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Debt Epidemic – How to protect yourself against it?

The infamous debt collection is a notion that haunts many entrepreneurs, particularly throughout recession, such as the one that we witness nowadays. This is, however, far from being death sentence for our company, and if we know our rights – we might defend ourselves and make use of this procedure to regain control over our money and get rid of debts swiftly.

Bailiff or just a debt collector?

Many people treat both of these professions equally, fearing that a letter from debt collector may have subsequent consequences of seizure of their funds or entry to an office of the company. On the contrary, these two professions are radically different and do not share the same range of tools available to enforce debts. Competences wrongly associated with debt collection are in fact elements of bailiff enforcement, which may be used only by the bailiff and only in a manner strictly regulated by civil law procedures. A real bailiff in Poland never acts on his own or on behalf of private company, as these are in fact officials attached to a district court. What can a debt collector legally undertake, then?

In fact – nothing. The collectors are in no way particular officials and they can rightfully do as much, as any creditor could do on his own. Therefore, they cannot seize our funds, enter our property without our consent or require any information on our financial situation. Any of such actions may in fact be considered crimes, as long as they are not performed by a bailiff on a basis of a proper enforcement order. They may and should be reported to the Police. Which abuses are most common in debt collection?

  • forced entry to debtor’s house without his explicit consent – this behaviour is considered a crime, as laid out in Article 193 of Polish penal code (k.k., kodeks karny) – an intrusion upon seclusion,
  • threats of penal procedure and subsequent bailiff enforcement – this is not only absurd, as debts are most commonly a case for civil, not penal courts, but also illegal, as it be may considered a use of violence or illegal threatening with a purpose of debt collection, as described in Article 191 §2 k.k.,
  • the same article forbids any kind of physical violence in debt collection. Additionally, violence may also constitute an infringement of Article 271 §1 k.k., i.e. violation of physical integrity. Additionally, serious cases may result in personal injury, as regulated by Article 157 k.k.,
  • violation of physical integrity may also occur during forced eviction, to which debt collectors have no rights whatsoever,
  • any attempts or threats of seizure of funds located on bank accounts or seizure of pension or salary are completely out of place, have no legal grounds and may constitute a fraud, penalised by Article 286 §1 k.k.,
  • debt collectors cannot order us to give them any of our belongings or our money – this may constitute either an attempt of theft (Article 278 k.k.) or extortion (Article 282 k.k.)
  • the collectors have no right to inform debtor’s family or employer on his debt – this may lead to accusations of stalking (Article 190a k. k.) or defamation (Article 212 k.k.).

All actions listed above may also serve as a basis for compensation or punitive damage, if the illegal debt collection resulted in material damage, for example if a car is damaged during a seizure attempt, or if it leads to intangible losses, such as stress resulting from stalking. Paragraphs of penal code mentioned above may prove extremely useful in a dispute with an aggressive debt collector. If he acts persistently regardless of our legal arguments, it might be necessary to call the police to bring the unlawful debt collection to a halt. If the collector does commit anything from the list above, it would be fully appropriate to inform either the Police or relevant prosecutor office about a crime. The most proven and safe method is to submit a notification of a crime in the nearest police station. In case of some crimes, such as stalking, police or other organs may undertake proceeding if the victim files for such proceeding in so-called application for prosecution. A police officer reporting a crime should inform us in due time, that the application is necessary in the case in question.

Our readers may wonder at this point, what exactly is a debt collector allowed to do, if pretty much everything is either available only to bailiffs or forbidden altogether? In fact, the principal activity of such collector is negotiation. It is perfectly legal for collectors to contact their debtors and negotiate repayment of the debt in tranches or reduction of debt in exchange for instant repayment. Even the negotiation may however turn illegal, as soon as it becomes stalking, or more precisely a crime of repetitive, persistent harassment, as mentioned above. Such discussions with debt collectors may also be an opportunity to extort our private data. In general, however, the negotiations may bring positive results both for debtors and creditors, allowing the debtor to get rid of his old commitments quickly and rather cheaply, without bearing the costs of court procedures and actual bailiff enforcement. In order to succeed in negotiations, we must have some knowledge on our debts – most importantly, we should check if they are not expired.

Expiration – a debtor’s secret weapon

Many debts collected and enforced by private companies were either never brought to court, or were in fact stated in court decision, but such decision has never been successfully enforced. Such debts are often expired, and private companies try to collect them mostly by relying on confusion and lack of legal knowledge of debtors. No debt collector will ever help us realize, that the debt he tries to secure is in fact too old to be enforced. That is why we should make a quick revision of law on debt expiration.

Back in 2018 we witnessed a major amendment of relevant provisions. Since then, the maximum period of expiration is only 6 years, compared to 10 years regulated before 2018. The 6-year-period applies to majority of claims, including the claims confirmed by decisions of courts, arbitration courts, or any other body able to conduct such proceeding, as well as to claims established in a settlement confirmed by court or arbitration court, or in a settlement established by mediator, subsequently confirmed by court. Expiration period has not changed with regards to periodic payments, such as loan payments, as well as payment related to business activity, and still lasts 3 years. Additionally, the expiration does not occur exactly 6 years after the claim has arisen, but on 31st December of the year in which the 6-year period passes. Realistically, many claims may expire after almost 7 years, such as claims related to contracts concluded in January.

Temporary norms on expiration are extremely complicated. If a claim has not expired before 9th July 2018, we must compare how it should expire according to old, 10-year limit, to how it should expire in accordance with new regulations, with expiration period counted since 9th July 2018. In short – we must check if the old regulation caused an expiration before 31st December 2024. The sooner of the two dates in comparison must be applied.

Keep in mind, however, that the civil code provides a list of events that lead to cessation or pause of the termination period, completely altering the debtor’s situation. In practice, cessation of expiration is particularly important, as it may be caused by any action in the court or any other organ competent in the dispute in question, including an arbitration court, which aims directly at confirmation or pursuing of a dispute, as well as by initiation of mediation or by recognition of the claim by the debtor. Negotiations with debt collectors are in no way an ‘official’ mediation, but in the process of negotiations it may be easy to recognize the claim involuntarily. This might have disastrous consequences, especially if the claim in question is close to expiration. In case of cessation, regardless of its reason, the expiration period starts anew.

How does the expiration benefit debtors? Most importantly, it gives a sense of financial security and stability, as the creditor will have no possibility to enforce debt collection by legal means. If the claim was not brought to court yet, the claim will be easily dismissed in case of court proceeding only because of its expiration. Even if the expired claim is confirmed by court, and even if it is supported with an enforcement order, the bailiff will still lack legal grounds to undertake debt enforcement. This is a serious argument that may lead creditors and debt collectors to reduce the disputed amount drastically, thus making it easier to erase the debt. On the other hand, even the expired debts may be listed in registries, such as National Debt Registry (Krajowy Rejestr Długów, KRD) or BIG InfoMonitor. Such negative entries in registry are a powerful weapon of debt collectors, as they may prove problematic for debtors attempting to obtain a bank loan, leasing, or any kind of instalment purchase. Even if entries relate to old, radically expired debts, the only way to get rid of them is to achieve an agreement with debt collectors. There is no legal requirement for such registries to remove expired debts – conversely, removal of entry depends solely on the creditor.

One good reason to check your mail

If the negotiations fail, we may expect the debt collector to bring the case to the court. Many people still believe in a theory, that one can easily avoid any court proceedings against him, if one simply avoids acceptance of any court correspondence. Such theory is nowadays nothing more than an empty urban legend, which may prove detrimental especially in case of dispute with debt collectors. This is because such companies often make use of a lawsuit combined with a motion to issue a payment order against a debtor. This is a perfect, delightfully simple method for a creditor to fight for his claims, as the payment order requires nothing more than the most basic documents, such as an invoice accepted by the debtor or a contract. The debtor is not informed about the proceeding against him in the course of proceeding – the first mail that he will receive will be the payment order itself. Luckily, just as it is simple to get the payment order issued, it is easy to overturn it. This requires only a simple act of objection. The objection must be filed within 14 days after the payment order is received. Hiding away from a mailman will not solve anything – we must actively object the order. The objection results in a standard court proceeding, including a classic hearing during which we will be able to secure our rights. This is particularly important, as the payment orders are often issued almost automatically and may relate to debts already expired or repaid. Such claims may be easily rejected in the court, but the success depends on the first step of the creditor – receiving of his mail.

All bark and no bite?

After our summary, the debt collection should not seem as scary and deadly effective as it would seem at first glance. Debt collectors are just ordinary businessmen or workers with no special powers, and even though contact with them might prove beneficial, we cannot forget throughout the negotiations, that the other side has no major advantage over us. The debt collectors tend to rely on confusion and lack of legal knowledge of debtors, so the best way to win is to be aware of one’s own debts, as well as of one’s rights and duties.

Author: Filip Walczak
07.10.2020

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Binding Tariff Information (WIS)

On June 1st, Polish entrepreneurs had to face a new VAT tariffs scheme, which was bound to enter into force as early as in April. The amendment has been postponed, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent chaos on the market, which would be even deeper with changes tax law. Even though we were given additional time to prepare, many companies may be surprised and face problems related to the new tax reality, especially with Combined Nomenclature (in Polish: Nomenklatura Scalona). Luckily, the amendment itself contains a very handy procedure on Binding Tariff Information (Wiążąca Informacja Stawkowa, WIS). It is supposed to bring more clarity and certainty into tax reality, and apparently it shows up in Polish legal system just in time.

What is WIS exactly?

Polish tax law already allows to file for an individual interpretation on tax regulations, which in theory should protect taxpayers from paying taxes higher than as declared in the interpretation. Sadly, the protection provided by interpretations is far from perfect – tax organs tend to undermine them, arguing for example, that facts stated as basis for the interpretation were imprecise, and the interpretation should not apply in the situation in question. Those decisions are further weakened by a clause on tax avoidance. The WIS may therefore be considered an answer of lawmakers to criticism of the old proceeding.

