The maximum rate at any cost
A case of applying the excise tax
on heating oil in the period 2005–2009

This paper focuses on the role of linguistic, functional and theological interpretation
applied by Polish administrative courts. The paper touches upon decisions
taken by fiscal authorities and some courts, including the Supreme Administrative
Court, to punish sellers who did not present valid declarations with disproportionately
high rates of the excise tax. These declarations are filled in by purchasers of
heating oil. In the author’s view this rate should be restricted to very limited cases
when, for instance, it is proven that heating oil has not been in fact used for the
purposes it was designed to be used. Obviously in such a case it is the purchaser
who is obliged to pay this rate of tax. In case it has not been proven and a seller
is not able to present a valid declaration confirming purchaser’s intention to
use heating oil for heating purposes, there is a tax rate which was disregarded
both by fiscal authorities and courts. That avoidance led to situation in which
entrepreneurs are obliged to pay PLN 1,768 per 1000 litres of additional excise
tax instead of PLN 1 for the same amount.

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