Issuing VAT invoices as a teacher

You’re probably already in Poland. You might have given a few lessons. You encountered a few types of clients. When it comes to teaching in language schools or in-company teaching, you probably have heard this question countless times already:

– Do you issue VAT invoices for our classes?

Poland is not the easiest country to run a business in, especially when you don’t speak Polish. But it actually offers benefits to both the teacher and his employer. For a teacher, it’s a way to pay as little tax as possible, while still not functioning in a grey-market. For his employer, it gives considerable tax deductions and saves lots of headaches related to regular employment contracts, other than B2B (i.e. umowa-zlecenie, umowa o dzieło or umowa o pracę)

Risks of giving classes without registered company

Theoretically, according to Polish law it’s illegal to conduct any business activity without registering it. Many people think that little is this rule enforced against language teachers or private tutors. The reality, unfortunately, is that given Poland’s economic situation, Polish Tax Office (Urząd Skarbowy) is desperately trying to secure its revenue streams.

Giving classes without having some legal form not only puts you in risk of fines, deportation, or in most extreme cases, even jail. What is more, you cannot issue VAT invoices, which often makes you discriminated against for teaching positions.

Registering your own business

Setting up your sole-proprietorship in Poland involves quite a few steps and requires some knowledge of Polish. It’s still, however, manageable with enough self-determination and some time, as long as you are an EU citizen or you’ve got permanent stay permit (source and more info: biznes.gov.pl). Without these pre-requirements, it gets more complicated, to such an extent that you probably need someone to sponsor you a work visa or work permit.

Although the resources available online that deal with setting up a business in Poland are scarce, especially written in English, you can find a few blog entries that guide you through the process here and there. For example, here is a basic guide written by PolandUnraveled or a bit more detailed one published on JustAskPoland.

Alternative business forms – incubators

comparison of costs of running a traditionally registered company and being a part of EnglishWizards collective

There is, however, an alternative to a traditionally registered business. Many young, aspiring, entrepreneurial teachers join startup incubators or collectives. These companies generally unite many digital artisans or teachers under one shared legal form, which is substantially cheaper to run.

There are many of incubators out there in the market. Very often they’re run locally near universities or by NGOs.

It so happens, that NativeSpeaker runs their own incubator together in partnership with EnglishWizards – a collective uniting native speakers in Poland from across the world. And our incubator is suited particularly well for language teachers. It gives:

  • legal form
  • possibility to issue invoices
  • access to our huge repository of teaching materials you can use on your lessons
  • visa sponsorship and work permit support
  • in the future, fantastic Slack community with general discussion and job-postings

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