On 6 March 2018, the Polish Administrative Supreme Court issued the first ruling concerning taxation of income made from trading bitcoins by individuals (case II FSK 488/16).
According to the ruling, income derived by individuals from trading bitcoins is subject to taxation in Poland at the progressive tax rate. Further, bitcoins should not be considered as a means of payment under Polish tax law. Even though the ruling refers to personal income tax, the approach of the Polish Administrative Supreme Court should be considered as a precedent for Polish tax resident companies as well.
The case at hand was initiated by an individual who applied for a tax ruling from the tax office. This individual was trading bitcoins worldwide, including in Poland. The income was not reported to the tax office. The individual argued that the Polish Personal Income Tax Act should not cover income derived from trading bitcoins. He noted that bitcoins were not even invented at the time the Polish Personal Income Tax Act had been enacted.
One of the individual's arguments was that according to the European Court of Justice (ECJ, C-264/14 – Hedqvist), bitcoins should be considered as a means of payment. However, according to the Polish tax authorities, under Polish law bitcoins cannot be treated as a means of payment, as only Polish Zloty can be treated as such. Moreover, even if trading bitcoins were to be treated as trading a means of payment, such income would also be subject to income tax and progressive rates.
According to the tax authorities, the 19% flat tax rate relevant for individuals running a business activity does not apply to income made from trading bitcoins. Only the 18% and 32% rates are applicable.