Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Polish Linux Tax?

By kmself in News
Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 08:06:13 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

From the I-don't-read-Polish-but-need-to-find-someone-who-does department, Computerworld Poland is running an article (in Polish) apparently reporting a "donation" tax being levied on Linux servers. This was reported with a report to the FSB (Free Software Business) mailing list by Nils Lohner.

The story, according to an email forwarded by Nils:

Date: 13 Nov 2000 10:11:21 -0000
Message-ID: <20001113101121.90419.qmail@home.pl>
From: dune@home.pl
To: debian-devel@lists.debian.org
Subject: GNU/Linux taxed in Poland ?!
Resent-Message-ID: <2od0CC.A.sjC.U07D6@murphy>
Resent-From: debian-devel@lists.debian.org
X-Mailing-List: <debian-devel@lists.debian.org>
X-Loop: debian-devel@lists.debian.org
Precedence: list
Resent-Sender: debian-devel-request@lists.debian.org
Resent-Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 04:06:25 -0600


About month ago one of the local fiscal office in Poland has laid a tax on some company in Poland which uses Linux servers and StarOffice apllications. This information appeared in the past week in Polish edition of Computerworld. AND THIS IS NOT A JOKE.

The fiscal office has treated GNU software as a DONATION for this company with a price on the level of M$ Windows NT and M$ Office prices. According to the Polish tax regulations this company must pay about 30% (thirty percents) of these values now. So much.

Three weeks ago Computerlworld has asked Polish Treasury about an interpretation of a term of donation in case of GNU software. Nobody from the Treasury replied yet.

Maybe this is a less problem for commercial Linux distros like RedHat, Mandrake, Suse, Caldera etc. because these product have small prices and they can not be treated as donations but only as expenses. I hope because there is still not clear issues concerns prices of GPL, LGPL, Artistic, BSD licenses within the scope of Polish tax regulations.

What in a case of Debian GNU/Linux servers? I have some fears.

I am not sure but maybe some official letter from the Debian community to the Polish Treasury may change something in their mind.

Greetings from Poland,

Mariusz Przygodzki dune@home.pl

Could one of our US-election-overdosed Polish readers provide a translation or confirmation of the Computerworld article? I strongly discourage broadcast dissemination of weakly-verified stories, but this one does appear to have some basis in reality.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o reporting a "donation" tax being levied on Linux servers
o dune@home. pl
o Also by kmself

Display: Sort:
Polish Linux Tax? | 14 comments (9 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Rough translation (4.68 / 16) (#5)
by jabber on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 03:45:21 PM EST

Speedy transcript follows. [ ] comments are mine, added for clarification. I am not fluent in Polish legallese.
November 6, 2000, monday

Treasure Office taxing Linux

Once again, the lack of (wytychnych) [specific guidelines?] at the Ministry of Finance causes that collection offices freely interpret treasure regulations. This time this involves the levying of tax on freely available software.

In October of this year, Legal Newspaper [title] reported that one of the collection offices imposed a tax on a company using free [beer] software. According to the office, the taxed party received (swiadchenie) [license?], which it uses to carry on management functions, which is subject to taxation. [The sense of this statement is: The company uses the free software for book-keeping and internal management, a taxable function]. The office appraised the Linux servers to be of equivalent worth as Windows NT Server, and the StarOffice software as Microsoft Office. Is this right? This is not known. The Ministry of Finaince has not responded to our request for an official interpretation of the regulations for nearly two weeks.

Troubles with interpretation

In the light of Polish law, the receipt of free license [right to use] is subject to income taxation on the basis analogous to the receipt of income. The essence of free license is such that "for the commital of financial/capital accrual [gain] by the recipient, the licensor receives no payment". Who is the recipient? The user of the free software. Whom is the licensor, really? In this matter the Polish law becomes unclear. How can the side of the licensor be defined in the case of an operating system whose co-creators are several thousand people all over the world?

A similar problem appears, when we assume, that free software is free [gratis]. Who is the benefactor? "Assuming/accepting the above posed interpretation of the Office, it needs to be asked, is the Platnik program is also a non-for-pay licensor, especially since it's suppolier is commonly known" - says Tomasz Barbaszewski, persident of the the firm Aba from Krakow, reseller of Linux-based solutions.

The manner of appraisal of Linux and StarOffice employed by the tax office also provokes an emotional response. As reference, the office simply used the pricing of "the market leading software manufacturer". "What does 'leading' mean/" - is the question asked by users of the free software.

Who cares?