Firstly, it must be noted that WIS applies only to VAT and it is regulated in the Act on VAT. The interpretation, on the other hand, may apply to most taxes and it regulated in the Tax Ordinance Act. The WIS relates only to VAT because of its principal position in Polish tax system and in business trading. Both proceedings are broadly similar, but they key difference lays in Article 42 of the Act on VAT: the WIS is binding tax administration with regards to entities entitled to file for WIS. As a result, protection offered by WIS is much tougher and there is no possibility to issue a tax decision contradictory to WIS in question. It will also be more difficult to undermine the WIS, especially considering the fact, that each WIS applies to a particular product or service based on its detailed description, while at the same time indicating classification of the product or service in accordance with the Combined Nomenclature, Polish Classification of Goods and Services or other applicable classification, therefore indicating a correct VAT tariff.

The Procedure

Both a taxpayer, identified by NIP number, as well as any other entity undertaking or planning to undertake actions related to subject of the proceeding, or buyer as laid out in Public Procurement Law – to an extent, to which VAT influences pricing of a procurement, may file for WIS. The Tariff Information is issued by the Director of National Tax Information Office (Dyrektor Krajowej Informacji Skarbowej, KIS). The KIS website, as well as e-PUAP platform offer a simple model of a document, which might be used to file for WIS both by e-PUAP profile or by traditional mail. The WIS application should include a detailed and thorough description of a single product or single service. More products or services may be described together, if they form a composite service – a set of service consisting of a primary service and other services inherently connected to the primary one, being necessary for performance of this service. The description is a key element of the application – if done properly, it will provide a solid basis for a subsequent decision. We may suggest classification which seems correct for us, but obviously this suggestion is in no way binding for the Director of KIS.

Additionally, the application should be reinforced by attachments – any kind of documents or materials helpful in the procedure. The Director of KIS has also a possibility to demand a small batch of product for necessary examination – such examination may occur particularly often in chemical or food industry. The application itself is inexpensive and costs only 40 PLN, although in case of examinations we will most likely have to bear cost of them as well. 40 PLN is a cost of a single application for a single product or service (or composite service) so if we want to check proper classification of multiple separate products, we will have to pay 40 PLN for each of them. The Director of KIS is obliged to issue his decision within 3 months, starting on the day when he receives a valid and properly paid application. Both decisions and related applications are published in a Bulletin of Public Information, so even though other decisions do not bind us, we may check how similar applications to ours are proceeded and interpreted.

What’s the catch?

The overall concept of WIS seems fantastic, but it is still far from perfect. Its legal basis is largely derived from old regulations on individual interpretations. For example, if the decision is altered or revoked, we still use Articles 14k – 14m of Tax Ordinance Act, which protect taxpayer and his actions undertaken before he received the decision on altering or revoking, and allow to use the WIS until the end of tax year, in which the WIS has been altered or revoked. Although the WIS is supposed to be a solid document for taxpayers, it may be either altered or revoked altogether, with the most important grounds for such decisions being:

  • decision declared incorrect by Head of National Tax Administration,
  • changes in relevant EU tax law,
  • declaration of incorrect interpretation of relevant legal provision,
  • declaration of incorrect judgement based on legal provision.

In the end, even though WIS is much stronger than classic interpretation, it may still be overturned.

Furthermore, there is one difference between WIS and individual interpretation, in which the old solution was actually better for taxpayers. The WIS is binding only with regards to goods and services delivered or manufactured after the WIS is received. In contrary, individual interpretations did give taxpayers a certain degree of limited retroactive protection. Currently there is no chance for such protection in case of VAT at all, as the two proceedings are not interchangeable – WIS is applicable solely in VAT cases, while individual interpretation may not be used in VAT cases at all.

Combined Nomenclature itself is in a way yet another weakness of WIS, as it is changed on a yearly basis by the European Commission. Obviously, such changes will be hardly revolutionary, but if any change does occur with respect to classification of our interest, it may lead to revoking or change of WIS based on earlier CN version. 

Is it worth it in the end?

In short – the WIS is definitely worth filing for, as there is no chance for other kind of interpretation in terms of VAT anyway. The legal protection offered by the decision of the Director of KIS makes it useful even without retroactive protection, whereas virtually symbolic costs of a single WIS make it an attractive solution which may provide at least a bit more security for our business. It is particularly important in current situation, when many questions related to new classifications may arise. The Combined Nomenclature is a completely new tool both for Polish taxpayers and for Polish tax administration, so a WIS may be a useful tool in adaptation to the new system. Overall, practical impact of WIS is difficult to assess at this point, as the procedure is simply too recent. It will be essential to pay attention to subsequent behaviour of tax administration when it comes to WIS.

Author: Filip Walczak
07.10.2020

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Debt-proof Shield – A New Mode of Restructuring

On 19th June, entrepreneurs in Poland received new, even stronger version of the so-called Shield, a legal instrument created to assist companies, businessmen and workers in tough times of COVID-19 pandemic. The new act, officially known as Act on supplements to bank credits of entrepreneurs influenced by COVID-19 and on simplified proceeding on confirmation of an arrangement in connection with COVID-19 (Ustawa o dopłatach do oprocentowania kredytów bankowych udzielanych przedsiębiorcom dotkniętym skutkami COVID-19 oraz o uproszczonym postępowaniu o zatwierdzenie układu w związku z wystąpieniem COVID-19, Dz.U. 2020, poz. 1086) contains a vast amount of new legal solutions for companies, but today we will focus on one of the most interesting of them – a simplified restructuring mode.

This solution is far from offering a completely new path – quite the opposite, it is supposed to be just a variant of a standard proceeding on confirmation of arrangement, available – according to the act – only until 30th June 2021.

Arrangement in time of COVID

Changes provided in the new act apply mostly to early phases of the whole procedure. Any debtor may, after concluding a contract on an overview of restructuring proceeding with a licenced restructuring advisor, publish a single notice in MSiG (Monitor Sądowy I Gospodarczy, official Polish journal for legal persons’ obligatory announcements) in which he announces commencement of a proceeding on confirmation of arrangement. That is where the most fundamental difference lies – starting from the day of the announcement, until the day the proceeding is either finished or discontinued, the debtor is protected just as debtors, that had their arrangements settled and confirmed by the court in a standard proceeding. As a result, creditors are in a way presented with a fait accompli. The debtor may unilaterally refrain from paying due charges related for example to leasing, with creditor being unable to undertake any legal action against him. This, however, is not the end of consequences.

Debtor well protected

Protection offered in the simplified procedure is largely identical to what debtors can expect in a standard proceeding. First and foremost, any bailiff enforcement or other similar debt collection procedure relating to debts included by law in the arrangement, as well as debts related to mortgage, ship mortgage, or resulting from a lien, must be discontinued and no such action can be undertaken as long as the proceeding lasts. It is important to properly understand the term of debts included by law in the arrangement, as mentioned above. This term includes all debts arisen before the day of commencement of the proceeding (i.e. the day of publication), interest rates starting from the day of publication, debts dependant on fulfilment of a condition, as long as it is fulfilled during the proceeding, as well as debts arising from mutual agreements – provided that service offered by the other party is divisible and only to the extent, to which it has been executed before the publication without a due service from the party undergoing restructuring. For example, debt resulting from a contract will be protected if a creditor has paid for service, but has not yet received it, or conversely, if he still waits for payment for his service. Debts arising after the day of publication are in general not protected at all, although interest rates related to them cannot be enforced either. According to the amendment, further consequences of commencement of proceeding include additionally:

-lack of right for the debtor to fulfil duties related to debts included in the arrangement,

-offsetting of claims between debtor and creditor is prohibited, unless the debt has been purchased as a result of debt repayment, for which the buyer was personally or financially responsible, and his responsibility for the debt has occurred before the debtor has filed for publication (keep in mind that this is, consequently, an earlier date than date of publication, mentioned as a border point in all other cases),

-it will be impossible to terminate any leasing contract unilaterally, just as it is impossible in a standard restructuring proceeding.

The law has therefore given all debtors a great opportunity to catch a breath during those tough times. After the publication virtually all existing debts become frozen – they can be neither executed by creditor, nor fulfilled by the debtor himself. Such safety measures for debtors might be particularly tempting with regards to overdue bank loan payments, overdue rent, or other overdue payments related to business transactions.

In the simplified proceeding debtors are able to “freeze” most of debt enforcement actions undertaken against them basically unilaterally. As a result, they gain time and safe resources which can be used for further works on the repayment arrangement. The lawmaker has, in the end, removed the most problematic obstacle in the traditional proceeding – vulnerability of a debtor during a process of establishing of the arrangement itself with all his creditors. While commencing the whole process, debtors do not have to provide any information on their current debts or any other detailed documents – all required data is listed in the amendment and consist of the most basic information about a debtor.

What is next?

The new proceeding is a countermeasure against drastic losses of entrepreneurs resulting from COVID-19 pandemic, that may quickly lead multiple businesses to bankruptcy. The simplified restructuring allows swift response to financial complications and effective protection against creditors. Consequently, the debtor has clearly better chances to survive the pandemic and return to financial prosperity afterwards. His main incentive to focus on restructuring is a 4-month deadline established by the amendment. That is how much time does the debtor have to succeed with the repayment arrangement and file for judicial acknowledgement of the arrangement in court. If he fails to meet the deadline, the whole proceeding will be discontinued by law, and he will have to launch a second, classic restructuring procedure. An entity undergoing simplified restructuring may also launch a sanative procedure – the most radical among restructuring tools offered by Polish law – if the repayment arrangement is rejected by the court or if the proceeding is discontinued after the arrangement is filed in court.

