On Saturday afternoon, a regulation extending zero VAT on food for another three months was published in the Journal of Laws. “This is what effective and ambitious policy looks like,” commented Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on social media. – I’m so happy. You have been convincing us for so long that VAT on food is impossible. Now it turns out that it is possible, said Szymon Hołownia, Speaker of the Sejm, commenting on the announcement of the introduction of new regulations.
On Saturday afternoon, a regulation on zero VAT on food in the first quarter of 2024 was published in the Journal of Laws, signed by the Minister of Finance Andrzej Kolorowniak, whose two-week mission in the government will most likely end on Monday.
As we read in the introduced regulations, “until March 31, 2024, the tax rate reduced to 0% also applies to food goods” listed in the relevant act.
“At my request, the Minister of Finance has just signed the 0% VAT regulation on food. This means savings on purchases for millions of Polish families,” the Prime Minister said on Saturday Mateusz Morawiecki on the X platform (formerly Twitter). “This is what an effective and ambitious policy looks like,” he added.
Zero VAT on food
The zero VAT rate on food was introduced on February 1, 2022 as part of the second anti-inflation shield, the aim of which was to protect society against increased inflation, resulting first from the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, later intensified by, among others, Russian attack on Ukraine. The zero rate was to apply until the end of this year.
Morawiecki’s announcement and Hołownia’s reaction
November 20 PiS MPs submitted to the Sejm a draft amendment to the Goods and Services Tax Act, which assumes the extension of zero VAT on food from January 1 to the end of June 2024.
During Thursday’s session of the Sejm, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced the introduction of these changes by way of a regulation.
– A group of PiS MPs proposed extending zero VAT on food. I heard from this House that if we really wanted to do this, we would adopt a regulation, because you won’t be able to do it. I see now that you want food to be more expensive so that the bill proposed by PiS will not pass, said Prime Minister Morawiecki, addressing opposition politicians in the Sejm. – I decided that tomorrow or the day after tomorrow we will work until the very end. We will sign a regulation on zero VAT on food. Just in case you want to back out of this, declared the Prime Minister.
The Speaker of the Sejm commented on Morawiecki’s words Szymon Hołownia. – I’m so happy. You have been convincing us for so long that VAT on food is impossible. Now it turns out that it is possible. I am very happy with this declaration, said Hołownia.
Then he asked Morawiecki a question which – as he noted – he had already asked three times. – Where’s the budget? You always submitted before the end of the year. You have been Prime Minister for about 100 hours, why haven’t you tabled the budget? – asked the Speaker of the Sejm.
Mateusz Morawiecki replied that “the budget will be sent to parliament (…) by the government that will obtain a majority in the near future.” – Please don’t worry, Mr. Marshal. The budget is very well organized, said the head of government. He added that the budget includes very well planned income and expenses. – Zero VAT on food will easily fit into this budget – assured the Prime Minister.
Morawiecki also published an entry on social media on this topic. “On my order, the Minister of Finance will sign a regulation on 0% VAT on food in the first quarter of 2024,” he wrote. “The responsible Law and Justice government is working from the first to the last day of its mission. Poles will not pay for the show put on in the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. We expect that the Sejm majority will adopt a law in this regard for the following months. We will not wait for sluggish decisions the new Marshal of the Sejm, who is fighting for the silver button on YouTube, nor the opposition majority, which writes further legal nonsense at the dictation of lobbyists,” Morawiecki announced in a post on Facebook. “Polish families cannot wait any longer!” – he wrote.
Domański: We will make an appropriate decision
A meeting was held on Friday morning Donald Tusk with candidates for ministers in his cabinet. After the meeting, Andrzej Domański, who is to be responsible for the Ministry of Finance in Tusk’s government, was asked by journalists whether the future government will maintain zero VAT on food.
– Let’s wait for the regulation – he replied. – A moment ago, Prime Minister Morawiecki said that there cannot be such a regulation. As we know, in the 2024 budget this VAT was increased to 5 percent. After entering the Ministry of Finance, after carefully reviewing the state of public finances, we will make an appropriate decision – he added.
In mid-November, in an interview for Radio ZET, Domański expressed the opinion that “VAT on food should return to 5 percent.” – The Polish tax system is based largely on this VAT, and as a Polish state, if we want to be able to finance the necessary investments (…), we must have some sources of revenue and this 5% VAT on food is, of course, one of such sources – he said. However, he stressed that this was his opinion and the final decision would be made by the future government.
He also noted that the draft budget for the next year does not include a zero VAT rate on food.
Main photo source: PAP/Marcin Obara