Lecturers Will Not Benefit from VAT Exemption

Table of Contents:

  1. What factual situation did the general interpretation concern?
  2. Is a lecturer eligible for VAT exemption?

In the general interpretation of May 20, 2024 (No. PT1.8101.1.2024), it was stated that lecturers providing educational services based on agreements with universities are not entitled to VAT exemption. The general interpretation was issued due to inconsistent application by tax authorities of the VAT provisions regarding exemptions for services provided by lecturers.

What factual situation did the general interpretation concern?

The Minister of Finance issued a general interpretation relating to the VAT taxation of services involving the transfer of knowledge by natural persons (lecturers, persons conducting educational activities, courses, training, hereinafter referred to as “lecturers”), who are VAT taxpayers, based on agreements for their provision concluded with universities as part of the education process organized by these universities, and specifically addressing the possibility of exempting these services from VAT, as defined in Article 43(1)(26), (27), and (29)(c) of the VAT Act, and in § 3(1)(13) of the Minister of Finance Regulation of December 20, 2013, on exemptions from goods and services tax and the conditions for applying these exemptions.

According to Article 43(1)(26) of the VAT Act, services provided by:

a) educational institutions under the education system as defined in the Act of December 14, 2016 – Educational Law, in the field of education and upbringing,

b) universities, scientific units of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and research institutes, in the field of education

as well as the supply of goods and services strictly related to these services, are exempt from tax.

Additionally, under § 3(1)(13) of the regulation on exemptions, services in the field of education, other than those listed in Article 43(1)(26) of the VAT Act, provided by universities, scientific units of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and research institutes, as well as the provision of services and the supply of goods strictly related to these services, are exempt from tax.

Does a lecturer qualify for VAT exemption?

The Minister of Finance concluded that lecturers providing educational services under the terms described in the interpretation cannot be considered private teachers, consequently their activities in this regard cannot benefit from exemption under Article 43(1)(27) of the VAT Act. Moreover, the tax exemption specified in Article 43(1)(29) of the VAT Act applies exclusively to vocational education or vocational retraining activities, other than those listed in paragraph 26:

a) conducted in forms and under rules provided for in separate regulations, or

b) provided by entities accredited under the Act of December 14, 2016 – Educational Law – solely for services covered by accreditation, or

c) fully funded from public funds

as well as the provision of services and the supply of goods strictly related to these services.

Therefore, Article 43(1)(29) of the VAT Act does not apply to vocational education or vocational retraining services provided by universities, and hence also to such services provided by lecturers to universities. In conclusion, the Minister of Finance determined that the described services involving the transfer of knowledge by lecturers who are VAT taxpayers, provided under agreements concluded with universities as part of the education process organized by these universities, are not eligible for the exemptions provided for in Article 43(1)(26), (27), and (29) of the VAT Act, as well as in § 3(1)(13) of the regulation on exemptions.