Taxes in Poland

Any foreigner working and residing in Poland is required to pay personal income tax (PIT) in our country. A person is considered to have a place of residence (tax residence) in Poland (according to Article 3(1a) of the Personal Income Tax Act) if:

  • has a center of personal or economic interests in the territory of the Republic of Poland (the so-called center of life interests, i.e., where he or she works, where the immediate family resides, etc.) or
  • resides in the territory of the Republic of Poland for more than 183 days in a tax year.

According to the law, foreigners who are domiciled in Poland are subject to tax liability on all their income, whether earned in Poland or abroad.

If a foreigner is not domiciled in Poland, he or she must pay tax only on income earned in Poland (Article 3, paragraph 2a).

To pay tax in Poland, you must file an annual PIT Income Declatration. You can file it on paper or electronically.

  • If you are domiciled in Poland, you file your PIT with the tax office that corresponds to your domicile address; you can file the return in person or send it to the office by mail, preferably with a return receipt. The return should be posted at a post office of a public operator (Poczta Polska) before the deadline for filing the return.
  • If you use a foreign address you must submit your return to the tax office responsible for taxation of foreigners.

You can file your return electronically:

    • using the e-Deklaracje application,
    • in the “Your e-PIT” service available on the e-Urząd Skarbowy (e-Tax Office website) (PIT-28, PIT-36, PIT-37, PIT-38). The service is available in Polish and English. If you use it, you won't have to manually transcribe or enter any data - it will be automatically loaded from the Tax Portal, and you will only check its correctness.

The obligation to file an annual PIT return also applies to those who leave Poland before the end of a given tax year. Possible failure to settle taxes in Poland before departure may pose a problem the next time a foreign scholar arrives in Poland and attempts to legalize his stay here.

To prepare/verify the accuracy of your annual tax return, you will need a PIT-11 declaration, completed by the payer - your employer (if you receive income from several sources, each employer is required to provide you with a PIT-11). This is information about income, deductible expenses, and contributions and advance tax payments collected. The employer must provide the employee with a PIT-11 by the end of February each year (following the tax year). By the end of April, the employee settles the PIT on his or her own using the PIT-36 or PIT-37 form.

PIT-36 - is filed by taxpayers who received income (revenue) taxed on a general basis using the tax scale and do not file a PIT-37 return. These are primarily taxpayers who conducted non-agricultural economic activity or special divisions of agricultural production taxed according to the tax scale and those who received income from abroad.
PIT-37 - is filed by taxpayers who earned income, taxed according to the general tax scale, exclusively from sources located in Poland.

Regardless of the type of earnings, as long as the amounts your employer entered on the PIT-11 agree with what you received, you must transfer them to the PIT return.

Omitting certain items from your PIT-11 as well as failing to settle your tax can result in a number of unpleasant consequences, including a fine of up to thousands of zlotys!

If you use the Your e-PIT service, you are dealing with a completed PIT return, which you have to approve, but remember that although the tax authority (National Tax Administration) is responsible for errors in the transfer of data from PIT-11 filed by PIT payers, the correctness of the information in the tax return, in particular the application of certain costs, allowances, deductions, correct selection of the form - is the responsibility of the taxpayer, i.e. you. Therefore, it is necessary to inspect and possibly correct the entire return, as your e-PIT does not remove the responsibility of the taxpayer for the errors incurred!

To file a PIT return, you need a tax identifier - in Poland it is the PESEL or NIP number. As of 2018, the only proper tax identifier for non-business people coming to Poland to work is PESEL. The PESEL number is assigned to every foreigner registering in Poland ex officio (and if there is no possibility of registering for temporary residence, one must apply for a PESEL), while the NIP (identifier for those conducting business in Poland) is assigned after the foreigner registers with the tax office - after submitting the NIP-7 form.

For information on how to obtain a PESEL number, see: "PESEL and temporary registration of residence".

If you receive income both in Poland and in another country, you most likely have to pay income tax in both countries. Poland has bilateral agreements with many countries to avoid double taxation. Familiarize yourself carefully with the agreement that applies to you (you can find a list of agreements here) to correctly calculate the amount of your taxes. The table of agreements is admittedly available on the site in Polish, but in the column "Legal Act" there are versions of the agreements in English and/or the national languages of the signatory countries. Tax offices also provide assistance in this matter.

Some groups of income are subject to tax exemptions in Poland. This includes certain scholarships. To be sure whether your scholarship is tax-free, ask the organization awarding it for information on this subject. Provisions on tax exemptions for certain income of scientists are contained in Article 21 (1) of the Polish Personal Income Tax Act.

For more information on tax settlement in Poland: