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  • Writer's pictureJarosław Kruk

Anti-gridlock law - antidote for late payment

Author: Jarosław Kruk - Attorney at law, Managing partner

Lack of financial liquidity caused by delays in payments of contractors is the most common problem that entrepreneurs, especially those from the area of small and medium-sized companies, have been complaining about for years. The solution is to be the so called anti-gridlock law, i.e. the act aimed at reducing payment gridlocks.

The law has been in force since January 01, 2020 and aims primarily to limit the situation in which large companies with a stable financial situation impose extended payment terms on weaker contractors or fail to pay on time. Such conduct has a number of negative consequences, such as lack of funds to pay suppliers, late payment of employee salaries, delays in paying instalments of loans or other charges related to the operation of the company. In extreme cases, payment gridlocks may even lead to the company's collapse. Ultimately, economic growth suffers as a consequence of this phenomenon.

The anti-gridlock law takes into account both the conclusions obtained during the public consultation and the already proven solutions in other European countries such as the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom.

The main solutions of the act prepared by the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology are, first of all, the shortening of payment periods, the possibility to withdraw from the contract when the payment period exceeds 120 days, but also the right of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection to impose financial penalties on companies generating the biggest gridlocks, the obligation for companies to report their payment practices to the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology and the relief in the Personal Income Tax (PIT) and the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) for bad debts. More details on these and other changes are presented below:

  • shortening the payment period in transactions where the debtor is a public entity to 30 days (except for medical entities for which the payment period may not exceed 60 days),

  • introduction of a statutory obligation to apply a maximum 60-day payment period in transactions where the creditor is a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise and the debtor is a large enterprise - an enterprise which is not a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise, under pain of invalidity of a contractual provision providing for a longer payment period,

  • obligation of entrepreneurs who are taxpayers whose individual data are subject to publication by the Minister of Finance (capital groups and taxpayers whose income exceeds EUR 50 million per year) to submit an annual report on the applicable payment dates to the minister responsible for the economy,

  • ntroduction of administrative penalties imposed by the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) on entrepreneurs who excessively delay payments and thus credit their business at the expense of their contractors (information on the entities punished will be published). Notification concerning the delay in payment of the contractor may be submitted the UOKiK by anyone. As a result of the submitted notification, the UOKiK will check the payment history of the entity from two years preceding the initiation of proceedings. A special formula will be used to calculate the amount of the penalty, taking into account both the value of overdue benefits as well as the period of delay using the interest rate for delay in commercial transactions,

  • introduction of a rule that, in the event of a dispute, it will be for the debtor to prove that the period for payment is not grossly unfair, provided that the creditor may demand a finding that the period for payment was grossly unfair to him within 3 years of the date on which payment was made or should have been made,

  • supplementing the catalogue of acts of unfair competition with an action consisting in unjustified extension of payment periods for products delivered or services rendered in the Act on Combating Unfair Competition,

  • introduction of the possibility for the creditor to withdraw from the contract or to terminate the contract if the payment deadline was set in the contract and is excessively long and the setting of this deadline was grossly unfair to the creditor, i.e. the deadline exceeds 120 days counted from the date of delivery of the invoice or bill to the debtor, confirming the delivery of goods or performance of the service,

  • simplification of the interim proceedings for claims with a value not exceeding PLN 75,000, which will be achieved by making it easier to prove the legal interest in providing security to the claimant seeking payment of remuneration for the commercial transaction and the possibility of issuing an injunction in proceedings by writ of payment by a court referendary,

  • prohibiting the transfer of the right to compensation in the event of an assignment of claims to third parties,

  • introduction of the possibility for the creditor to reduce the tax base (PIT and CIT) by the amount of the claim if the claim has not been paid or disposed in any form within 90 days from the date of expiry of the payment deadline specified in the agreement or invoice (the so-called bad debt relief),

  • imposing an obligation on the debtor to add the amount of the outstanding liability to the tax base (CIT and PIT taxes) if the liability has not been paid within 90 days from the date of expiry of the payment deadline specified in the invoice (bill) or contract,

  • increase of interest for delays in commercial transactions to 11.5 %,

  • differentiation of the compensation for recovery costs due to the value of the monetary benefit:

- EUR 40 - when the value of the monetary benefit does not exceed 5000 PLN,

- EUR 70 - when the value of the monetary benefit is higher than 5000 PLN, but lower than 50 000 PLN,

- EUR 100 - when the cash benefit is equal or higher than 50 000 PLN.


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