Interestingly enough, the repayment arrangement does not have to be agreed upon by a creditor, whose claim is to be fully repaid in accordance with the document. This enables the debtor to proceed the arrangement much faster.

All of the novelties mentioned above may be of concern to creditors, but they have been given a balanced countermeasure – either the debtor, the restructuring overseer or the debtor himself may file for repealing of all results of publication on commencement of arrangement procedure, provided that they cause harm to the creditors.

Further proceedings regarding the arrangement are largely identical with the classic procedure. An assembly of creditors, a body which can confirm the arrangement, may be held via internet, provided that certain technical requirements, such as creation of protocol of the meeting in an electronic form, are met. Most of online communicators are therefore perfectly suitable for this purpose.

During the restructuring procedure, debtors’ duties are limited to ordinary management activities. Any other action will require a consent of their respective restructuring overseers, which may be given up to 30 days after the action in question as well. The overseer should in principle limit activities of the debtor to the absolute minimum, allowing the debtor to resolve his debt issues and bear all costs related to restructuring.

Old law, old problems

In short, the classic proceeding on repayment arrangement is based on a contract between a debtor and an arrangement overseer (a certified restructuring advisor) and creation of the arrangement itself on a basis of debtor’s current financial situation. The next part of procedure is focused on financial safety of creditors, as it is their role to agree on the arrangement. The document needs to be acknowledged by at least half of creditors, representing at least 2/3 of all the debts related. As mentioned above, after a successful acknowledgement, the arrangement must be approved by court. The court must assess the arrangement with regards to legal requirements for such documents, as well as with regards to possibility of flagrant harm towards the creditors voting against the arrangement. This is where the old procedure has its main weakness – the arrangement will become binding and effective, first and foremost by prohibiting all debtors from undertaking or continuing debt collection, only after the arrangement is approved in court. As a result, it is barely popular with the debtors. Its length and costs make such proceeding worthless, with the procedure being largely ineffective against debt collection in the early phase of proceeding. Further stages of the proceeding include validation of the court’s approval and execution of the arrangement by the selected restructuring advisor. The whole procedure comes to an end with a statement of court declaring a complete execution of the arrangement. 

Summary

New restructuring solution seems to be a very promising tool for companies dealing with effects of the pandemic. The simplified restructuring might prove useful for those who cannot fulfil their financial obligations in this particular period. It must be admitted that the amendment itself does not contain any serious loopholes – financial needs of creditors were taken into consideration as well, so they may easily counter harmful activities of their debtors. The pandemic itself has also impacted the new law, as the creditors may easily cooperate online. As we mentioned, the new restructuring procedure is largely based on an old and well-known procedure, so the recent legislation should not cause much concern or doubts in practice. Entrepreneurs have received an effective and simple remedy, which may give them as much as four months to improve their financial situation. The publication on arrangement procedure itself does not create any strict obligations for the debtor, so in practice it may be enough to “freeze” all debts for four months to save a company without any actual restructuring actions.

The amendment itself is very rational and promising, so we may expect it to remain in force at least partially after the pandemic. New procedure is to a certain degree based on an EU Directive of 20th June 2019 on preventive restructuring frameworks, on discharge of debt and disqualifications, and on measures to increase the efficiency of procedures concerning restructuring, insolvency, and discharge of debt. Consequently, the simplified restructuring may remain in Polish legal system for good, as long as it proves practical and fair. Proceedings on repayment arrangement may gain popularity and become a handy solution, satisfying both debtors and creditors. Swift, effective, and cheap restructuring is, after all, profitable to everyone.

Author: Filip Walczak
16.09.2020

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The Mystery of Ultimate Beneficial Owner

Even though it is relatively unknown, the Registry of Ultimate Beneficial Owners (in Polish: Centralny Rejestr Beneficjentów Rzeczywistych, CRBR) has become officially operational as of 13th October 2019 – almost one year ago. What is CRBR? Who should be listed in the Registry? And last but not least – what are the consequences for those who fail to fulfil duties related to CRBR?

Who should be reported to CRBR?

Reporting to CRBR is mandatory for all ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs), with their definition being established by an Act of 1st March 2018 on countermeasures against money laundering and terrorism financing (Ustawa z dn. 1 marca 2018 roku o przeciwdziałaniu praniu pieniędzy oraz finansowaniu terroryzmu – Dz. U. 2019, poz. 115). The definition includes a large variety of entities, while being extremely complicated and causing serious doubts even for experienced professionals. In short, a UBO is a person holding more than 25% of shares in a company. If exact shares cannot be established, a person holding senior management position is considered an UBO. Additionally, a person that effectively controls the company directly or indirectly, as well as a person ultimately gaining benefits from owned or otherwise controlled company, are also considered UBOs. The definition of UBO applies also to a person, which effectively and decisively influences actions and decisions undertaken by the company.

It is important to notice, that duties related to UBOs do not apply to public companies as regulated in Act of 29th June 2005 on public offer and rules related to introduction of financial instruments to an organised trading system and on public companies (Ustawa z dn. 29 lipca 2015 roku o ofercie publicznej i warunkach wprowadzania instrumentów finansowych do zorganizowanego systemu obrotu oraz o spółkach publicznych – Dz.U. 2019, poz. 623).

Deadlines

Entities registered in Polish KRS (Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy, National Court Registry) before 13th October 2019 had 6 months to make a report on UBO – this deadline passed on 13th April 2020.

Legal entities registered after 13th October 2019 have much less time to make a report – just 7 days after their entry inti KRS, or in case of changes in KRS entry – 7 days after introduction of the change.

Keep in mind, that in all cases the 7-day deadline does not include weekends and national holidays.

Who should make the report?

The report to CRBR can be issued only by a person authorized to represent the company, i.e. person listed in KRS entry as authorized to represent the company. The report must be verified using qualified electronic signature or by ePUAP profile. This regulation has no exceptions – any plenipotentiaries or attorneys of a company are not authorized to issue reports themselves.

In case when more than one person is required for a valid representation of a company, the report must be undersigned by all people required in KRS entry, regardless of order of undersigning. In this case, both electronic signature and ePUAP profile may be used.

Consequences of non-compliance

Both the company and person issuing a report in its name may face severe consequences in case of wrong or delayed report.

A person issuing a report may be held responsible for losses caused by incorrect data published in report or by failure to obey deadlines established by law – possible consequences include fine of up to 1.000.000,00 PLN and prohibition of performing duties in a managerial position. A company itself, in case of failure to issue a report or in case of incorrect data presented in report, may be punished by a fine of up to 1.000.000,00 PLN or by prohibition of performance of certain activities.

In order to avoid consequences mentioned above, and fulfil legal obligations vested in the company, just fill a simple report at https://www.podatki.gov.pl/crbr. The report includes most basic information on the company, as well as on the UBO. It can be swiftly filled out entirely online, but sadly the form is available in Polish only.

Good luck!

Author: Weronika Wiczkowska
24.08.2020

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New Year, New Civil Procedure

Beginning of a new year is often a time of various summaries, but it is also a time of novelties – even when it comes to judiciary.  In the new year, Polish courts must deal with a major amendment of code of civil procedure (kodeks postępowania cywilnego – KPC), probably the largest one in recent years. The new act is a good source material for a scientific paper, but today we will try to tackle the issue from a business perspective. What traps have been prepared by lawmakers, and what should one take into consideration while preparing for a case?

Back to the past –a separate commercial procedure

A key novelty for all types of entrepreneurs is a separate procedure for business entities, which did in fact exist in Polish legal system before. The main argument, laid out in favour of this procedure by supporters of the new act, is the idea of making such business-related procedures much faster. Speed of proceeding is crucial when it comes to financial aspects of enterprises and their ability to operate in general. Such important proceedings are, according to article 4582 § 1 KPC cases:

  1. Between entrepreneurs regarding private law issues related to their business activities;
  2. Arising from corporate law and litigations within companies;
  3. Arising from construction work contracts or other contracts, related to the construction process, directly linked with performance of such services;
  4. Arising from leasing agreements;
  5. Between organs of state-owned company;
  6. For appending an enforceability clause to an enforcement title, which is a decision of a commercial court or a settlement concluded before that court.

For every rule, there is an exception

Two exclusions have been established – both division of partners’ assets after cessation of partnership and cases relating to debt acquired from a non-entrepreneur, except when the debt arose on grounds of contract, related to business activity of all of its parties have been excluded from commercial cases. Division of assets itself is a classic civil court case, so there’s no wonder it has not been transferred to commercial courts. This type of case simply doesn’t fit there. The second exclusion has been established with enterprises dealing with purchase of debt in mind. Such debts have various sources, which do not necessarily fit within scope of commercial courts.

Certain elements of typical civil proceeding have also been excluded from this procedure, creating an interesting example among Polish civil procedures. Commercial procedure does not allow for addition of new claim instead or together with the ongoing one, except for a situation, where the new claim regards repetitive payments or other provisions which should be repetitive, such as monthly rent. It is also forbidden to change a subject of dispute for something different or its equivalent.

The whole scheme creates a reasonable balance between flexibility required by the very nature of commercial litigations, such as a possibility to include new unpaid invoices in the case, and the main goal of lawmakers – to make Polish courts faster.

It will still be possible to sue additional parties in the course of procedure or for third party to intervene in the procedure, but possibilities provided in articles 194-196 of KPC have been excluded as well, which means, among others, that a suit filed against a wrong party can no longer be ”saved” by indicating another, appropriate party. Such a mistake will lead directly to lost case and lost money. Extreme caution must be then taken, when there is a need to file a suit against a company, in order to check if it really is the legal person we need to get into litigation with, or is it just a different subject somehow related to an appropriate party.

