Searching for budget revenues - i.e. return to the sugar tax


According to the assumption, the sugar tax is to combat improper eating habits, especially among children and adolescents. However, in the opinion of many entrepreneurs, the sugar tax is mainly a measure to replenish the missing money in the state budget. It is worth checking who will pay it and where the funds will go.

Producers and associations of producers of sweet non-alcoholic beverages have expressed particular concerns, claiming that the introduction of the tax will not change eating habits and will significantly weaken this economic sector. The situation is aggravated by the crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has also caused losses in the beverage industry.

Who will be obligated to pay the fees?

The draft act indicates both the entities obliged to pay the fee, as well as the goods, which are foodstuffs, on which the fee will be charged. As for the obligation to pay, it rests with the natural person, legal person and organizational unit without legal personality which is:

  1. an entity selling beverages to retail outlets or conducting retail sale of beverages in the case of: a producer, an entity purchasing beverages as part of an intra-Community supply of goods or a beverage importer;

  2. the ordering party, if the composition of the drink subject to the fee is part of the contract concluded by the producer regarding the production of this drink for the ordering party.

The obligation to pay the fee arises on the day of introducing the drink with the addition of:

  1. sugars that are monosaccharides or disaccharides and foodstuffs containing these substances and sweeteners referred to in Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on food additives (OJ EU L 354 of 31.12.2008, p. 16, as amended14), hereinafter referred to as "Regulation No. 1333/2008",

  2. caffeine or taurine.

The following beverages are not subject to the fee:

  1. which are medical devices within the meaning of art. 2 clause 1 point 38 of the Act of May 20, 2010 on medical devices (Journal of Laws of 2019, items 175, 447 and 534);

  2. which are dietary supplements within the meaning of art. 3 sec. 3 point 39 of the Act of August 26, 2006 on food and nutrition safety (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1252);

  3. food for special medical purposes, infant formula, follow-on formula, as defined in Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 on foods intended for infants and young children and food for special medical purposes and total diet replacement for weight control and repealing Council Directive 92/52 / EEC, Commission Directives 96/8 / EC, 1999/21 / EC, 2006/125 / EC and 2006/141 / EC, Directive 2009/39 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulations (EC) No. 41/2009 and (EC) No. 953/2009 (JournalUE L 181 of 29/06/2013, p. 35, as amended d. 15);

  4. which are excise goods within the meaning of art. 2 clause 1 point 1 of the Act of 6 December 2008 on excise duty (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 864, as amended 16);

  5. in which the mass fraction of fruit, vegetable or fruit and vegetable juice is not less than 20% of the raw material composition and the sugar content is less than or equal to 5 g per 100 ml of drink;

  6. which are carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions referred to in Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children's development and health (Journal EU L 136 of 25.05.2012, p. 1, as amended17), hereinafter referred to as "Regulation No. 432/2012", in which the sugar content is less than or equal to 5 g per 100 ml of drink;

  7. which are products with milk or its products in the first place in the list of ingredients, regardless of their classification in the Polish Classification of Products and Services.

Where will the obtained fees go?

Pursuant to the Public Finance Act, public revenues include, inter alia, public levies, which include: taxes, contributions, fees, payments from the profit of state-owned enterprises and sole proprietorships of the State Treasury and state-owned banks, as well as other cash benefits that must be paid for for the state, local government units, state earmarked funds and other units of the public finance sector results from separate acts. Therefore, it would appear from the above that the sugar tax constitutes the income of the state budget, which is also accused by the originator of the project by many opponents. As far as the allocation of the sugar tax is concerned, the matter is somewhat different, as it has been regulated in the draft.

The draft act contains provisions regarding the allocation of the receipts of fees on food products to the account of the National Health Fund, but also to some extent the fees are transferred to the state budget.

The fee and the additional fee (i.e. determined by a decision, corresponding to 50% of the amount due in the event of failure to pay the fee on time), constitute:

  1. 96.5% of the revenue of the National Health Fund;

  2. 3.5% of the state budget income, in part managed by the minister responsible for public finances.

The National Health Fund allocates funds from fees for educational and preventive activities and for health care services related to the maintenance and improvement of the health condition of recipients with diseases developed against the background of inappropriate health choices and behaviors, in particular overweight and obesity.

There is no reference in the draft act to what the administrator, as the minister for public finance, allocates the funds obtained from the fee.

Will the proceeds from fees on groceries not affect the amount of funds flowing to the National Health Fund so far?

The originators of the sugar tax clearly indicate that the revenues from fees constitute a kind of bonus for the National Health Fund, a bonus, in addition to, and not instead of, revenues from the state budget. Thus, the existing support from the state budget would not be reduced in total, and additionally it would be higher by the revenue of the National Health Fund resulting from the sugar tax.

Legal basis

  • Draft act of February 14, 2020 amending certain acts in connection with the promotion of pro-health consumer choices, form No. 210.

Material prepared by the team of "Tak Prawnik".

The owner of the brand "Tak Prawnik" is BZ Group Sp. z o.o.