On 2 February 2021, the Polish Ministry of Finance published a draft bill introducing a controversial new advertising tax on both conventional and online advertising revenues. Following the pre-consultation period, which closed on February 16, the Bill will be open for public consultation, after which the Government is aiming to ratify it quickly in Parliament - discussions are scheduled for March while the official introduction is planned for July 1, 2021.
The move caused an outcry among the media sector in Poland, with many companies uniting in a major protest against the Government’s move, and opposition to the Bill seemingly growing within the governing coalition.
All the parliamentary opposition parties, including Confederation (which has stressed its aversion to any tax increases), have spoken out against the draft Bill. Civic Coalition, the Left Parliamentary Club and the PSL-Polish Coalition submitted three identical draft resolutions calling on the Government to de-politicise the media and abandon the project completely. The Senate Marshal also stated the draft aims to "suppress any criticism of the Government and muzzle the independent media".
The proposed Bill also seems to be attracting a growing level of opposition within the ruling coalition itself. The Agreement Party (AP) and United Poland (which together with the Law & Justice party PiS form the ruling United Right coalition) are publicly sceptical, but could change their positions after negotiations with PiS.
The ongoing protest has already received the attention of a range of international institutions, not least the European Commission and the US Embassy in Warsaw, quickly escalating the matter politically in a move that seemingly has taken the PiS party by surprise.
To learn more about these developments and possible future scenarios and what they could mean for businesses click here for the full memo in English.