Furthermore, it is impossible to suspend procedure due to absence of parties in court, so parties will no longer be able to bring court proceedings to a halt by simply disregarding calls to appear in court. It should also be kept in mind, that within commercial procedure there is no possibility to use counterclaim within one litigation, or to hand a case over to a district court already dealing with a related case.

These last two exclusions are rather pointless – to forbid possibilities much more beneficial for both sides – courts and parties. Without these options, there will be not one but two separate proceedings burdening both entrepreneurs and judges.

Oblig@tory e-mail address

Novelties outlined above are not the only ones, as there has to be mentioned one more crucial, yet completely pointless trait of commercial cases – an obligation to include e-mail address (or a separate declaration of lack of such an address) of all parties in their first documents sent to a court. According to the original concept of lawmakers, the e-mail had been supposed to be an additional way of communication between court and parties not using legal aid, used to send messages and non-defined support for such parties. Nature and form of such support still remain unknown, and as a result, provision of e-mail address hardly changes anything. On the other hand, lack of information regarding e-mail is a major formal deficiency leading to serious consequences. Apparently, we have to deal with a serious error in legislation, and still include e-mails whether it makes sense or not.

The need for speed

We also have to keep in mind, that two important periods have been shortened – both time for discontinuance of a suspended proceeding and for motion of resuming the case have been cut in half.

There are also new deadlines applying to work of courts. Now there is only one month to delegate an issue not being a commercial one to a non-commercial court, or to delegate a commercial case to commercial court by an invalid one. The one month-period starts when parties engage in dispute and is supposed to prevent prolonged disputes as to which court is the proper one in the case. Commercial cases put additional pressure on court and its president, as they should work on every case in a manner, that will lead to a conclusion in no more than six months. Obviously, this is not a fixed, strict deadline, but rather an emphasis on pace of proceeding. Each case is different, and one cannot expect, that every one of them will be over in half an year, regardless of external factors, such as the sheer number of documents that need examination. Courts retain all the right to work on a case for more than six months, if there is a need to do so. On the other hand, the six-month term implies that judges should be in hurry – and while speed is an important contribution to efficient legal system, other values and overall quality of court proceedings should not be surrendered in the name of speed.  

Both sides of litigation are „hurried” by the new legislation as well, for example because of the requirement to lay out all claims and evidence in their first documents within the litigation. There will be no possibility to keep an ace up one’s sleeve for later.

Mediation as a great bargain?

Entrepreneurs should also focus on new regulations in regards to costs of court proceeding. They have been clearly amended in order to fulfil not only financial, but also an incentive aspect of such costs. That should come as no surprise– inflation and continuous rise of virtually all prices must have sooner or later led to subsequent rises of court costs. This is particularly relevant in the area of civil proceedings, where the amounts of controversy rise just as rapidly as payments, salaries and other financial sums brought to court. Furthermore, when court proceedings become disproportionately cheap, it is easier to start multiple proceedings without a second thought – and often without much sense, either. That’s why motivation is a particularly important aspect of new prices – such considerable costs may discourage from placing further burdens on overloaded courts, while at the same time encourage to look for alternative methods of dispute settlement.

Amongst many changes, the ones implemented with regards to commercial proceedings are particularly important for entrepreneurs. While earlier on various company-related procedures costed 2.000,00 PLN, they now cost more than twice as much – 5.000,00 PLN. Such proceedings must occur sooner or later while managing a company, so there is no general way to avoid them.

The largest and most discouraging change occurred in the field of proportional costs. Until November, they amounted to 5% of amount of a matter of dispute, but not less than 30 PLN and not more than 100.000,00 PLN. Now, however, cost thresholds have been introduced:

1) when amount of controversy is smaller than 500 PLN, the cost amounts to 30 PLN;
2) between 500 PLN and 1.500 PLN: 100 PLN;
3) between 1500 PLN and 4000 PLN: 200 PLN;
4) between 4000 PLN and 7500 PLN: 400 PLN;
5) between 7500 PLN and 10.000 PLN: 500 PLN;
6) between 10.000 PLN and 15.000 PLN: 750 PLN;
7) between 15.000 PLN and 20.000 PLN: 1000 PLN.

If amount of a matter of dispute is bigger than 20.000,00 PLN, cost will still be 5% of the amount, but such cost may now reach up to 200.000,00 PLN. The first draft of amendment provided up to 500.000,00 PLN, but even the final version constitutes a striking change in overall costs of proceedings. Interestingly, when it comes to the thresholds, litigations concerning smaller amounts are proportionately more expensive than the ones concerning major amounts. 100 PLN of costs for a litigation on 500 PLN is 20% of the amount, while a litigation on 10.000 PLN costs only 5% of this amount.  

Major changes within payment system are supposed to reduce flow of new cases into already overburdened courts, and they may be extremely successful in this aspect.  High-priced proceeding raises questions both for debtor –” Does it really make sense to avoid payment and wait until we end up in expensive court?” as well as for creditor –” Is court proceeding really necessary at this stage?” In comparison with expensive litigation, mediation and other arbitral means of dispute settling seem much more convenient than they were before.

Bailiff instead of a postman

Authors of the new civil procedure declared war on plague of undelivered court notices by introduction of new article 1391. According to the new article, if defendant will not receive, after a second notice, the first document addressed to him which requires his defensive actions – so, in most cases, a lawsuit – the court will order plaintiff to deliver the document using bailiff’s services.

Bailiff’s delivery is in general more reliable than delivery by postal service, and can provide a correct, real address of defendant – bailiff has obviously more possibilities to check whereabouts of the defendant and find him than a regular postman. There are two months for a bailiff’s delivery. If this attempt turns out to be unsuccessful as well, the plaintiff is obliged to inform the court about this outcome, while providing the court either with the address of defendant acquired by bailiff, or evidence supporting the address provided by the plaintiff in his lawsuit. Such evidence may consist of invoices or contracts, in which the defendant himself mentions his address. It’s useful to prepare such evidence in advance – failure to observe the new regulations will lead to suspension of proceeding.

Most of all, the modification is an additional burden for plaintiff. Until now, inclusion of defendant’s address was perfectly enough, even if plaintiff knew that the address is wrong, and two failed deliveries to this address would lead to legal fiction of delivery. From now on, it will take much more effort.

A nod to consumers

Certain complications will emerge from new wording of article 31 §2 of the KPC, which excludes all kinds of alternative jurisdiction against consumers. All types of litigation will have to be filed in local courts of consumer’s place of living.

What’s next?

Changes introduced last year make up an impressive list, although it will take months, or maybe even years to properly assess whether their positive impact on Polish judiciary was just as impressive. On the other hand, lack of proper knowledge of new requirements may not only prolong litigations, but also result in terrible losses to a party which is not as up to date with legal developments as the other one. New provisions require much more knowledge and professionalism from businessmen trying to prove their rights in a court. Simple strategies and smart tricks, widely available on legal forums or in free guides have become not only largely useless, but also dangerous – maze of altered norms can easily lead to unexpectedly big costs of proceedings, or to a failure that would be essentially one’s own fault. That’s why it has become even more relevant to put one’s trust in professional legal assistance, that will help and represent an entrepreneur in accordance with current legal norms.

New year may very well bring us commercial court cases solved quicker than before. Such a quick, successful outcome will be attainable only with a proper preparation of all procedural documentation to support them.

Author: Filip Walczak
21.02.2020

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Simple Public Limited Company – New Solution for Startups?

On 2nd August, the President of the Republic of Poland signed an act which changes Polish code of commercial companies and introduces a widely anticipated and debated novelty – a simple joint-stock company (Simple JSC, in Polish – Prosta Spółka Akcyjna PSA). Ministry of Enterprise and Technology, being an author of the act, claims that such a company is a dedicated solution for startup companies and their specific issues. Can this new type of conducting business become an actual help for young entrepreneurs after its entry into force in March next year?

First look at the new act may lead to rather pessimistic conclusions when it comes to the actual simplicity of the company. The newly introduced chapter I.A has 133 articles – just slightly less than chapter regulating traditional company with limited liability. Many of those articles are, however, nothing more than repeated solutions for both types of companies – LLC and JSC already existing in Polish law. Real novelties in the Simple JSC can be summarized in a few points.

The most characteristic features of the Simple JSC is minimal share capital of just 1 PLN and possibility to contribute to company’s capital with work or service. It is an extremely controversial solution – after all, share capital is essential for functioning and the very existence of a joint-stock company. A company with low share capital may be considered untrustworthy, although there are more and more claims that share capital cannot be considered a guarantee anymore. Since 2008, Polish company with limited liability may have a share capital as small as 5000 PLN, which doesn’t offer much more financial security than 1 PLN, especially if we consider, that much of this sum will be quickly used up to launch activities of the company. On the other hand, a catchy perspective of just 1 PLN needed to start one’s own company is, in fact, a kind of marketing trick. Creation of company, its registration and preparation of its enterprise will definitely cost much more than that. Taking into account the fact that initial shareholders still need more than 1 PLN in their company, such a low minimal share capital is merely a legal curiosity, with little to none impact on real requirements.

Possibility of contribution with work or service does indeed seem to suit startup companies, by enabling people that cannot contribute financially, but have relevant skills and abilities to become shareholders. Nevertheless, it is a real revolution for a joint-stock company – this possibility opposes previous version of article 14 of Polish code of commercial companies, which explicitly forbade such contribution. A very insightful remark on this novelty has been included in opinion on the act by Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. According to the document, contribution of work or service ”is in fact a contribution of debt – it is a commitment of future action, of which financial value is difficult to determine.” As a result, the Simple JSC introduces a new type of capital, called in Polish ”kapitał akcyjny” which literally translates into share capital. In the context of the Simple JSC  it is, however, a narrower term, taking into account only contributions that would comply with previous wording of article 14 mentioned above, and have a traditional contribution capacity. Regardless of the new type of capital, it is still safer to build company’s capital on financial contributions or something from a broad catalogue of things that have a traditional contribution capacity. For example, a potential shareholder may contribute a specific know-how (widely accepted as having a contribution capacity) instead of contributing work which uses that know-how. Additionally, extremely low requirements of share capital allow shareholders to contribute even with very limited funds.

