Poland 11 min

How to set up as an independent contractor in Poland

Written by Pedro Barros
Pedro Barros

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If you've finally had enough of the 9-to-5 grind, then Poland is a great place to hit the reset button and go it alone.

With a flexible tax regime, a one-stop-shop approach to small business, and the benefit of EU membership, this storied country offers a lot for independent contractors. Whether you’re looking to set up shop in the capital Warsaw, the historic old town of Krakow, or the stunning wilderness of the Tatra mountains, it’s an ideal place to merge work and lifestyle.

Before you can fully embark on your self-employment journey, though, you’ll need to know how to:

  • Register your business in Poland

  • Avoid misclassification as an employee

  • Create compliant contracts that protect you

  • Invoice and collect payments from around the world

In this article, we’ll cover all these things, and help you navigate your tax responsibilities as a self-employed worker. We’ll also discuss some of the other risks and liabilities you should be aware of. So let’s begin.

First, it’s important to clarify how Poland defines independent contractors.

What is an independent contractor according to Polish law?

Independent contractors are workers who provide paid services (or products) to another party. However, they are classified differently to employees, and are usually not entitled to the same benefits, such as paid leave, sick days, and minimum wage. On the flip side, contractors have more freedom and flexibility in the way they work.

See also: Why businesses hire contractors vs. international employees

In Poland, there is no specific law or article dedicated to independent contractors. However, based on Polish legal definitions of employment relationships, you can generally consider yourself a contractor if you:

  • Determine your own work schedule and working hours

  • Perform work (or are able to) for other companies

  • Set your own rates and scope of work

  • Provide your own tools or equipment

  • Are not integrated into one single company and its operations (i.e. you don’t have an internal email address)

  • Are able to delegate or subcontract work

  • Work without direction or supervision

When you work with clients, it’s important to be correctly classified to avoid penalties and fines, and to ensure that you are paying the right taxes.

Business registration in Poland

Before you can begin working as an independent contractor in Poland, you’ll first need to choose a formal structure for your business.

The most popular model for sole owners is a sole proprietorship (działalność jednoosobowa), as it’s quick and easy to set up and maintain. In this structure, you have full control of the enterprise, although there is no legal separation between you (the owner) and the business; you are personally responsible for all its debts and liabilities.

If you want more legal protection, you anticipate generating a large amount of revenue, or you’re working with additional partners (natural or legal), you can also incorporate a formal company, or enter into a partnership. If you’re unsure which structure is most suitable for your business, it’s a good idea to speak with a registered solicitor or accountant.

If you do opt for the sole proprietor model, you must first register your business with the Central Register and Information on Economic Activity (CEIDG). You can do this online. Note that if you earn (or anticipate to earn) less than 50% of the Polish minimum wage each month, you do not need to register (currently, this figure is zł1505 (around $365)).

Next, you must select a Polish Classification of Business Activity (PKD) code, which is used to classify your business from a tax perspective. You can find your relevant PKD code here.

At this point, you must also select which tax regime you want to follow. It’s a good idea to speak to a tax professional to fully understand the consequences of this choice for your business. We’ll discuss your tax obligations in more depth in the taxation section of this article.

Finally, if your business activity is regulated (i.e. you practice a protected profession such as medicine or law, or you’re handling food), you’ll also need to acquire the relevant business permits or licenses from your local authority.

How do I get paid as an independent contractor in Poland?

As an independent contractor, it’s down to you to handle your invoices and payment collection. Unfortunately, this means billing each client individually and collecting payment through their preferred payment method — which can be inefficient and time-consuming.

Some of the most common ways to collect payments include:

  • Bank transfers

  • Direct deposits

  • Paper checks

  • Money orders

  • Virtual wallets

  • Digital transfer services like PayPal and Wise

These methods all have their own pros and cons. For instance, bank and digital transfers can be pretty quick, but often come with hefty service fees. And if you have clients in other countries besides Poland, the payment collection process can be even more complicated. 

Alternatively, you can use a trusted solution like Remote. Our platform is a simple, secure, and reliable way to get paid quickly in Polish zlote — and with no hidden fees. Learn more about how our platform can help.

Independent contractor taxes in Poland

As an independent contractor, you’re responsible for filing and paying your own taxes.

The good news is that, as a sole proprietor, you pay personal income tax on your business profits (using your personal tax number). This means that you do not have to fill out a separate tax return, or pay additional corporate taxes.

Poland has two income tax rates of 12% and 32%, depending on your income. However, as previously mentioned, you can choose your own tax regime as a sole proprietor. There are three forms of taxation for business activity:

  • The general income tax rate of 12% or 32%, as described above

  • A flat tax rate of 19%

  • A lump sum tax on your registered revenue (this option is only available for some business activities)

You must file your tax return by April 30 each year. If you earn less than zł1.2 million (around $290,000) per year, you must make your payments in advance on a quarterly basis (unless you opt for the lump sum regime).