Some of the tax offices interpret regulations differently. "Software taken from the Internet can not be treated as free of cost [unpaid for but not rightfully so] or as free license [not-for-pay, beer]. There is a lack of legal precedent for this, i.e. an agreement [license, as in GNU?] on the basis of which the parties involved in the transaction can be defined." - explains the director of the income-tax department in one of the treasure offices. "If the obtaining of software from the Internet is to be treated as an import, then you can also not levy a tax" - he adds.

One exception may be the case where a firm obtains a rider/medium [CD, diskette] from a Polish distributor along with a publication. [You can get Linux for free if it is included on CD along with a computer magazine you buy from a Polish publisher, for example] "The seller then makes a disclaimer by which it is known that the software is neither free not unpaid for. [making the point moot, it becomes a bundled bonus] The purchaser can then legally [within the laws bounds, in a manner consistend and known to existing laws] add such software to their asset manifest and depreciate it's value" - says Elzbieta Kowalska, director of the income tax office in the Lublin Treasury Office.

Officials advise persons concerned about problems with taxation control/regulations to turn [appeal? request hearing?] to the appropriate office in accordance with article 14 paragraph 4 of the taxation ordinance. This guarantees protection from negatice consequences in the event of a control [audit?] for the taxed party. As well as the taxed, the tax offices would feel more secure if the Ministry of Finance would publish the pertinent specifics.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

A somewhat more amusing translation (3.80 / 5) (#7)
by Chops on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 06:05:02 PM EST

I finally found a website that claimed to translate Polish to English, but its efforts were so pitiful that I decided to write a script to finish the job with some balls:

When once successive defect stiff Ministries Finance prompts, that revenue without stint interpreting regulations treasure. This time bears this ex without charge program.

ON October company. Paper Prawna [doniosła], that one ex taxation applies tax to land yourselves gratuitous software. To clerk, tax-payer received freeware consideration, whom adventists until leadership knit economically, what low tax. Commission evaluation servers Linux to standard Windows NT Server, and software StarOffice wherebyprzez co Microsoft Office. Whether you said it? It is anyone's guess. Board of Exchequer ex well-nigh bicentenary weekly not responds to our request of officially interpretation rule.

Troubles ex interpretation

ON luminous polish businesses receiving irresistible services low taxation inland revenue remunerative to tenet parallel until obtainment renumerative. Creature services irresistible relies thereon, that "too commitment enlargement may in aid of receivers bank evidential not receives no counter-value". Kimono is not payee? User gratuitous software. Kimono is not though evidencing? Therein that is right press box making businesses polish becomes dimness. Wherebyprzez co since outline hand evidential on by chance arrangement operating, who association some thousandth persons to total glares?

Such problem occures, supposing with z, that by courtesy of software this present. Whom is not why presenter? "Recipient featured superiorly interpretation clerk, be ask, whether [?wiadczeniem] gratuitous is not so Docket Tributary, specially that tradesman is not in the open" bids Thomas Barbarian, chairwoman firms Abbot ex Croaker, interesting yourselves vend flying built to Linux.

Feelings wake so complied via department taxation wise valuations Linux as well StarOffice. By way of offset department hold since tariff "uphill to stew-pan manufacturer's software". "what intends 'uphill'?" Striking yourselves users freeware software.

Whom depend?

Lot clerk taxation unlike though interprets regulations. "Software join ex Internet not one can trend neither by way of grants, neither by way of services gratuitous. Defect thereto base valid, therein an. bonds, by virtue of that one can outline sides deal" translates department head tax renumerative on however ex clerk taxation. "supposing collecting software ex Internet trend wherebyprzez co importation, this so not one can count tax" imparts.

Sole excerpts so-so random, wherein outlet obtains carrier ex polish distributor together with newspaper computerized. "vendor exposes then fact, thank why it is known that is not this consideration gratuitous neither present. In return client has business enter into a contrack such software until register median tenacious as well amortize" bids Elizabeth Kowal, departmental manager tax renumerative on AS WELL Clerk Taxation on Lublin.

Here the dictionary website my script was abusing got wise and cut off my IP for the day, so we're stuck with the "official" machine translation. Bastards. "Individuality stand in awe of yourselves" promised great things for the rest of the paragraph.

Individuality stand in awe of yourselves worry in the event of checking fiscal salary workers advise [wyst±pienie] until proper [urzędu] of response on mood specific on [artykule] 14 article 4 [ordynacji] [podatkowej]. Vouchs this tax-payer [ochronę] prior privative to the effect in the event of [kontroli]. Both taxpayers, as well as revenue tender yourselves though very like, if Board of Exchequer [opublikowało] correspondent command paper.

