|New regulations have boosted demand for cash registers|
From March 1, every business with revenue exceeding zł.20,000 (about €4,800) annually from the sale of goods or services to individuals must use a cash register to record its transactions. Previously, the limit had been set at zł.40,000 and several types of business were exempt from the requirement, such as dance schools or driving instructors.
The new regulations are aimed at curbing the gray economy, according to Poland’s finance ministry, which was behind the new rules. But business owners, for their part, complain that the increased red tape is threatening their competitiveness.
Earlier this year the government imposed another law reinstating a five-year period during which retailers have to store all of their sales receipts. The period had previously been shortened to just two years in 2008 in an attempt to reduce bureaucracy. However, according to the finance ministry, regulations requiring that all VAT-related documents be kept for five years necessitated the reinstatement.
To add insult to injury, starting April 1, companies will have to squeeze far more detailed product information onto their receipts. According to the new law, products must be completely identifiable based on their receipt description. Therefore a simple entry “milk” will no longer be enough. Now, the receipt will probably have to state the type and quantity of the milk, though no one is sure how the regulations will be enforced in practice.
Registers in demand
Unsurprisingly, in view of these new regulations, cash registers have quickly become scarce. The cheaper models are sold out, while the more expensive ones cost at least zł.3,000. That amount is no trifle for a business making just zł.20,000 a year.
Cash-register producers are already drawing up waiting lists for customers looking to buy cheaper models. They have even begun providing entrepreneurs with statements for the Polish tax authorities, confirming that they are waiting for a cash register.
Maintaining such huge amounts of paper poses certain technical difficulties, such as finding suitable space for storage and making sure the paper used in the cash registers is of sufficient quality to last five years.
In view of the widespread discontent among retailers, the ministry has decided to allow for receipts to be stored in electronic form – a feature offered by more modern (and more expensive) cash registers.
Storing the data electronically, however, would mean replacing old registers. The cost of doing so for the entire trade sector is estimated at some zł.90 million.
The finance ministry says the regulation “will not impact the economy’s competitiveness, entrepreneurship or the way business is done.”
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