Four easy steps to starting a business in Poland as a foreigner – legal forms, costs, and regulations

This article aims at foreigners who want to start a business in Poland and who are looking for step-by-step instructions on how to do it.

  • You will learn the differences between the basic forms of business organization in Poland.
  • You will find out what documents you need to set up and register your business with the appropriate authorities.
  • Finally, you will see a cost breakdown of starting your own business in Poland.

If you already run a business abroad, you can set up a branch or a representative office in Poland (see biznes.gov.pl for details on how to do this).

Step 0: Choosing the legal form for your new business

To run a business under the same principles applicable to Polish entrepreneurs, you need to be a citizen of a Member State of the European Union (or of the European Economic Area) or hold a special permit (e.g. permanent or temporary residence permit, refugee status, or a valid Polish Card).

When you decide to establish a business in Poland, you may choose from a range of legal forms. Each of them offers different possibilities and imposes various obligations. The two main forms of business activity in Poland are as follows:

  • Sole proprietorship (individual business activity) – the simplest form of doing business, which requires registration in CEIDG (this can be done online in English);
  • Commercial companies. Polish law provides for many types of companies: joint-stock companies, limited partnerships, limited joint-stock partnerships, professional partnerships, registered partnerships, limited liability companies, etc. To establish a commercial company, the entrepreneur must register it in the National Court Register (Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy, KRS).

Some activities are subject to additional requirements. For example, if you want to act in Poland as an insurance agent or a broker, you must notify the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego, KNF). Residents of non-EU countries need an additional permit to establish a company in Poland. If you want to sell excise goods in Poland, you will also need a tax representative's authorization. To see if your business is subject to additional requirements, go to the PKD code browser (link).

The multitude of legal forms and the number of permits an entrepreneur needs to obtain from various authorities makes the whole process difficult to navigate. Consider using the services of a professional legal or accounting consultant who will help you avoid potential mistakes and choose the most suitable form of business and taxation.

Step 1: Register your business

Registering your business is easy as long as you know which documents you need. You register as a sole proprietorship in the Central Register and Information on Economic Activity (CEIDG). Commercial companies need to be registered in the National Court Register.

  • You will need a document to prove your identity, e.g. your passport.
  • You will also need to present your Polish social security number (PESEL).
  • You have to provide the address for your registered office. Ensure that you have a document confirming your right to use the property (property deed or lease agreement).
  • Another essential thing is specifying the appropriate PKD code(s) (link) that define the area of your business activity.
  • When setting up a company, you will need a declaration from all of its management board members to make the initial capital contributions (cost PLN 40).

If you have a Trusted Profile or a qualified electronic signature, you can submit your applications to KRS and CEIDG via the Internet. While the CEIDG platform offers an English version, registering in KRS requires knowledge of the Polish language.

Step 2: REGON

To conduct your business and benefit from it legally, you need a business identification number (REGON). It is also a good idea to get a company stamp to validate any future business documents. The REGON number is assigned automatically when the company is registered in CEIDG or KRS

Step 3: NIP and taxes

Let us not forget taxes! You need to apply for a personal tax identification number (NIP) at the local tax authority competent for your business's registered office. When you register in CEIDG, the NIP number will be assigned to you automatically. Sole proprietors pay the Personal Income Tax (PIT), and companies pay the Corporate Income Tax (CIT). You will also need to choose the method of taxation.

If you have any doubts about paying taxes in Poland, you cancontactthe National Tax Information at the following telephone numbers:

  • 22 330 03 30 (when calling from mobile phones)
  • 801 055 055 (when calling from landlines)
  • +48 22 330 03 30 (when calling from abroad)

Step 4: ZUS

Every entrepreneur needs to register with the Social Insurance Institution (Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych, ZUS) and pay obligatory health and social insurance premiums. In addition, you can choose to pay voluntary sickness insurance contributions.

Costs of starting a business in Poland

The entry in the Central Registration and Information on Business (CEIDG) is free of charge! The registration fee for entering the company into the National Court Register (KRS) is PLN 250. There is also a PLN 100 fee for a mandatory announcement in the Court and Economic Monitor (Monitor Sądowy i Gospodarczy). When registering a company, you also have to pay the tax on civil law transactions (PCC). The tax base (0.5%) is the value of your share capital reduced by the fees paid to the KRS and the Court and Economic Monitor.

For more information on setting up and conducting business, please visit the official information and services website for entrepreneurs in Poland: https://www.biznes.gov.pl/en

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Translating English documents into Polish is not the only service I offer – I provide comprehensive support services for entrepreneurs operating on the Polish market. Whether you need a document translated or a phone call made to the authorities on your behalf, I am the right person to do it. I am experienced enough to know the rules and tricks of the trade. Starting a business in Poland as a foreigner is a rather daunting experience. Fortunately, I know how to make it easier for you.

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