Special Economic Zones are separate areas within the territory of Poland, where Polish and foreign entrepreneurs can conduct business on special, more preferential conditions than within the other parts of the country. A characteristic feature of SEZs is their territoriality, i.e. the availability of investment incentives is restricted to specific areas of the country. Significantly, however, entrepreneurs may apply for the so-called 'expansion of the SEZ', which may allow a zone to be established e.g. on the territory of an already operating enterprise. There are currently 14 zones in Poland:
Kamienna Góra Special Economic Zone of Small Enterprise
Katowice Special Economic Zone
Kostrzyn and Słubice Special Economic Zone
Krakow Technology Park
Legnica Special Economic Zone
Łódź Special Economic Zone
Pomeranian Special Economic Zone
Słupsk Special Economic Zone
"Starachowice” Special Economic Zone
Suwałki Special Economic Zone
Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone INVEST-PARK
Warmia and Masuria Special Economic Zone
SEZ Euro-Park Mielec
SEZ Euro-Park Wisłosan
Features of SEZ
A separate area,
Under the management of a single entity,
Offering benefits to companies,
Investment incentives to be granted depending on the location of the investment within the zone.
Entrepreneurs who wish to benefit from SEZ facilities must obtain a support decision (under the Law on supporting new investments).
A support decision is an administrative decision that makes it possible for an entrepreneur to benefit from an income tax exemption up to a maximum amount specified in the decision. The decision is issued at the request of the entrepreneur, by the minister responsible for the economy. It is issued for a fixed period of time, for 10, 12 or 15 years. The period for which the decision is issued depends on the intensity of public aid established for the area in question.
The decision defines the conditions to be met by an investor conducting business activity in the zone. These include the conditions for an entrepreneur to make an investment within the zone with a value exceeding a defined amount, specifying the subject of the activity, its duration and the deadline for investment completion, as well as the conditions regarding employment a specified number of employees and keeping the workplaces for a defined period of time.
The application for a decision on support itself is submitted to the relevant Administrator of the area in question prior to the commencement of the new investment. The application shall contain, respectively:
The information form to be submitted when applying for support,
Financial statements for the last 3 financial years/ PIT statements/ financial statements and statement of the parent company as to the last tax year,
A business plan for the new investment,
Statements - a list of these shall be provided by the Administrator.
Not every type of activity can be carried out within a given zone, the restrictions resulting from the provisions of the zone regulations and the regulations of the Council of Ministers. An entrepreneur starting its business activity within a special economic zone on the basis of a permit is entitled to benefit from regional aid in the form of tax exemption for two reasons: capital expenditure incurred or creation of new workplaces. An entrepreneur is entitled to benefit from tax exemptions provided it undertakes:
To meet quantitative criteria (commitment to incur eligible costs of a new investment by the entrepreneur in a given amount, which depends on the unemployment rate in a given district),
To meet qualitative criteria (it concerns the service and industrial sectors),
To keep the ownership of assets the investment expenditures are related to, for a period of no less than 5 years from the date of their entry into the register of fixed assets and intangible and legal assets (3 years in other cases, i.e. micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs),
To conduct business activity (keep the investment) for a period of no less than 5 years from the date of the new investment completion in case of large entrepreneurs (3 years in other cases, as above),
To employ a specific number of people and keep the declared workplaces for a period of no less than 5 years in case of large entrepreneurs (3 years in other cases, as above) - in case of using aid due to creation of new workplaces,
The condition for granting aid for a new investment is the share of the entrepreneur's own funds in the amount of min. 25% of the total eligible costs of the new investment. The costs include e.g. fixed assets, expenditure for the purchase of land, expenditure for construction and infrastructure, as well as the rental/lease of plots and buildings, provided that the period is not shorter than 5 years (3 years in other cases, as above).
As a rule, the higher the unemployment in the district where the investment will be made, the lower the criteria.
If the decision is revoked, the entrepreneur is obliged to return the public aid funds.
Detailed map of aid for Mazovia:
As in case of the previous regional aid map, enterprises from the SME sector receive an allowance related to aid intensity also in the new support map. The maximum regional aid intensity is increased by 10 percentage points for medium-sized enterprises (employing between 50 and 250 people and with an annual turnover of no more than €50 million). In turn, the aid limit for micro or small companies increases by 20 percentage points (employing fewer than 50 people and with an annual turnover of no more than EUR 10 million). Large companies - employing more than 250 people and with an annual turnover of more than €50 million or an annual balance sheet total of more than €43 million - can apply for support under the rules of the new map (described above), but cannot receive bonuses.