An important aspect of the Simple JSC is a simplicity of creation and termination of a company. Like a company with limited liability, the Simple JSC may be created by notarial act or by filling a contract online. Official form of online contract is not yet known, and will be established by Minister of Justice after the act comes into force. Conclusion of contract online, using a dedicated S24 platform, is not a novelty, yet it contradicts a very nature of Simple JSC due to limitation imposed by new paragraph 4 of article 3007. It is impossible to contribute online using contributions other than financial ones, so there is no use in the broad catalogue of contributions possible in the Simple JSC. As authors of the project admitted, this limitation has been imposed due to technical shortcomings of the S24 system. Every kind of contractual provision that is not available in S24 has to be established in notarial act. As a result, creation of Simple JSC is virtually identical to creation of standard company with limited liability. On the other hand, A real improvement is a possibility to contribute all declared financial contributions up to 3 years after filling a motion to register a company. The 3-year treshold can be shortened and specified by the contract of company itself, or by a resolution of general meeting of the company or management board.

Termination of Simple JSC is largely based on standard solutions found in other limited companies, but there is an important difference in the fact that the Simple JSC can be removed from the registry by transferring all assets of a company to a single shareholder, who will then have to pay off all creditors and other shareholders of the company. Such a simple termination can be trigerred by resolution of general meeting of the company by majority of ¾ votes and quorum of 50%. It is important to notice that such termination has to be then allowed by registry court, where it has to be proven that termination will not harm shareholders or creditors. The judiciary control is conducted ex lege and does not require lodging an appeal against the resolution. Such  possibility clearly shows how the Simple JSC tries to correspond with needs of startup companies. A complicated, costly and long termination of such entities would be completely unnecessary and pointless, especially if we consider their small scale and considerable risk of failure.

As mentioned above, capital of the Simple JSC is different than share capital known in other types of companies. Shares in the Simple JSC have no par value and only reflect shareholder’s rights within company. Capital of the Simple JSC is much less formalised and it is not mentioned in a contract establishing the company. As a result, there is no need to amend the contract when the capital is changed. The capital is, however, mentioned in registry, so registry court will always supervise any changes. At the same time, the contract does have to mention the amount and data of shares themselves, so annulment of shares will always lead to amendment of contract. Free withdrawals from the capital may reach up to 5% of all obligations based on last fiscal year’s financial statement. This correlation between obligations and withdrawals is a result of dynamic, unstable nature of capital of the Simple JSC and establishes a fairly balanced alternative for strict requirements of Polish law. Withdrawals that exceed 5% require a standard procedure of notifying the creditors, while withdrawals below that treshold are limited only by a very general requirement of leaving the company with ability to perform its financial obligations in the next 6 months under normal circumstances. Lawyers rightfully criticise this solution, claiming that it is too general and insufficient. The bigger the company, the bigger its obligations will be, and as a result there will be a steadily growing amount of money that can be managed without creditors’ supervision. This creates an actual risk and shows that authors of the act did not manage to balance needs of shareholders and creditors, overly emphasizing right to manage company’s money by the former. Newly introduced article 30019 provides a solution similar to supplementary capital, yet it is still less strict than in standard joint-stock companies. Taking into account such general and rather unconvincing regime, it comes as no surprise that the Simple JSC is strictly non-public and cannot sell its shares on stock market. On the one hand, the Simple JSC regime would be hand extremely dangerous for potential small shareholders, while on the other hand it could create unfair competition against joint-stock companies with their more strict requirements.

Shares in the Simple JSC have no documentary form, which means that they are dematerialized. Dematerialization is a constant goal of Polish lawmakers, and a total dematerialization of joint-stock companies’ shares is expected to follow the Simple JSC’s example soon. Lack of documentary form is not only a part of general tendency towards modernization, but also a guarantee of safe trading and financial facilitation for the company. Strict regime of dematerialization for public companies does not apply to the Simple JSC. Another very modern solution is a possibility to use blockchain technology while creating a registry of shareholders. It may seem that the Simple JSC is a kind of proving ground for modern technologies that may be introduced to other joint-stock companies and limited-joint stock partnerships in the future.

Finally, the key novelty when it comes to management of the Simple JSC is a possibility to choose between standard structure of organs, with management board and optional supervisory body, and board of directors. The new board is supposed to combine representation, as well as executive and control duties in one body, with a possibility to choose within its ranks executive directors, obliged to perform one or more duties connected with management. The rest of directors then become non-executive directors and perform control duties. In this way, both supervision and management can be performed by a single body with clear division of duties, thus lowering possible costs. Of course, in both schemes general meeting remains the main law-making body of the company. Members of all bodies mentioned in this paragraph may take part in their proceedings and voting using means of direct distance communication, such as videoconferencing.

Apart from the innovations described above, the Simple JSC is a hybrid company copying numerous solutions from both existing limited liability and joint-stock companies with minor adjustments. Most of its solutions are therefore well known to entrepreneurs dealing with standard forms of companies and to lawyers. However, the Simple JSC as a whole is a completely new regime, and – in some cases – a real revolution in business environment. Contrary to the word ”simple” used in its name, the Simple JSC  is far from being simple when it comes to its interpretation and actual usage of new provisions. Complications arising from this type of business may be disappointing for many minor entrepreneurs. Of course, the Simple JSC may over time prove to be easier and more cost-effective than its traditional counterparts, but especially at the beginning of its operations it will need a proper back office and legal assistance. It is impossible to predict how will potential investors react to this new entity, considering that the Simple JSC seems to offer relatively poor protection of their interests. Legal discussions aside, we may certainly claim that the Simple JSC will find its users and will meet expectations of at least part of minor entrepreneurs and startup companies in Poland. Nevertheless, it definitely will not replace the company with limited liability as the leading form of company on Polish market.

Author: Filip Walczak
13.10.2019

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Spain – market with huge potential

Spain is an important trade partner for Poland. In spite of the growing year by year trade between both countries, the potential for cooperation between Polish and Spanish entities still does not seem to be fully used. For years Poland has been obtaining a positive balance of trade with Spain – exporting more than importing.

To the Iberian Peninsula Polish companies mainly send machinery, mechanical and electrical equipment, vehicles and vessels, plastics, rubber products, base metals and food products (primarily dairy and meat), as well as furniture and toys. In total, the share of Spanish consumers in the export of Polish products is less than 3%. On the other hand, goods imported from Spain account for less than 2.5% of Polish imports, mainly focusing on agri-food products – predominantly fish, fish products and other seafood, as well as olives and olive oil, wine and fruits – mainly citrus fruits, products of the chemical industry, water and air transport units, as well as mechanical and electrical equipment and base metal products.

But not only in simple trade there are huge opportunities offered by the Spanish market for Polish entrepreneurs. Spain is primarily a gateway to the Latin American markets – with their natural resources and inexhaustible resources of raw materials. Every global Ibero-American company has its representative in Spain, due to its language and cultural identity, treating the Iberian Peninsula as a bridgehead for expansion in Europe.

A few decades ago, Poland was a rather exotic destination for Spanish entrepreneurs –  especially for Latin American. However, currently, there is a growing interest in economic exchange between the markets of Spanish-speaking countries with Central and Eastern Europe. Poland, as the largest state in the region – setting a natural bridge between West and East – attracts Iberian entities as well as South American countries, creating an ideal place for their possible development and entrance for the markets of Central and Eastern European countries.

However, Spain is not only a market for Polish industrial products or a supplier of excellent food products for Polish tables. The Mediterranean character of the country and the strongly developed tourism sector together with good infrastructure make the real estate market on the Iberian Peninsula a key goal for those who value reliable and proven investments. A wide range of various types of real estate in coastal regions, as well as interesting, foreign investors friendly solutions existing in Spanish law, make investing in real estate possible even for small entities who are willing to allocate their capital in a more risk-free way but with a guarantee of achieving measurable profits.

Author: Michał Zbigniew Dankowski 
04.06.2019

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What Should We Choose: Investment Credit or Public Loan

The level of indebtedness of Polish entrepreneurs is constantly growing. However, this tendency should not be considered as the problem. Most loans are taken out for investment purposes and to support the development of business. The growing investment potential of Polish entrepreneurs transfers directly into the growth of our country’s GDP.The most important investment objectives include purchase of new machines, cars and other fixed assets, modernization of the production line, as well as the purchase of premises where services or trade are carried out. The repayment of bank loans taken by Polish entrepreneurs exceeds 85%. This means that the vast majority of Polish entrepreneurs has a plan on how to pay off the costs of the incurred debt and knows how to turn over these funds so that the loan taken out in the bank repays with measurable profits for the company.Nevertheless, most customers analyze thoroughly the possibility of obtaining a loan and its profitability. The costs of the bank loans for companies – both investment and revolving ones, are noticeable especially until the investment objective starts to be returned. The smaller the total cost of the loan and its effective annual percentage rate of charge (APR), the easier it is to obtain benefits as well as to make the decision to incur liabilities.

There are several factors that make the bank loan offer profitable. Entrepreneurs more often make a detailed analysis with a help of licensed financial advisors, in which one should take into consideration such factors as: total interest rate per year (margin plus WIBOR interest rate), bank commission for granting the loan, early repayment charge, obligatory loan insurance required by the bank or the possibility of a grace period for repayment of capital. Each of the above-mentioned components is connected with a specific rate of fees imposed by the bank. Bank offers for companies are characterized by a large price range. The reason is that each bank has its “target” clients and certain expectations towards the potential borrower. This is due to the repayment of liabilities by customers. Briefly speaking – the more reliable the customer is for the bank, the better the offer can be expected. Receiving a favorable offer is influenced by positive history of repayment of previous liabilities incurred by the borrower in banks, high turnover of the company, favorable prospects for new investments, as well as income and a company’s maintenance on the market.

