Branch and Tax Identification Number – endless discussion

A branch of a foreign company is not obliged to identify itself with a separate Tax Identification Number (NIP).

The conclusion is drawn from the verbal substantiation of the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC or the Court) of 31 January 2020 (ref. no II FSK 509/18). The Court referred to another SAC’s judgment of 18 March 2011 (ref. no II FSK 1773/09) and stated that:

  • a branch of a foreign company (a taxpayer) is not obliged to register, even solely as a remitter of personal income tax and social security & health insurance contributions, since – due to the fact that a branch is not a separate legal entity – it should use NIP issued for the company;
  • therefore, a branch of a foreign company should use NIP of that company (i.e. the branch should use the parent company’s NIP number).

The above judgment was issued with respect to a branch which submitted a separate application for registration in Poland and, as a result, identified itself with individual NIP number (and not NIP number of the headquarters). Problems arose along with contractors’ doubts regarding the differences between the NIP number contained in the National Court Register and the number indicated on VAT invoices issued.

We are currently awaiting the publication of the judgment’s written justification.

What could this mean for companies?

As in the case of the Court’s judgment of 2011, it is expected again that the latest ruling will not change the tax authorities’ position regarding no requirement to obtain a separate NIP number by the Polish branch of a foreign company.

However, at the level of administrative courts, obtaining a positive ruling in such a case (branch using the NIP of the parent company) has just become highly probable.

If you would like to discuss the details, please contact us.

Łukasz Bączyk
Head of Tax

Aleksandra Kryzińska
Senior Tax Consultant

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