Possibility to benefit from income tax relief - the exemption limit is calculated as a % of the investment expenditures incurred or 2-year cost of employing new employees, and the size of the relief depends on the location of the investment, the size of the entrepreneur and investment expenditures incurred. In practice, however, in order to take advantage of the income tax relief, it is not enough just to implement an investment project, but it is also necessary for the zone unit to generate tax income in an appropriate amount. It is therefore an instrument particularly sensitive to economic fluctuations and decreases in project profitability, which means it serves as a real investment incentive only in a specific market situation.
The possibility to start a business within a specially prepared, developed investment area, offered at competitive prices,
Some SEZs also offer property tax exemption (total or partial) - this is usually offered to new investors and covers a predetermined period of time,
The possibility of benefiting from funds and subsidies earmarked for investments, creation of new workplaces, research and development activities, activities related to environmental protection, training, logistics, renewable energy sources,
Facilitating the acquisition of subsidies from District Labour Offices or EU funds,
Possibility to rent /purchase real estates within SEZ,
Easy availability of qualified employees,
Opportunity to invest in areas with high registered unemployment,
Support from SEZ management companies - know-how and free assistance in e.g. organisational or administrative issues, mediation in talks with local authorities, negotiations with suppliers etc.
Proximity to other companies, providing the opportunity to establish business contacts.
Within the framework of one investment project, an entrepreneur may benefit from other sources of aid, not only from tax exemption, but also e.g. from EU grants, subsidies or property tax exemption. Amounts of public aid received from several sources are subject to aggregation and may not exceed the maximum intensity depending on the region and size of the enterprise.
Disadvantages of SEZ
Fulfilment of the conditions referred to in the decision on support is tantamount to assumption of the risks inherent in long-term commitments,
In case of a market downturn in the area of the enterprise operations, the fulfilment of obligations related to the activity within the zone may affect the liquidity of the investor's business,
Reporting obligations towards the zone - additional inspections that do not apply if the business activity is conducted outside the zone (e.g. concerning capital expenditures or created jobs),
Obligation to pay administrative fees throughout the period of operation within the zone ,
Procedure for the acquisition of land located within the zone - public land is acquired through a public tender procedure, therefore the period between the decision to locate an investment and the transfer of rights to the property to the investor is prolonged.
The SEZs will operate under the current regulations until the end of December 2026. Ultimately, they are to be replaced by the Polish Investment Zone, which is an extension of the SEZs - the main difference is the possibility of taking advantage of relief when conducting business activity also outside a strictly defined area of the zone.
An entrepreneur starting its business activity within a special economic zone on the basis of a permit is entitled to benefit from regional aid in the form of tax exemption for two reasons: capital expenditure incurred or creation of new workplaces - the same in each zone.
Katowice Special Economic Zone
Tax exemption calculated ON THE BASIS OF INVESTMENT COSTS:
For large enterprises, the total amount of the tax relief can be 30% (40% in the Opole Voivodeship) of the investment costs incurred.
For medium-sized and small enterprises the tax relief amounts to 10 and 20 percentage points more, respectively.
Tax exemption calculated ON THE BASIS OF GENERATING NEW WORKPLACES:
The total amount of tax relief may amount to 30% (40% in the Opole Voivodeship) of the two-year employment costs related to the newly created jobs
For medium-sized and small enterprises the tax relief is 10 and 20 percentage points more, respectively, and moreover:
- 900 ha of free investment land
- Plots ranging from 0.5 ha to 100 ha
- Possibility to adapt the size of the plot to the investor’s needs
- Land connected to main transport routes in Poland and Europe
- Possibility of renting ready-made production and storage halls
- KSSENON Business incubator
Mazovian (several SEZs overlapping)
The amount of exemption depends on the specific district in which the investment is to be made.
Mazovian (several SEZs overlapping)
0% tax exemption.
Tarnobrzeska SSE – Euro-Park Wisłosan
Maximum amount of aid: between 20 and 50% of investment outlays or between 20 and 50% of the two-year labour costs of newly employed employees (in the case of a small/micro entrepreneur, the rate is increased by 20%, and in the case of a medium-sized entrepreneur, the rate is increased by 10%). Moreover:
New territorial areas, where public aid is highest up to 70% (i.e. e.g. 50% tax exemption + bonus for micro/small 20%),
Diversified territorial, price and logistical investment offer,
Extensive offer of new "greenfield" sites, production and warehouse halls and administrative and office space,
Functional, turnkey new production and warehouse facilities,
Highly-regarded staff in every sector and specialisation,
Fast, cheap and direct transport of goods to the East - LHS railway line,
Various forms of cooperation with existing entrepreneurs,
Well-prepared and simplified procedures for locating new investments,
Friendly local governments supporting local entrepreneurship,
Professionalism, experience and assistance of the zone's staff at every stage of investment.
