therefore, in the case of the aforementioned deposit, Art. 29 of the VAT Act (discussing the tax base), because it is not the amount due for sale because it is refundable, it is also not an advance, down payment or prepayment, because it does not form part of the price of the goods sold.

According to the above definitions, the deposit is not taxable.

Deposit for returnable packaging on the invoice

Pursuant to § 16 sec. 1 of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of March 28, 2011.on invoicing, if the taxpayer has sold the goods in returnable packaging, collecting or specifying a deposit in the contract for the packaging, the value of the packaging is not included in the content of the invoice documenting the sale.

It follows from the above provision that the deposit charged for returnable packaging is not taxable at the time of sale of the goods in returnable packaging, assuming, of course, that the packaging will be returned. This deposit is also not included in the invoice.

Of course, the seller may invoice the cost of the returnable packaging at the time of sale of the goods and tax them at a rate of 23%, and when the packaging is returned, adjust the invoice for its value.

Keeping the deposit and VAT

The problem arises when the customer does not return the packaging within the prescribed period, as referred to in paragraph 2 of the said paragraph: an invoice documenting the amount due for failure to return by the recipient the packaging referred to in paragraph 1, shall be issued no later than the seventh day after the day on which the contract provided for the return of the packaging. If the contract does not specify the date of return of the packaging, the invoice shall be issued no later than on the 60th day from the date of delivery of the packaging.

This means that failure to return returnable packaging within the prescribed period results in their taxation on general principles. The seller is obliged to issue an invoice within 7 days from the date of return of the packaging, and if the return date has not been specified, the invoice should be issued no later than on the 60th day from the date of delivery of the packaging.

Thus, the retention of the deposit charged for returnable packaging, when these are not returned, is subject to taxation on general principles and the seller is obliged to document this fact by issuing an invoice for the value of the returned packaging.

Deposit for returnable packaging and cash register

In a situation where the seller sells to natural persons who do not conduct business activity and records the sale with cash registers, the provisions of § 16 do not apply here. The seller registers the sale at the cash register and does not issue an invoice if the buyer does not request it, thus does not conclude a contract with the buyer, and the buyer does not undertake to return the packaging. Accepting the deposit will also not be taxable in this situation if the returnable packaging is actually returned. In the case of taxpayers registering sales with a cash register, the records of issued and accepted returnable packaging should be registered outside the fiscal functions of the cash register (Interpretation of the Second Tax Office in Rzeszów of October 30, 2006 (IIUS-II-443/92/2006)). However, if the used cash register does not have functions that allow the handling of returnable packages, which is a great help, then such records should be kept manually, e.g. in the form of a notebook, as a return register. There is no specific form of keeping such records, but it must contain a daily statement of the number of issued and the number of returned packages. A monthly summary of such a statement will allow you to settle the tax on goods and services for unreturned packaging.


In summary, accepting a deposit for returnable packaging is not subject to VAT. Packages delivered but not returned within the specified period are subject to taxation.