A generally binding margin for business clients ranges from 2 to 4% per year. In addition, there should be added the WIBOR interest rate at the currently applicable rate of 1.72% per year. Moreover, banks may add a fee for granting the loan, for its early repayment and loan insurance. Therefore, when calculating the effective annual percentage rate of a bank loan (APR) per year, an annual expenditure of 6-8% on the amount of requested loan should be expected.

When comparing bank offers to a public loan, it should be taken into consideration that public lending institutions – Funds – are not intended to make a profit but to support. The entities providing financing are supposed to support entrepreneurship with low-cost instruments which is their primary objective. Therefore, the fees charged by given Funds are highly preferential for the entrepreneur, as well as their loan is characterized by a number of benefits.

The interest rate on the public loan is about 2% per year – Funds do not charge a commission for its granting and early repayment. Moreover, there is not added the WIBOR interest rate because the loans come from the state budget. Therefore, the APR is approximately 2% per year.

In order to illustrate the true benefit for the borrower, it is necessary to base the comparison of both instruments on the sample loan amount. For example, a company applying for a PLN 100,000 net loan, with the total cost of a bank loan in the 5-year scale, assuming APR at 7% repays in total, including the capital, approximately PLN 150,000. For the comparison, the client would gives back in total PLN 110,000 to the institution which grants a public loan with APR at 2%. In the scale of the entire loan period, the entrepreneur saves PLN 40,000 from every PLN 100,000 borrowed from public institutions granting loans. Moreover, to meet the expectations of entrepreneurs, the loan granting institution allows up to 6 months grace period for repayment of capital. It means that you can get six months which is a period for adopting a new investment and getting benefits from it. Therefore, the first payment of the full installment applies to the borrower only after 6 months from the moment of obtaining the funds from the loan.

Summing up, a public loan is currently the most advantageous instrument for entrepreneurs to finance current investments. It is a beneficial alternative to the bank loan which as the  commercial offer primarily has to generate profit, as opposed to public funds which the main purpose is to support entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, both financial instruments have their group of recipients and are profitable for entrepreneurs – depending on their current capabilities and needs.

Author: Jarosław Kruszyński
14.05.2019

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Nieruchomości dla cudzoziemca – krok po kroku

Choć normy prawne potrafią zmieniać się bardzo szybko, w każdym systemie prawnym zdarzają się ustawy bądź akty, które pozostają w mocy wyjątkowo długo. W Polsce najstarszą obowiązującą jest Ustawa z dn. 24 marca 1920 o nabywaniu nieruchomości przez cudzoziemców. Oczywiście, na przestrzeni stu lat zaszło w niej wiele zasadniczych zmian, ale do dziś jest to ustawa odgrywająca ogromną rolę w polskim obrocie gospodarczym. Z punktu widzenia podmiotów zagranicznych chcących wejść na rynek polski to jeden z najważniejszych aktów, któremu warto przyjrzeć się bliżej.

Cudzoziemcy, czyli kto?

W pierwszej kolejności musimy określić, kto tak naprawdę jest cudzoziemcem w myśl ustawy. Za cudzoziemców uważamy:

  • osoby fizyczne nieposiadające obywatelstwa polskiego – obywatelami polskimi są więc oczywiście osoby posiadające obywatelstwo podwójne, w tym polskie;
  • osobę prawną z siedzibą za granicą – a więc przede wszystkim spółki z o.o. i akcyjne, jak również stowarzyszenia czy fundacje z siedzibą poza terytorium Polski;
  • spółkę wymienionych wyżej osób, nieposiadającą zdolności prawnej, mającą siedzibę za granicą i utworzoną zgodnie z ustawodawstwem państw obcych;
  • osobę prawą i spółkę handlową nieposiadającą osobowości prawnej mającą siedzibę na terytorium Polski, kontrolowaną bezpośrednio lub pośrednio przez osoby lub spółki wymienione wyżej.

Mimo że są cudzoziemcami, całkowicie zwolnieni z potrzeby uzyskania zezwolenia są obywatele i przedsiębiorcy z państw Europejskiego Obszaru Gospodarczego (tj. z Unii Europejskiej, Islandii, Liechtensteinu i Norwegii) ani Szwajcarii. Dla osób i podmiotów z tego obszaru nie istnieją żadne dodatkowe obostrzenia w zakupie nieruchomości, niezależnie od pochodzenia ich kapitału.

Pojęcie kontroli nad spółką i osobą prawną zostało ściśle doprecyzowane przez ustawodawcę, choć paradoksalnie nie ma ono wielkiego znaczenia w praktyce. Każda bowiem spółka z siedzibą w Polsce, niezależnie od sprawowanej nad nią kontroli, jest w myśl ustawy spółką z państwa EOG, która – będąc cudzoziemcem – nie potrzebuje żadnych zezwoleń na zakup nieruchomości w Polsce. Prostym sposobem na ominięcie całej procedury jest więc założenie spółki z o.o. z siedzibą w Polsce. Taka spółka może być pod całkowitą kontrolą cudzoziemców, posiadać stuprocentowy kapitał zagraniczny, a nawet być spółką-córką podmiotu spoza EOG, ale wciąż będzie ona zwolniona z obowiązku uzyskania zezwolenia.

Jeśli spełniamy kryteria cudzoziemcy, ustawa przewiduje dalsze wyjątki pozwalające nam na zakup nieruchomości bez zezwolenia w kilku konkretnych przypadkach. Wyjątki te nie działają jednak w odniesieniu do nieruchomości w strefie nadgranicznej (czyli np. w odniesieniu do całego Trójmiasta i pozostałych przyległych do wybrzeża gmin) oraz w przypadku nabycia gruntów rolnych większych niż jeden hektar. Jeśli nie zachodzą te wyłączenia, możemy bez zezwolenia kupić:

  • samodzielny lokal mieszkalny – jest to lokal, który składa się z pokoi oraz pomieszczeń pomocniczych (np. kuchnia, łazienka) i zapewnia odpowiednie warunki mieszkaniowe;
  • lokal lub udział w lokalu przeznaczonym na garaż – jeśli jako nabywca lub właściciel nieruchomości lub samodzielnego lokalu mieszkalnego chcemy mieć garaż, aby zapewnić sobie odpowiednie warunki mieszkaniowe;
  • nieruchomość – gdy mieszkamy w Polsce co najmniej 5 lat od uzyskania zezwolenia na pobyt stały lub na pobyt rezydenta długoterminowego UE;
  • nieruchomości, które wejdą w skład wspólnoty majątkowej – jeśli jesteśmy małżonkami obywatela polskiego i mieszkamy w Polsce co najmniej 2 lata od uzyskania zezwolenia na pobyt stały lub na pobyt rezydenta długoterminowego UE;
  • nieruchomość od osoby, która jest jej właścicielem lub wieczystym użytkownikiem co najmniej 5 lat, o ile jesteśmy uprawnieni na mocy polskiego prawa spadkowego do dziedziczenia po tej osobie.

Katalog przesłanek, na podstawie których dany podmiot musi bądź nie musi ubiegać się o zezwolenie, jest dość skomplikowany, ale rzetelna ocena naszej sytuacji pod jego kątem to podstawa, jeśli przygotowujemy się do zakupu nieruchomości.

Co przygotować?

Podstawą uzyskania zezwolenia jest oczywiście złożenie wniosku, kierowanego do Ministra Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji. Wnioski rozpatrywane są dość długo, nawet do 4 miesięcy, więc warto złożyć swój wniosek z odpowiednim wyprzedzeniem. Na szybszą obsługę możemy liczyć, jeśli chcemy kupić nieruchomość na terenie specjalnej strefy ekonomicznej (taką strefą jest m.in. wschodnia część województwa pomorskiego, wraz z całym Trójmiastem i Półwyspem Helskim, oraz województwo kujawsko-pomorskie) bowiem ustawowy termin na rozpatrzenie wniosków dotyczących SSE wynosi 1 miesiąc od złożenia wniosku. Podstawowe dane, jakie musimy przygotować na potrzeby wniosku, to oczywiście dane identyfikujące wnioskodawcę, precyzyjne informacje o samej nieruchomości, zależnie od jej rodzaju, oznaczenie zbywcy, rodzaj zdarzenia prawnego, mającego skutkować zbyciem (np. sprzedaż, darowizna, zamiana), cel nabycia nieruchomości, a także informacje o źródłach pochodzenia środków finansowych na zakup.

Bardzo ważne jest też udowodnienie swoich więzi z Polską. Taką więzią może być polskie pochodzenie, małżeństwo z polskim obywatelem, posiadanie zezwolenia na pobyt, a także – co chyba najważniejsze z punktu widzenia przedsiębiorcy – zasiadanie w zarządzie kontrolowanej, polskiej spółki handlowej lub prowadzenie działalności gospodarczej w Polsce. Katalog możliwych przykładów więzi nie jest w ustawie zamknięty i można próbować wykazać swoje więzi z Rzeczpospolitą w inny sposób. Należy jednak zwrócić uwagę, że ustawa wspomina o wykonywaniu działalności gospodarczej, a nie o zamiarze jej wykonywania. Warto więc mieć możliwość wykazania, że działalność taka jest już w Polsce prowadzona, a zakup nieruchomości będzie kolejnym, naturalnym krokiem w rozwoju przedsiębiorcy na rynku polskim. Do wniosku powinniśmy w takim wypadku załączyć dokumenty potwierdzające działalność, np. odpisy uzyskanych już koncesji i zezwoleń.

