The Polish President signed into Law the Act introducing the so-called Danina Solidarnościowa (Solidarity Levy), i.e. funding for disabled people. The Government estimates that this Tax will bring in some two billion Zloty per annum. Who will pay the new Tax? How will it be levied?

Fundusz Wsparcia Osób Niepełnosprawnych – sources of financing

Part of the money for the Fundusz Wsparcia Osób Niepełnosprawnych (FWON – Disabled Persons Support Fund) is to come from the premiums paid into the Fundusz Pracy (FP – Work Fund, a part of the ZUS Social Security system) – with 0,15% of these being thus redirected. The remaining sum is to come from a special Tax on highest earners, i.e. people whose annul income exceeds one million Zloty. Those high earners are to pay to the State 4% of their income above 1 million Zloty (the Finance Ministry estimates that there are some 21 thousand such people in the country). The first time this levy would be due is in 2020 when Personal Income Tax for 2019 are calculated will be filed. One should note that Tax Deductible Costs do not include ZUS premiums nor income covered by the so-called Belka Tax, e.g. dividends or interest on bank deposits (a full list of taxable elements may be found in the Personal Income Tax Act, article 30 a).

What will be the gathered funds used for?

The authors of the proposed legislation expect the gathered funds to be used to improve the social standing and economic situation of disabled persons and their families. At present their activation is paid for chiefly through diversion of funds from PFRON coffers; however, many experts consider PFRON subsidies as being suffice solely for activation of such persons only in specific areas. In the opinion of experts from the Lewiatan organisation (as given in a press release), the Government’s Paper on the issue does not specify what exactly is this new funding to be spent upon. This raises the question whether – instead of establishing yet another Public Agency – would it not be better to change how already existing Agencies operate and thus provide comprehensive support to people affected by disability.

Is the new Fund a good idea?

The newly introduced Tax chiefly affects the most well-off, specifically those with monthly income of around 87 thousand PLN. The Government’s representatives emphasise that such a levy is a commonplace practice in many European countries, e.g. Greece, Czechia, Portugal, or Spain. Nevertheless experts point out that the Fundusz Wsparcia Osób Niepełnosprawnych will also be funded by ordinary Taxpayers, as part of its budget will be drawn the ZUS Fundusz Pracy. A worrying fact is that the State Budget will end up with less money for the activation of economically inactive people. The authors of the Act use the counterargument that at present unemployment is at a record low, hence it is possible to redirect part of such funding to disabled people.