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The legislative storm is clearly subsiding

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In 2018, the Polish government implemented approx. 14,600 pages of new legislation, down by an impressive 46 per cent from the year before. However, compared to 2017, there has been a considerable increase in legislative output in the area of taxation – according to a Grant Thornton report.

Excessive regulatory change has been an important obstacle to Poland’s economic development in recent years. Not only does it make it hard for businesses to operate, exposing them to fines and penalties, but also discourages them from investing. To measure the extent of legislative change, four years ago the professional services firm Grant Thornton launched its “Legal Environment Stability Barometer in the Polish economy”, a research project showing in real numbers how much law is being produced in Poland.

As part of this project, we are presenting our latest report with the monitoring data for 2018. What are the key findings?  The positive trend observed the year before, with less law produced in Poland, not only continued in 2018, but even visibly accelerated. The Polish Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, the electronic official source of law currently applicable in Poland) published 14,600 typescript pages of new legislation, comprising: statutes (ustawy, primary legislation of the highest order enacted by the Parliament) and ordinances (rozporządzenia, secondary legislation drafted by government agencies). In 2018, legislative output dropped by 46 per cent compared to 2017, and 54 per cent down compared to the record-breaking 2016.

Chart 1. The number of highest-ranking legal instruments (statutes and ordinances) published in respective years

The evident decline of the amount of new legislation was mainly due to the sharp drop in the issuance of new ordinances – the government’s implementing acts – the number of pages in this category fell in 2018 to 11,300, which is the lowest figure since at least 2012. As recently as 2017, newly adopted ordinances comprised 24,500 pages, which means that within a year the ministries reduced their legislative output by 56 per cent.

Tomasz Wróblewski

Managing Partner Grant Thornton, Poland

It has happened – after many years with more and more new regulations in Poland, the trend has been reversed. In 2018, legislative output was almost halved and it was the second year running with negative dynamics. This is what we set out to achieve with our report, and what we were counting on. Looking at the steady and almost uninterrupted growth of legislative output in recent decades, one could lose hope that any change was possible. We are happy to see that it has come to pass.

Even though the overall production of law in Poland has dropped, the same cannot be said for tax-related legislation – the most important from the point of view of the business community. In 2018, some significant changes were made to tax regulations – 362 pages in total, which is the highest number since 2004, when a whole new VAT Act was promulgated in Poland.

Tomasz Wróblewski

Managing Partner Grant Thornton, Poland

We keep saying that we are not against regulatory change. Quite the contrary, Polish law should change, the world is moving forward and our regulations should keep up with it. New statutes and ordinances are therefore obviously necessary and we need to appreciate the good intentions and efforts of our legislators, striving to improve Polish law. Yet, despite a marked improvement in this regard, in our opinion there is too much legal instability.

Has the drop in legislative output affected the quality of newly enacted laws? How are the Polish tax regulations changing? What does the public consultation process on draft legislative proposals look like? We encourage you to read the full report [IN POLISH].

Read the full report

(.pdf, Size: 1.85 MB)

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