Wskazując na więzi wynikające z działalności gospodarczej, musimy wykazać, że dana nieruchomość wiąże się z rzeczywistymi potrzebami wynikającymi z działalności, czyli po prostu nadaje się do realizacji celów naszej firmy. Mało prawdopodobne jest uzyskanie zezwolenia na zakup lokalu mieszkalnego przez firmę, o ile nie zajmuje się ona np. działalnością turystyczną.

Kluczowe są też załączniki, które dokładnie wymienia Rozporządzenie Ministra Spraw Wewnętrznych z dn. 20 czerwca 2012. Lista załączników zależy od wielu czynników, ale najogólniej mówiąc, dokumenty te odnoszą się do:

  • samego wnioskującego – w przypadku osoby fizycznej konieczna będzie poświadczona kopia dowodu tożsamości, zaś w przypadku osób prawnych – odpisy z odpowiedniego, krajowego lub zagranicznego rejestru;
  • dokumenty dotyczące nieruchomości – odpis z księgi wieczystej, wypis z rejestru gruntów, wyrys z mapy ewidencyjnej, czy wypis z miejscowego planu zagospodarowania przestrzennego – zależnie od sytuacji prawnej samej nieruchomości, wydane nie wcześniej niż na 6 miesięcy przed złożeniem wniosku;
  • dokumentacja potwierdzająca źródło pochodzenia środków finansowych na zakup nieruchomości oraz możliwość finansowania działalności, wystawione nie wcześniej niż 3 miesiące przed złożeniem wniosku, takie jak zaświadczenia z banku, ZUS i odpowiedniego urzędu skarbowego;
  • dokumenty potwierdzające więzi z RP (np. odpis aktu małżeństwa, kopia zezwolenia na pobyt, czy wreszcie dokumenty związane z prowadzoną w Polsce działalnością gospodarczą);
  • dowód uiszczenia opłaty skarbowej.

Przez dokumenty poświadczone rozumiemy kopie poświadczone za zgodność z oryginałem przez notariusza albo pełnomocnika wnioskodawcy, będącego adwokatem, radcą prawnym, rzecznikiem patentowym lub doradcą podatkowym. Dokumenty w języku obcym muszą być złożone wraz z tłumaczeniem na j. polski, dokonanym przez tłumacza przysięgłego. Opłata skarbowa wynosi 1570 złotych i wnosimy ją na rzecz Urzędu Miasta Stołecznego Warszawy. Wysokie koszty wynikają po części z zaangażowania w sprawę wielu instytucji – Minister Spraw Wewnętrznych musi wystąpić o opinię w przedmiocie wniosku do Ministra Obrony Narodowej, a w przypadku nabycia nieruchomości rolnej – także do Ministra Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi.

Nie zapominajmy, że w razie zakupu nieruchomości rolnej najczęściej będziemy musieli też spełniać wymogi określone w Ustawie o kształtowaniu ustroju rolnego, zgodnie z którą, o ile nie jesteśmy rolnikiem indywidualnym, będziemy musieli w odrębnym postępowaniu wnosić o zgodę Krajowego Ośrodka Wsparcia Rolnictwa na zakup gruntu.

Promesa

Ciekawą możliwością jest procedura uzyskania promesy, przewidziana w art. 3d Ustawy. Wniosek o wydanie promesy wiąże się z kosztem jedynie 98 złotych, a jeśli zostanie uwzględniony, będziemy mieli rok na złożenie właściwego wniosku o zezwolenie, mając pewność, że zostanie on rozpatrzony pozytywnie, chyba że zmieni się stan faktyczny istotny dla rozstrzygnięcia sprawy (np. cudzoziemiec zakończy działalność w Polsce bądź jego kondycja finansowa pogorszy się w sposób wskazujący, że nie będzie w stanie finansować planowanej działalności). Podanie o promesę nie zastępuje wniosku o zezwolenie – wciąż będziemy musieli złożyć standardowy wniosek o wydanie zezwolenia, a z drugiej strony już we wniosku dotyczącym promesy będziemy musieli zawrzeć wszelkie informacje i załączyć wszystkie dokumenty przewidziane dla właściwego wniosku o zezwolenie.

Wniosek o promesę podlega takiemu samemu opiniowaniu jak „domyślny” wniosek, więc nie można liczyć na jego wyjątkowo sprawne rozpatrzenie. Sens wnioskowania o promesę jest więc dyskusyjny, zwłaszcza w specjalnej strefie ekonomicznej, gdzie do obu wniosków odnosi się miesięczny termin.

Odmowa?

W czasie procedowania wniosku, minister może zażądać dodatkowych informacji od cudzoziemcy, celem sprawdzenia czy rozstrzygnięcie w sprawie nie wpływa na bezpieczeństwo państwa i czy jest zgodne z interesem RP. Jeżeli ostatecznie wniosek zostanie uznany za spełniający warunki ustawowe oraz zostanie pozytywnie zaopiniowany przez właściwe ministerstwa, przyznane zostanie zezwolenie ważne przez okres dwóch lat.

Jeśli decyzja będzie negatywna, istnieje możliwość złożenia wniosku o ponowne rozpatrzenie sprawy w ciągu 14 dni od otrzymania decyzji. Wniosek ten wymaga jedynie określenia, w których aspektach nie zgadzamy się ze sprawą. Możliwe jest też złożenie skargi na decyzję bezpośrednio do sądu. Na szczęście nie obowiązuje już artykuł 4 oryginalnego brzmienia ustawy, zgodnie z którym decyzja „nie wymaga uzasadnienia i nie ulega żadnemu zaskarżeniu”.

Zaufajmy ekspertom

Procedura zmierzająca do uzyskania zezwolenia na zakup nieruchomości jest niestety kosztowna i stosunkowo skomplikowana. Oprócz samej opłaty za wniosek trzeba też brać pod uwagę koszty tłumaczenia zagranicznych dokumentów, opłat za uzyskanie dokumentów dotyczących nieruchomości czy koszty poświadczeń kopii dokumentów. Co prawda istnieje bardzo łatwy sposób na ominięcie całej procedury przez założenie spółki w Polsce, aczkolwiek nie jest to rozwiązanie uniwersalne. Jeśli nie uda się wykorzystać żadnego z licznych zwolnień i wyłączeń przewidzianych w ustawie, warto powierzyć sprawę profesjonalistom, którzy doprowadzą sprawę do szczęśliwego zakończenia w sposób sprawny i kompleksowy.

Autor tekstu: Filip Walczak
04.12.2020 r.

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Epidemia długów – jak się przed nią ochronić?

Groźnie brzmiące pojęcie windykacji spędza sen z powiek wielu przedsiębiorców, zwłaszcza w dobie recesji gospodarczej. Windykacja bynajmniej nie jest jednak wyrokiem, a znając swoje prawa, możemy skutecznie obronić się przed działaniem firm windykacyjnych, zachować kontrolę nad swoimi finansami i korzystnie zlikwidować swoje długi.

Windykator czy komornik?

Wiele osób myli te dwie profesje, bojąc się, że za pismem z firmy windykacyjnej mogą pójść dalsze kroki – zajęcie środków na koncie bankowym czy wtargnięcie windykatora do siedziby firmy. Nic bardziej mylnego. Uprawnienia, które wielu mylnie przypisuje windykatorom, to elementy egzekucji komorniczej, którą może stosować wyłącznie komornik sądowy, a i to tylko w ścisłych granicach prawa. Komornik sądowy nigdy nie działa pod szyldem firmy windykacyjnej, bowiem są to urzędnicy działający przy właściwych sądach. Jakie w takim razie uprawnienia przysługują firmie windykacyjnej?

Praktycznie żadne. Windykator nie jest żadnym szczególnym podmiotem prawa i może podejmować wobec dłużnika tylko takie czynności, jakie może podjąć dowolny wierzyciel. Nie może więc dokonać on zaboru naszego majątku, wtargnąć na teren naszej nieruchomości czy domagać się informacji o sytuacji finansowej dłużnika. Wszystkie tego typu działania, jeśli nie są dokonywane przez komornika na podstawie tytułu wykonawczego w zgodzie z normami postępowania cywilnego, mogą stanowić przestępstwo i należy zgłosić je Policji. Jakich nadużyć najczęściej mogą dopuszczać się windykatorzy?

  • wtargnięcie do mieszkania dłużnika bez jego wyraźnej zgody – takie zachowanie stanowi przestępstwo z art. 193 kodeksu karnego, czyli zakłócanie miru domowego;
  • straszenie dłużnika sądem karnym bądź komornikiem – jest to działanie tyleż absurdalne (wierzytelności najczęściej nie dochodzimy przed sądem karnym, a przed sądami cywilnymi i gospodarczymi) co bezprawne – jest to przestępstwo określone w art. 191 §2 kodeksu karnego, czyli stosowanie przemocy lub groźby bezprawnej w celu wymuszenia zwrotu wierzytelności;
  • na podstawie tego samego przepisu windykator nie może w żadnym wypadku stosować wobec nas przemocy fizycznej. Oprócz powyższego przepisu, stanowi to także naruszenie art. 217 §1 kodeksu karnego, dotyczącego naruszenia nietykalności cielesnej. Co więcej, w grę mogą wejść także inne przestępstwa przeciwko zdrowiu, takie jak spowodowanie lekkiego lub średniego uszczerbku na zdrowiu (art. 157 k.k.);
  • naruszenie nietykalności cielesnej mogą stanowić także próby dokonania eksmisji, do której windykator nie ma prawa;całkowicie nierealne są groźby zajęcia środków na koncie bankowym, emerytury lub wynagrodzenia za pracę – jeśli za pomocą takich gróźb próbuje się od nas wymusić zapłatę, może to stanowić oszustwo (art. 286 §1 k.k.)
  • windykator nie może domagać się wydania rzeczy stanowiących własność dłużnika, ani jego pieniędzy – takie działanie może stanowić usiłowanie kradzieży (278 k.k.) albo wymuszenia rozbójniczego (art. 282 k.k.);
  • nie można również informować o zadłużeniu dłużnika jego pracodawcy czy rodziny – to z kolei może grozić oskarżeniem o uporczywe nękanie (art. 190a k.k.) albo zniesławienie (art. 212 k.k.).

