Polish opposition mulls financial tax, amid EU debate

Poland’s biggest opposition party, Law and Justice, which polls show will win next month’s general election, is considering a levy on financial transactions as an alternative to a plan to tax bank assets.

The party is analysing a 0.14% tax on all financial transactions, including a 0.07% tax on derivatives trading, which, combined, could deliver 1.7bn zloty (€404m) in annual revenue to the budget, Law and Justice lawmaker Henryk Kowalczyk said in an interview yesterday. 

This compares with an estimated 5bn zloty in revenue from a potential 0.39% tax on banking assets.

Longstanding EU nations such as France are returning to a debate on building a financial transactions tax. 

The Polish banking industry, which experienced record profits last year, has become a piggy bank for campaign promises ahead of the October 25 election, driving down valuations.

Law and Justice is also working on its own legislation to convert Swiss-franc loans into zloty. 

It may be more expensive for lenders than the 22bn zloty cost envisaged in a bill that has been drafted by the ruling Civic Platform, which is stuck in parliament and may not be passed before the election.

Valuations of Warsaw-listed banks have slumped 17% since reaching a peak last May, compared with an 11% drop in the broad WIG stock index.



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