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POLAND: Special Economic Zones Important Instrument to Stimulate Foreign Investment in Poland

Poland regards special economic zones as an important instrument to stimulate foreign investment in Poland. There are new investment opportunities in Polish real estate 12 years after Poland's accession to the EU.

Poland can be considered an alternative for corporate immigration as compared with other economies of East-Central Europe. Two factors provide the basis for the increased activity of foreign capital in Poland: the development of special economic zones and the lifting of limitations on purchasing real estate by foreigners in Poland.

As with other countries (e.g., China), Poland regards special economic zones as an important instrument for attracting foreign investors. Special economic zones are designated industrial areas prepared for investment for foreign entities. In return for allocating production and operation of the company in Poland, the investor receives a special, beneficial legal status with respect to tax obligations. The primary benefit of investing in the special economic zones is property tax exemption and, above all, income tax exemption, the scale of which depends on the volume of investment. Investments in the special economic zones in Poland require a permit issued in administrative proceedings. According to the latest data, there are more than 7 thousand hectares of land waiting in Poland for foreign capital in the special economic zones.

In the near future, new rules will come into force on state aid granted to entrepreneurs operating under permits to conduct business activity in the special economic zones. The rules will facilitate provisions regulating the proportion of public funds in the investments and the method of accounting for the investments.

The attractiveness of the local market for corporate immigration depends to a large extent on the legal status of the commercial real estate market. In this respect, the current status of the Polish real estate sector has been presented in the annual report of the Polish government devoted to the acquisition of real estate by foreigners (individuals and corporate entities). The report for 2014 highlights the activity of German, Dutch, and Ukrainian capital in Poland. The reports, prepared annually by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration, extensively and accurately presents international trading in Polish real estate.

According to the report, in 2013, foreigners were granted a total of 252 permits for the acquisition of land property with a total area of 697.15 hectares. The vast majority of applications had been approved. In Poland, the acquisition of real estate by foreigners requires, in principle, a permit from the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration. The source of legal restrictions is the Act on the acquisition of real estate by foreigners as of March 24, 1920. The relevant permit is also necessary for the purchase or acquisition by foreigners of shares in companies that are owners or perpetual users of real estate. By May 1, 2016, the permit also will be required for the purchase of forest and agricultural real estate by EU/EEA entities. Such status follows from the transitional provisions of the Polish accession to the EU.

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