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Reforming the Polish Tax System to Improve its Efficiency

  • Alain de Serres

The Polish tax system is characterised by high social security contributions for both employers and employees. As a result, Poland has one of the highest tax wedges in the OECD, despite relatively low personal income tax rates. This, combined with a relatively high minimum wage and generous early-retirement and disability benefit programmes, contributes to low employment rates, in particular among low-skilled workers. The system also relies heavily on consumption taxes, whereas relatively little revenue is collected from such bases as environment externalities, inheritances and, in particular, property. One of the key implications of the tax structure is that the system as a whole is one of the least redistributive among OECD countries. This paper reviews the main features of the tax system and explores options to improve its efficiency, including possibilities to broaden existing tax bases as well as to shift the tax burden from labour towards less mobile and distorting sources such as property. Réformer le système fiscal polonais afin d'améliorer son efficience Le système fiscal polonais se caractérise par des cotisations patronales et salariales de sécurité sociale élevées. Par conséquent, la Pologne compte l’un des coins fiscaux les plus élevés de l’OCDE, malgré des taux de l’impôt sur le revenu des personnes physiques relativement bas. Cette situation, associée à un salaire minimum relativement conséquent et à des indemnités généreuses de retraite anticipée et d’invalidité, contribue à la faiblesse des taux d’emploi, surtout parmi les travailleurs peu qualifiés. Par ailleurs, le système s’appuie massivement sur les impôts sur la consommation, tandis que les recettes provenant d’autres sources telles que les taxes sur les produits polluants, les droits de mutation et surtout les impôts fonciers sont relativement minimes. L’une des principales conséquences de cette structure fiscale est que le système est, dans son ensemble, l’un des moins redistributifs parmi les pays de l’OCDE. Cette étude examine les principales caractéristiques du régime fiscal polonais et envisage différentes solutions pour améliorer son efficience, comme l’élargissement des assiettes d’imposition existantes et le transfert de la charge fiscale du travail vers des sources moins mobiles et entraînant moins de distorsions, telles l’immobilier.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 630.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:630-en
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