You must also make social insurance contributions, which are paid in a lump sum — regardless of your income. These contributions are calculated based on average salary figures in Poland, so can be difficult to predict. However, as a new business, you do not have to make these contributions for the first six months, and you will pay a significantly reduced amount for the following 18 months.

As in most countries, you can claim tax deductions for multiple business expenses, such as travel costs, utilities, and insurance premiums.

VAT information for independent contractors in Poland

If your annual income exceeds zł200,000 (around $50,000), you will need to register for — and charge your clients — VAT. To do this, you must fill out and submit the VAT-R form at your local tax office.

In Poland, the standard VAT rate is 23%, although some goods and services are charged at the lower rates of 8% and 5%. Some services are exempt from VAT entirely.

Note that, once you start paying VAT, it’s mandatory to open a business bank account.

You can learn more about registering for VAT on the Polish government website.

Liability considerations for independent contractors in Poland

As a sole proprietor, you are personally liable for finance and tax debts, which means your private assets can be forcibly used to settle your business debts. Many independent contractors purchase liability insurance to help mitigate this risk.

It’s also important to cover yourself when drafting and signing agreements with clients. Our legal experts can provide you with fully compliant contract templates, for both Polish and international clients.

Accounting requirements for independent contractors in Poland

As a sole proprietor, you do not need to publish financial statements or accounts (unless your annual revenue exceeds zł9,564,000 (around $2.3 million)).

However, you must keep a tax revenue and expense ledger, known as a PKPiR. This is a simplified form of accounting for small businesses, and can be kept digitally or on paper.

If you pay VAT, you must also keep all your VAT records in a specific electronic format.

You can either manage these records yourself using an accounting or bookkeeping tool, or hire a professional bookkeeper or accountant.

The dangers of contractor misclassification in Poland

As we’ve mentioned, independent contractors are classified differently to employees in Poland. Many of the protections and benefits employees enjoy do not typically apply to contractors.

As a result, companies may deliberately misclassify you to circumvent their legal obligations, while at other times, it may happen accidentally. Whether it’s intentional or not, misclassification can result in penalties and fines for both you and your client.

As an independent contractor, you can work with your clients to ensure this doesn’t happen. Discuss your role and responsibilities with them, and review the working arrangement regularly.

If your working relationship changes over time and you become more integrated into a client’s company, you can ask to be converted into an employee.

Use our Contractor Compliance Checklist to avoid misclassification

Work through this checklist to help determine if a new hire should have a contractor or employee relationship.

How do I ask the company I’m working with to convert me to an employee in Poland?

Open a dialogue with your client and carefully discuss the risks and benefits of moving to an employer-employee relationship. In particular, be clear about how it can benefit both parties — not just you.

You can even suggest the help of a third-party solution, such as Remote, to ease the transition. Our global employment services help both parties stay compliant by taking care of key HR functions (like payroll management and benefits administration) in line with Polish law.

4 ways Remote makes life easier for contractors and their clients

As you can see, there’s a lot to take on board when setting up as an independent contractor. Remote can help you with many of these challenges, allowing you to focus on growing your business and delivering to your clients. Here’s how:

1. International payments in countries around the world

Navigating all of your clients’ different invoicing, approvals, and payments systems can be complicated and time-consuming. And manual methods of invoicing and collecting payments can increase the risk of fees, errors, and delays.

Remote gives you access to a highly secure, streamlined dashboard that makes invoice management and international payments cost-effective and efficient. You can use our platform to get paid in Polish zlote (or other currencies), without any hidden fees.

2. Localized in-app contracts and advice

When you draft agreements and contracts for your clients, you run the risk of non-compliance with local labor laws — especially when working with international clients. Remote offers localized contracts tailored to Polish laws, ensuring that you stay compliant. Our legal experts can also provide guidance on complex issues, such as local classification and intellectual property protections.

3. Invoicing automation

With Remote, you no longer need to rely on spreadsheets and other manual tools to invoice for payments; we remove many of the inaccuracies and delays caused by archaic processes and manual management. Our platform lets you create invoices, submit them for approval, and subsequently get paid in your local currency without needing to switch to any other tool or software.

4. Tax management

Tax management is notoriously complex work. Remote helps you quickly and efficiently deal with tax management by compiling data about your income based on your invoices and payments received.

Setting up as an independent contractor in Poland

Having the freedom and flexibility to work on your own terms is liberating. But your administrative responsibilities can distract from what you really want to be doing: helping your clients, delivering great work, and collecting invoices.

By using a stable, trusted platform like Remote, you can manage these obligations quickly and efficiently, allowing you to focus on your business goals. Specifically, we can help you:

  • Avoid intermediary fees and delays with international client payments

  • Draft compliant contracts for Polish and foreign clients

  • Enhance your invoice management and avoid manual processes

  • Comply with local labor laws regarding work practices

Our platform makes it quick, simple, and seamless to get started as an independent contractor. Learn more about how our expertise can save you time and resources today.

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