By investing in the Łódź SEZ, an entrepreneur can receive income tax exemptions of up to 60% of eligible investment costs. Moreover:
For more than 4 years, the Łódź Special Economic Zone has been building a nationwide innovation centre and creating a local ecosystem to support start-ups. As a result, every existing and new investor in the ŁSEZ has direct access to cutting-edge technologies,
The ŁSEZ provides support in the form of CIT or PIT tax exemptions for individuals running a business.
The advantage of the Zone over other forms of state aid for the investor is the wide range of supported activities. Companies from the manufacturing sector, modern business services (BPO / SSC / IT) and those conducting R&D activities can benefit from support in the Zone,
The RozwoYou Zone supports employees of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed people from the Łódź Voivodship.
Leading sectors: household appliances, food, plastics processing, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, IT/BPO
The best economic zone for SMEs globally
Cooperation of the ŁSEZ with vocational schools and promotion of dual training
Central location of the region (junction of A1 and A2 motorways, S8 expressway),
Strong industrial traditions.
Warmia and Masuria SEZ
Public aid - the highest in the country - to be granted to entrepreneurs. The amount of unpaid tax can be as high as 70% of eligible expenditure.
The maximum intensity (amount) of public aid in the area managed by the Warmia and Masuria Special Economic Zone S.A. is:
50% of eligible expenditure for Warmia and Masuria Voivodeship
40% of eligible expenditure for Mazovian Voivodeship, with the exception of Nowy Dwór District where the aid amounts to 25% of regional investment aid for Leoncin, Nasielsk, Zakroczym municipalities
Regional aid is not available for the following municipalities: Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki, Czosnow, Pomiechówek. For medium-sized entrepreneurs, the regulations increase the maximum amount of aid by 10%, and for small and micro by 20%.
"Starachowice” Special Economic Zone
The maximum amount of regional aid that an entrepreneur can receive for an investment project is 35% or 50% of the investment outlays incurred in the implemented project (the so-called aid intensity) or 35% or 50% of the two-year labour costs of newly employed workers.
In case of a small enterprise, the above rate is increased by 20% and in case of a medium-sized enterprise by 10%. In total, this makes it possible to obtain regional aid of up to 70% for a small enterprise and 60% for a medium-sized enterprise.
The zone areas have good technical infrastructure. The following utilities are available: electricity, gas, thermal energy, water for industrial and social purposes, a sewage disposal network, a fixed telecommunications network, a well-developed system of internal roads allowing access to facilities located within the zone. The areas offered to investors include both areas developed with industrial facilities - production halls, warehouse buildings, office buildings - as well as areas equipped with technical infrastructure, but without buildings. Moreover:
Customs offices in the area of Starachowice and Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski,
Railway stations with long-distance connections and cargo reloading points,
Well-developed banking system,
Modern digital exchanges, mobile telephony, own INTERNET network node.
An entrepreneur implementing a new investment project in an area managed by the Suwałki Special Economic Zone S.A. may obtain public aid in the form of income tax exemptions of up to 70% of the value of the invested capital.
Excellent location - due to, inter alia, developing transport infrastructure and proximity to Russia, Lithuania and Belarus - this area is increasingly popular with investors,
The leading industries in the Suwałki Special Economic Zone are: wood, metal, plastics and furniture. Their representatives are valued producers on world markets,
The region located within the Zone, is characterised by an unpolluted natural environment, which influences the development of food industry in the Zone, while the picturesque nature of the land of lakes favours the boatbuilding industry,
The Zone offers a wide selection of investment plots of various sizes and provides public aid counselling,
Proposed investment areas, located in modern industrial districts of towns and municipalities of north-eastern Poland, with necessary technical infrastructure to a large extent,
Many transit roads, the most important of which are the following: Berlin-Warsaw-Grodno-Sankt Petersburg, then Warsaw-Tallinn, running from Poland through Lithuania and Latvia to Estonia (the planned part of the European expressway — Via Baltica, connecting the Baltic countries with western Europe) and the planned part of the European international route Via Carpatia “north-south", connecting Klaipeda in Lithuania with Thessaloniki in Greece, being thus a transport route along the EU's eastern border from Central Europe to Asia, crossing the corridors leading from Western Europe to Russia and connecting via the Black Sea ports to the TRACECA route (Europe - Caucasus - Asia).