28.08.2023 Business

TGC Corporate Lawyers Legal review – August 2023

Newsletter – changes in regulations and interesting decisions – August 2023.

1. The President signed the Act on the National e-Invoicing System (KSeF)

In August, the President signed the Act of 16 June 2023 amending the Act on tax on goods and services and certain other acts, known as the Act on the National e-Invoicing System (KSeF Act). E-invoicing via KSeF will be mandatory from 1 July 2024. For VAT-exempt businesses, mainly the SME sector, this obligation will come into force on 1 January 2025.

The implementation of the system involves many changes in the organization, which is why businesses should start preparing for the new standard as soon as possible. Failure to comply with the obligations under the KSeF Act will be subject to financial sanctions. Penalties will be imposed from 1 January 2025. We wrote about the consequences of signing the KSeF Act by the President here.

2. Next step towards digitalisation of justice

On 17 August 2023, the Sejm passed the Act amending the Code of Civil Procedure, the Act on the System of Common Courts, the Code of Criminal Procedure and certain other acts. This is a milestone in digitalisation of the justice system. The amendment was sent for the President’s signature. The amendment aims to improve the management of IT systems in courts. The Information Portal of Common Courts is to be extended to include criminal cases. The amendment also introduces on permanent basis remote hearings and e-service to civil proceedings and provides for the possibility of taking evidence remotely as part of a remote hearing (if the nature of the evidence allows it). The parties will be able to request the taking of evidence remotely already at the stage of evidence motion. The Act also permanently introduces, with a few exceptions, single-member panels in the second instance.

In addition, lawyers practising their profession will be obliged to have an account on court information portals. If a person is removed from the list of advocates, the Dean of the District Bar Assoctiation is to apply to the Minister of Justice to remove that person’s account from the portal.

Further changes include: the amount and method of payment of certain court fees, repealing provision suspending the limitation periods for prosecuting acts in criminal cases, accelerating the entry into force of provisions enabling the confiscation of cars of drunk drivers and increasing the powers of the State Prosecutor.

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3. Amendment to the Civil Code regarding the rules of inheritance

The President signed the act amending the regulations of the Civil Code in the field of inheritance. The amendment aims to limit the circle of heirs and regulate the deadlines for inheritance. The changes are intended to shorten the duration of proceedings and dispel doubts as to the deadlines for accepting or waiving succession. A narrower list of statutory heirs will limit the need for the court to seek them ex officio and summon them to a hearing.

In addition, the amendment introduces two new grounds for the unworthiness to inherit:

  1. Persistent non-compliance with a maintenance obligation imposed by a court judgment against the testator, and
  2. Persistent evasion of the duty of custody over the testator.

This will enable a person with a legal interest to oppose against obtaining benefits from inheritance by a person who fails to comply with the above obligations.

The Act will enter into force after 3 months from the date of its publication.

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4. New rules to combat fraud in electronic communications

In August this year, the President also signed the Act of 28 July 2023 on combating fraud in electronic communication, implementing EU regulations in this area. The act defines the concept of “fraud in electronic communication” and introduces an unexhaustive list of such fraud. The new rules aim to increase the protection of entities using or requesting a publicly available telecommunications service.

The Act introduces new rights and obligations for telecommunications undertakings, specifying the actions to be taken by those entities to prevent fraud in electronic communication. Those undertakings will be obliged to block text messages that meet features of smishing and voice calls consisting in impersonating another person or institution. Competent in this area will be the President of the Office of Electronic Communications.

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5. Changes in the rules of employing foreigners after lifting the state of epidemic emergency

Due to the lifting of the state of epidemic emergency in Poland, improvements for employers employing employees from abroad in connection with COVID-19 pandemic have ceased to apply. From 1 August 2023, the validity of residence and work permits and deadlines for foreigners to perform certain activities related to the legality of stay will not be automatically extended. Foreigners with documents issued or with extended validity on the basis of special covid laws are therefore obliged to apply for new documents. The deadline for fulfilling the obligations related to the legalization of stay by those person expired on 31 July. Persons who have not applied for new documents by this deadline are staying in Poland illegally. However, the lifting of the state of epidemic emergency does not affect the validity of documents of Ukrainian citizens whose legality of stay was regulated after 24 February 2022.

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6. Tightening of the trade ban on Sunday

In connection with the lifting of the state of epidemic emergency, from 1 August 2023, regulations hindering the circumvention of the Sunday trade ban are in force. Under the special covid laws, on non-commercial Sundays, in addition to the owner and their family members serving the cash register, other employees could also work in the store, e.g. people distributing goods on shelves. These provisions encouraged abuse by exploiting loopholes. From August this year, the trade ban is to be rigorously enforced. Currently, on non-commercial Sundays, only the owner and members of their family can work and operate the cash register in the store.

7. Act on the packaging deposit system sent for signature by the President

The Sejm passed the act on packaging deposit system, thus rejecting the Senate’s amendments. If the President signs the act, the packaging deposit obligation will come into force on 1 January 2025. According to the assumptions of the Act, large stores, i.e. with an area of over 200 sqm., will be obliged to collect packaging such as: non-refillable plastic bottles up to 3 litres, glass bottles up to 1.5 litres and metal cans up to 1 litre. The deposit will be 50 gr and should be returned to the customer returning the packaging without the need to show a receipt. The unclaimed deposit will be used to finance the deposit system. Smaller shops will be able to voluntarily join the deposit system.

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