Brussels, 23 March 2007
The European Commission has sent Poland a formal request to align its electricity taxation system on the Community framework. Under EU law, excise duty on electricity is chargeable at the time of supply by the distributor or redistributor, making them liable to pay the tax. In Poland, however, excise duty on electricity is charged to the producer at the time of supply. The request from the Commission takes the form of a "reasoned opinion", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If Poland fails to comply, the Commission, as Guardian of the Treaty, may take action against Poland before the European Court of Justice.
Under Community law, electricity is subject to taxation and becomes chargeable at the time of supply by the distributor or redistributor. Distributors and redistributors are liable for payment of the tax. The Republic of Poland received a transitional period until 1 January 2006 to align its electricity taxation system on the Community framework by shifting the tax liability from the producer to the distributor or redistributor.
By not aligning its electricity taxation system by 1 January 2006, Poland has failed to meet its obligations under the Energy Tax Directive (Directive 2003/96/EC), as read in conjunction with the Accession Treaty. In November 2006, the Commission formally opened an infringement procedure against Poland by sending a letter of formal notice. Poland’s reply was not satisfactory and the Commission has therefore decided to launch the second stage of the infringement procedure by sending a reasoned opinion to Poland.
In its reply to the Commission's letter of formal notice in December 2006, the Polish Government emphasised that it currently meets the Community minimum rate of excise duty on electricity. The Commission appreciates this. However, the sole fact of meeting the Community minimum rate does not release Poland from its obligation to align its electricity taxation system on the Community framework.
The Commission's case reference number is 2006/2218.
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