Purchase of publications in electronic form and import of services


Entrepreneurs more and more often make transactions with foreign contractors. It is worth noting here that it is not only about the countries of the European Union. These transactions include, among others use of electronic services. Will the purchase of publications - press articles or studies in electronic form, if they have been downloaded from the website of a foreign contractor, be classified as electronic services and treated as import of services?

Service import

Import of services in accordance with Art. 2 clause 1 point 9 of the Act on tax on goods and services, it is the provision of services for the performance of which the taxpayer is the recipient, referred to in art. 17 sec. 1 point 4. Thus, the obligation to settle VAT on a given transaction will in most cases be on the part of the service buyer.

We are dealing with the import of services when the entity that provides the service is based outside Poland and the recipient of the service is based or resides in Poland. An entrepreneur who runs a business in Poland and imports services - is required to charge VAT on this account.

Purchase of publications and electronic service

"Electronically supplied services" as referred to in Directive 2006/112 / EC include services provided over the internet or an electronic network, the nature of which is essentially automated and requires a minimum of human intervention, and whose provision without the use of information technology it is impossible.

Article 7 of Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 282/2011 lists the list of electronic services, which includes in particular:

a) generally the supply of products in digital form, including software, its modifications or newer versions;

(b) services enabling or supporting the presence of enterprises or persons on an electronic network, such as a website or website;

(c) services automatically generated by a computer and sent over the Internet or an electronic network in response to specific data entered by the recipient of the service;

(d) transfer of the right to auction goods or services against payment via a website operating as an online marketplace, where potential buyers submit their bids using automated procedures and where the parties are informed of the sale by means of automatically generated computer-generated e-mail;

(e) Internet service packages offering access to information where the telecommunications element is ancillary and secondary (that is, packages going beyond offering internet access only and including other elements such as pages that allow access to news, weather or tourism information) , games, allow website hosting, access to discussion groups, etc.);

(f) the services listed in Annex I, including, inter alia, the content of digital books and other electronic publications.

It should be noted here that this attachment is not a closed catalog, but an example of electronic services.

Purchase of publications as an electronic service and import of services

The purchase of electronic services is an import of services, i.e. a situation in which the obligation to settle the tax due on a given transaction rests not with the seller, but with the buyer of a given service. According to Art. 28b of the Value Added Tax Act, the place of taxation of a given service for the taxpayer is the country of the buyer's seat (or permanent residence).

It is important to determine whether the purchase of publications - press articles and studies in the online form purchased from a foreign contractor counts as the purchase of electronic services.

Press articles and studies were downloaded from a foreign contractor, so the method of their delivery indicates that we are dealing with an electronic service. In this case, the VAT settlement rests with the buyer, i.e. it is settled by a Polish company according to the applicable tax rates.


An active VAT taxpayer who purchased press articles or electronic studies from abroad, intended to serve his entire taxable activity, will settle VAT on the import of services in the same amount and declarations both on the sale and purchase side.

It is also important from which country we buy the service in electronic form:

  • if the purchase of a publication in electronic form comes from a European Union Member State, before the purchase, a VAT-EU declaration must be made, it is associated with the receipt of the European NIP number (the PL prefix appears before the NIP number)

  • if the publication is purchased from a country outside the European Union, no VAT-EU declaration is required.

Due to the fact that the VAT on this transaction is to be settled by a domestic entity, it is important when the tax obligation arises. There are no separate regulations for the import of services. It is created on general terms, i.e. when the service is provided or the payment is made (whichever is the first).