Wszystkie określone powyżej czyny mogą stanowić też podstawy dochodzenia odszkodowania bądź zadośćuczynienia od firmy windykacyjnej, jeśli jej działania wywołują szkody (np. uszkodzenie służbowego auta przy próbie jego zaboru) czy niematerialne krzywdy (np. stres dłużnika i jego domowników wywołany nękaniem przez windykatora). W kontakcie z windykatorem warto znać powyższe podstawy prawne, a jeśli windykator okaże się natarczywy i mimo ostrzeżeń będzie podejmował próby bezprawnych działań, to koniecznym może okazać się wezwanie na miejsce bezprawnej windykacji Policji. Jeśli windykator dopuścił się wymienionych wyżej działań, w pełni uzasadnione będzie zawiadomienie Policji bądź prokuratury o przestępstwie. Najpewniejszy sposób to złożenie zawiadomienia w formie ustnej na najbliższym komisariacie. W przypadku niektórych przestępstw konieczny będzie wniosek poszkodowanego, tzw. wniosek o ściganie. O konieczności złożenia takiego wniosku powinien poinformować policjant przyjmujący zawiadomienie.

Wróćmy jednak do samej windykacji. Skoro windykator nie ma praktycznie żadnych praw, to na czym mogą polegać legalne działania windykatorów? Przede wszystkim na rozmowie. Firmy te mają pełne prawo kontaktować się z dłużnikiem i negocjować warunki spłaty jego zadłużenia czy proponować rozłożenie długu na raty. Tutaj jednak również mogą przekroczyć granicę, za którą zaczyna się stalking – czyli przestępstwo uporczywego nękania, o którym wspomnieliśmy wyżej. Przy okazji takich rozmów może dojść też do próby wyłudzenia naszych danych. Zasadniczo jednak negocjacje mogą być wartościowym i korzystnym także dla dłużnika sposobem załatwienia sprawy, pozwalającym na znaczne obniżenie należności i uwolnienie się od problemu niskim kosztem. Aby zapewnić sobie odpowiednią pozycję przy negocjacjach, warto wiedzieć, czy nasz dług nie jest przedawniony.

As w rękawie – przedawnienie

Wiele z należności dochodzonych przez firmy windykacyjne to należności, które nigdy nie zostały usankcjonowane przez sąd, albo zostały stwierdzone wyrokiem, ale komornikowi nie udało się przeprowadzić egzekucji. Często takie należności są już przedawnione i windykatorzy dochodzą ich, głównie licząc na niezorientowanie dłużników w terminach przedawnienia. Przypomnijmy więc najważniejsze zasady w tym zakresie.

W 2018 przeszliśmy zasadniczą nowelizację w zakresie terminów przedawnień. Obecnie maksymalny termin przedawnienia to 6 lat i obowiązuje on w odniesieniu do zdecydowanej większości roszczeń, w tym roszczeń stwierdzonych prawomocnym orzeczeniem sądu lub innego organu powołanego do rozpoznawania spraw danego rodzaju albo orzeczeniem sądu polubownego, jak również roszczeń stwierdzonych ugodą zawartą przed sądem albo sądem polubownym albo ugodą zawartą przed mediatorem i zatwierdzoną przez sąd. Niezmiennie zaś termin przedawnienia roszczeń o świadczenia okresowe (np. raty kredytu) i związane z prowadzeniem działalności gospodarczej, wynosi jedynie 3 lata. Co więcej, obecnie do przedawnienia nie dochodzi dokładnie w 6. rocznicę powstania zobowiązania, ale dopiero 31 grudnia w roku, w którym mija 6 lat od powstania zobowiązania.

Termin przedawnienia roszczeń o terminie 10-letnim istniejących przed 9 lipca 2018 r., które nie zdążyły się do tego dnia przedawnić, obliczamy w ten sposób, że porównujemy termin przedawnienia zgodny z nowymi przepisami, a liczony od 9 lipca 2018 r. – czyli 31 grudnia 2024 – z dniem, w którym doszłoby do przedawnienia zgodnie ze starymi przepisami, tj. dokładnie po 10 latach od powstania zobowiązania. Obowiązuje nas termin krótszy z tych dwóch. Pamiętajmy jednak, że kodeks cywilny przewiduje możliwości zawieszenia lub przerwania biegu przedawnienia, które mogą całkowicie zmienić naszą sytuację. Szczególnie ważne są przypadki przerwania biegu – dochodzi do niego przez każdą czynność przed sądem lub innym organem powołanym do rozpoznawania spraw lub egzekwowania roszczeń danego rodzaju albo przed sądem polubownym, przedsięwziętą bezpośrednio w celu dochodzenia lub ustalenia albo zaspokojenia lub zabezpieczenia roszczenia, przez uznanie roszczenia przez osobę, wobec której roszczenie przysługuje, a także przez wszczęcie mediacji. Negocjacje prowadzone z windykatorem nie są bynajmniej mediacją, ale podczas takich negocjacji łatwo jest niechcący uznać roszczenie, które było bardzo blisko przedawnienia i przerwać jego bieg. W takim wypadku termin będzie biegł od zera.

Co więc daje nam przedawnienie? Przede wszystkim świadomość, że wierzyciel nie będzie mógł skutecznie dochodzić należności przed organami państwowymi. Jeśli dane roszczenie nie było jeszcze przedmiotem sprawy sądowej, możemy być pewni, że przedawnione roszczenie upadnie przed sądem, o ile podniesiemy odpowiedni zarzut przedawnienia. Z kolei, jeśli zobowiązanie przedawniło się po nadaniu tytułu wykonawczego i nieudanej egzekucji, komornik nie będzie już miał podstaw do dalszych prób podjęcia egzekucji. To mocne argumenty, które mogą skłonić windykatora do radykalnej obniżki żądanej należności, a nam ułatwić spłatę. Pamiętajmy jednak, że nawet nasze przedawnione długi mogą wciąż figurować w rejestrach, takich jak Krajowy Rejestr Długów czy BIG InfoMonitor. To z kolei kluczowy argument w rękach windykatora, gdyż negatywne wpisy w takich rejestrach mogą skutkować problemami w uzyskaniu leasingu, kredytów, czy z zakupami na raty. Takie wpisy na nasz temat to poważny argument za podjęciem rozmów z windykatorem, nawet jeśli wiemy, że roszczenia są zdecydowanie przedawnione. Nie istnieją podstawy prawne, pozwalające na żądanie wykreślenia z takich rejestrów przedawnionych długów – wszystko w tym zakresie leży po stronie wierzyciela.

Dlaczego warto sprawdzać pocztę?

Jeśli rozmowy z windykatorem zakończą się fiaskiem, możemy spodziewać się, że wkroczy on na drogę sądową. Wielu przedsiębiorców do dziś kieruje się dawnym przeświadczeniem, będącym dziś już chyba swoistą miejską legendą, że do ucieczki od wymiaru sprawiedliwości wystarczy nie odbierać pism z sądu, aż sędziowie w końcu stwierdzą, że rozpłynęliśmy się w powietrzu. Niestety, to duży błąd, także w przypadku walki z windykatorem. Często stosowaną przez nich procedurą jest bowiem pozew z wnioskiem o wydanie nakazu zapłaty. Dla wierzyciela to bajecznie prosta droga dochodzenia należności, bowiem wystarczą mu podstawowe dokumenty, takie jak zaakceptowana przez dłużnika faktura albo egzemplarz umowy, aby szybko i sprawnie uzyskać nakaz zapłaty. O postępowaniu nakazowym dłużnik w ogóle nie jest informowany, dopóki nie trafi do niego sam nakaz. Na szczęście, równie łatwo jak można uzyskać nakaz zapłaty, można go unieszkodliwić sprzeciwem od nakazu. Sprzeciw musimy wnieść w ciągu 14 dni licząc od dnia odebrania nakazu, nie jest więc tak, że chowanie się przed listonoszem pomoże nam w obronie swoich praw. Przeciwnie, do obrony swoich praw musimy wnieść sprzeciw od nakazu zapłaty, który będzie skutkował skierowaniem całej sprawy na rozprawę. Tam będziemy mieli okazję bronić się przed zapłatą. Jest to istotne, ponieważ nakazy zapłaty wydawane są niejako z automatu – często więc nakazy zapłaty obejmują nawet należności już zapłacone. Takie roszczenia można bardzo łatwo odepchnąć od siebie przed sądem, najlepiej z pomocą zawodowego pełnomocnika, ale najpierw należy przyjąć nakaz zapłaty, wnieść sprzeciw i dać samemu sobie szansę na obronę.

Jest o co walczyć

Po takim przedstawieniu sprawy jasno widać, że windykacja nie jest tak groźna i skuteczna, jak mogłoby się wydawać. Uprawnienia windykatorów są bardzo wąskie, i choć warto z nimi rozmawiać, to w negocjacjach nie wolno zapominać, że nie mają nad nami żadnej szczególnej mocy. Windykatorzy często liczą na zdezorientowanie i brak wiedzy prawnej dłużników, więc najlepszym sposobem na wygraną z nimi jest wiedza o własnych długach oraz świadomość swoich praw i obowiązków.

Autor tekstu: Filip Walczak
12.11.2020 r.