[ Parent ]

Oh my goodness... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
by jabber on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 06:16:33 PM EST

Could you please post the link to this translator?

It looks like it's mis-representing itself. It's actually translating modern Polish into Shakesperean English.. Try reading it in iambic pentameter, and you'll see. :)

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Translator info (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by Chops on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 11:11:25 PM EST

The original Polish-to-English translation is courtesy of http://www.foreignword.com/Tools/mtfiles/f_107_40.htm. I'm sorry to say I foolishly deleted my give-em-hell second phase already; the algorithm was as follows: For each word foreignword simps out on, keep chopping letters off the end until http://www.get-together.net:8080/dicti/dic.home finds some Polish completions for the partial Polish word that remains. Pick the most similar word from all possible Polish completions (using your favorite algorithm), ask for a list of English translations, and pick the first one. Subsitute English for Polish, correct case, lather, rinse, repeat. You will probably get much better results than I did if you actually follow the "next" links and examine all the Polish completions, of course, but by the time I got around to that, there was a real translation up.

If you're really interested, the ugly http stuff follows. To get all the possible pseudo-completions of polish_word, load:


The resulting html will contain n instances each of "setForm(' and :getTran(. Each "setForm(' is followed by a Polish completion for polish_word, and the respective :getTran( is followed by a unique numeric code for that word. If you want a list of English words corresponding to Polish word number word_code, load:


Immediately after the </h4> you'll find a semicolon-separated list of English translations for whatever Polish word you completed.

Your mileage may vary, of course; the above may all be completely wrong. Of course, everybody please remember that this web translator is a free service provided for the community's benefit, and it runs on finite resources. Use it with more respect than I did; this is not a polite algorithm.

[ Parent ]

dump it (2.36 / 11) (#6)
by daevt on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 03:47:28 PM EST

im gunna vote no untill it is confirmed by somebody who is paying that tax, and somebody who helped to impliment the tax.

keep k5 free of rumors

Billy G is moving MicroSquish to Poland! (3.95 / 20) (#9)
by MeanGene on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 07:27:15 PM EST

October 32, Redmond WA - DisAssociated Press

In a sudden development that left Wall Street stunned, Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates declared that he will relocate the bulk of his company's operations to Poland.

In a hastily arranged press-conference at Microsoft's Redmond, WA headquarters Bill Gates claimed that Polish government has "inherent appreciation culture" for the over-priced and incompatible software that his company is world-renowned for. He also said "if Poland is the only place we can survive without being harassed by those give-away kamikaze, Poland is where we will be."

Already, Polish parliament is considering a law forbidding Polish citizens to accept anything for free except vodka and sex (only when the offering party is legally married to the person being propositioned to). Eris S. Raymond, the well-known Open Source advocate, told us on the phone that he will petition WTO to classify the Linux operating system and the software that runs on it as vodka "because it's so intoxicating, makes you feel great and is crystal clear."

Microsoft's CEO Mr. Balmer was overheard saying "Damn, now I've got to unlearn all my Polish jokes."

In an unrelated incident, police of the Bora-Bora island in the Pacific Ocean had to incarcerate Polish Finance Minister Mr. Kczlwsky in the airport when he told the customs officer "Fuck off, Bill Gates told me I now own this shithole."

Come on, this is FUNNY! (4.16 / 6) (#11)
by Skippy on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 09:54:48 PM EST

I'm starting to think that the the poster of this story was right. I don't think very many people here at K5 have a sense of humor. This took at least SOME thought and it brought a smile to my face. Correct me if I'm wrong but in the mojo system a 3 is a standard run of the mill comment. So why is this a 2 as I read it. It's not offensive, flamebait or offtopic. At worst its a regular old comment. Are we so afraid of degenerating into firstposthotgritspetrifiednatalieportman that we're afraid to laugh?

# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
[ Parent ]
I read it. I laughed. (none / 0) (#13)
by squigly on Tue Nov 14, 2000 at 02:34:44 PM EST

But humour is subjective. Don't tell me when to laugh godammit. I know whats funny. Everyone else will disagree. Now I'm overanalysing it and killing it.

Damn. Need to lighten the mood. Why don't cannibals eat clowns?

They taste funny.

People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
[ Parent ]
I did enjoy... (none / 0) (#14)
by whatnotever on Tue Nov 14, 2000 at 06:10:53 PM EST

The Linux==Vodka bit... :-)

[ Parent ]
Polish Linux Tax? | 14 comments (9 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!