Changes in the conditions of applying for income tax exemption for the implementation of a new investment

On 27th of September 2019 a new publication of the data about the unemployment rate's level may appear. It affects minimum value of investment expenditures needed to be declared during the application for income tax exemption. Selected districts will obtain more favorable conditions of applying for income tax exemption, however, in some locations new conditions may possibly worsen. The difference in the expected investment's value will vary between 5 and 20 billion PLN in relation to the current level.

See changes


15 years

is the longest period for which a tax exemption can be obtained

100 mln PLN

the entrepreneur will have to invest in order to receive tax exemption in the areas with the lowest unemployment rate

10 mln PLN

the entrepreneur will have to invest in order to obtain tax exemption in the areas with the highest unemployment rate or in one of the 122 preferred cities


Income tax exemption for new investments is one of the main forms of support for enterprises in Poland, particularly important for large companies due to significantly limited possibilities of obtaining cash grants by them.

The new instrument is also available for micro, small and medium-sized companies that will benefit from certain preferences in the process of granting income tax exemptions.

Already issued special economic zone (SEZ) permits will still function according to the previous SEZ regulations, including the act on special economic zones. However, enterprises planning to implement a new investment and obtaining an income tax exemption on this account will be required to follow the new regulations. They may be completely new investors, who have not operated in SEZ before or entities that have already benefited from state aid within the SEZ, but are planning further investment projects within or outside the SEZ.

For over 20 years obtaining a tax exemption was possible only in the areas covered by the status of a special economic zone, the new law expands it throughout Poland. Eliminating territorial restrictions in the location of the investments along with shortening the procedure of granting aid is particularly important for the investors.

Investment’s location will affect the time period during which investor can use the tax exemption.:

  • 10 years – investments in voivodships with a basic state aid intensity of 25%, 20% or 10% (Lower Silesia, Greater Poland, Silesia, Warsaw West Subregion and Warsaw)
  • 12 years - investments in voivodships with a basic aid intensity of 35% (Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lubuskie, Łódzkie, Małopolskie, Opolskie, Pomorskie, Świętokrzyskie, Zachodniopomorskie and sub-regions: Ciechanów-Płock, Ostrołęcko-Siedlecki, Radom and Warsaw-East),
  • 15 years - investments in voivodships with a basic aid intensity of 50% (lubelskie, podkarpackie, podlaskie, warmińsko-mazurskie).

The investments in the areas of existing SEZ regardless of the general intensity of state aid in a given region will also receive support for maximum 15 years. Determining a fixed, maximum deadline for using the tax exemption is a favorable change compared to the current SEZ system, in which entrepreneurs can only benefit from the exemption until the end of 2026.

The amount of tax exemption granted will depend on the value of the investment, its location and the size of the company itself. The smaller the company and the further to the east the investment is located (i.e. in voivodships of Eastern Poland), the higher the intensity of aid. The above-mentioned basic aid intensities refer to large companies, while for micro-, small- and medium-sized companies, these intensities are respectively 20% and 10% higher.

However, income tax exemptions for the implementation of a new investment are not available for all the investors planning such projects. Assessing whether an investment may benefit from the support, the fulfillment of quantitative criteria (i.e. the minimum investment value) along with a number of qualitative criteria will be verified. Consequently, meeting numerous criteria may be difficult or even unachievable for some projects.

The required minimum investment value will depend primarily on the location of the investment, the size of the enterprise and the type of the business activity covered by the project. As a general rule, the higher the unemployment rate in a given area, the lower the minimum investment value. It will range from PLN 10 to 100 million. For example, the lowest value of 10 million will apply to large companies implementing investment in a poviat with an unemployment rate higher than 250% of the average unemployment rate in the country. IT will be also applied to investments in one of the 122 preferred cities and communes bordering such a city.

For medium-, small- and micro- enterprises, much lower quantitative criteria were introduced (the required minimum investment value was reduced by 80%, 95% and 98% respectively in comparison to the criteria applied to large companies). The quantitative criterion, alleviated by as much as 95%, will also apply to investments in modern business services and research and development activities, even if they are implemented by large companies, regardless of their location.

In addition to the quantitative criterion, the investment will be awarded with points for fulfilling the following quality criteria:

  • implementation of investments in strategic industries (defined by specified business activity codes - PKWiU),
  • achieving a high level of sales outside Poland,
  • conducting R&D activity,
  • low negative impact on the natural environment,
  • having an SME status,
  • the investment location in one of the 122 preferred cities or communes bordering with them, or in poviats with an unemployment rate above 160% of the national average,
  • supporting employees in gaining education and professional qualifications, and cooperation with industry schools/universities
  • undertaking activities in the field of employee care

An additional criterion for industrial projects will be:

  • creating specialized jobs and offering stable employment (based on a contract of employment), and also
  • affiliation to the national Key Cluster.

For the projects in the services sector, two additional criteria are provided:

  • creating high-paid jobs and offering stable employment (based on a contract of employment).

The minimum point limit in the quality criteria is from 4 to 6 points out of 10. The limit required to be obtained depends on the location of the investment - preferences are provided for investments in less developed voivodships.

In order to obtain a tax exemption under the new support instrument, an appropriate application for support should be submitted. An administrative decision will be issued by the special economic zones within 1-2 months. Until the decision is obtained, the investor cannot start the investment.


"Analyzing the project evaluation criteria, it seems that obtaining the CIT exemption may be more difficult in comparison to the previous system of special economic zones. The required minimum investment value may be a potential problem. While the SME sector is provided with quite large limits, even up to 98% relative to the value required from large companies, for large companies, they can reach up to 100 million PLN. Even for a large investor, such a value may be difficult to achieve."

Rafał Pulsakowski Director of Innovation and R & D Grants and Incentives team PwC.