Poland at a Glance
Poland’s Business WorldFotolia
Poles have a very straight-forward style of communicating.
Citizens and permanent residents in Poland are required to pay income tax. Once you have lived in Poland for more than 184 days within 12 months, you are taxed on your overall income, with taxes being deducted from your monthly salary. If you work in Poland as a representative of a foreign company, you may be subject to tax exemptions. The top personal income rate in 2011 was levied at above 85,000 Polish zlotys per year, amounting to 32%.
One-off earnings, such as dividends, are taxed separately. Income derived from interest and intellectual property is taxed at about 20%, while earnings from real estate sales are taxed at 19%. Poland has signed more than 60 tax treaties with other countries, including Germany, the USA, and UK. Make sure to check if such a treaty exists for your country.
Just like every Polish citizen, you are obligated to contribute to the local social security system while working in Poland. The country’s social security system covers sickness, old age, and accident insurance. With your contributions you qualify to receive the same benefits as Polish nationals. According to the social security scheme in Poland, employees and employers contribute to the following amount of their salary to the social security system:
- 9.76% to old age pension
- 6.5% to survivors and disability pension schemes
- 10.7% to sickness and maternity benefits funds (contributions are made by the employee only)
In case of sickness or if you are on maternity leave, you should receive 80% of your average income throughout the first six months, and 100% during the subsequent months. If you are a national of another EU member country, you may still be able to contribute to the social security scheme and still receive social security benefits in Poland.
The initial contact with your Polish business partners might be rather formal and quite distanced. The amount of formal behavior adopted during a meeting depends highly on the people you do business with. Some may consciously adopt formal manners while others make a point in doing away with them and adopting a more casual way of interacting with you. Either way, you should make sure to always address your business partners by their academic or professional titles as a sign of respect. Because titles are considered prestigious and impressive, you should also include your own titles on your business cards.
Once you begin your negotiations with your Polish business partners, you will realize that communication is incredibly direct. Thoughts are uttered straight-forwardly, but at the same time Poles are rather sensitive and you need to be able to walk this fine line between directness and diplomacy. Especially in the beginning of a business relationship, you need to be sensitive when communicating your thoughts. It is important to build personal relationships with your business partners and gain their trust. People will take their time closing a business deal with you until they have gotten to know you and can be sure that you are a trustworthy individual.