Every business is associated with financial risk, including when starting cooperation with a new entity. Relationships with an unscrupulous company can lead not only to loss of funds, but also to problems with tax and law enforcement agencies. Many troubles can be avoided or the risk of them occurring can be minimized if you check the counterparty in Poland before entering into a contract. There are several ways to do this.
How to check a company in Poland: the main ways
Experienced entrepreneurs are well aware of most of the methods of vetting new business partners. However, this knowledge is not always applied in practice, especially when deadlines are tight and there is a prospect of fruitful cooperation. Uniconsulting.group recommends following the principle of “trust but verify” and taking the time to conduct a thorough audit before entering into contracts with new partners to ensure their honesty, solvency, and good reputation. This is the simplest, yet most effective way to avoid problems in the future.
The list of the main methods of counterparty verification in the RP is as follows:
- Check in the National Court Register (KRS);
- Checking the Central Register of Information on Business Activities (ceidg.gov.pl);
- Viewing the white list of VAT payers (podatki.gov.pl);
- Obtaining paid information from the tax office or the Bureau of Economic Information (big.pl);
- Ordering a check in business analytics.
Let’s talk in detail about each of the above methods.
Verification in KRS and CEIDG
If you are establishing business cooperation with an individual entrepreneur or a legal entity, certain information about them can be obtained free of charge online. For individual entrepreneurs, this will be the portal of the register of information on individual entrepreneurs, and for companies – the National Court Register. Both of these resources store enough data to help you find out whether a particular entity is actually operating now, what its financial statements were like in previous years, whether it is bankrupt.
The CEIDG register allows you to verify a sole proprietor or a co-owner of a civil law partnership (NIP) or REGON number (State Register of National Economic Entities), or his/her name and surname. In this register, you will find the date of commencement of activity, the date of its suspension and resumption (if any), address, types of activity, contact details (phone number and e-mail), information on legal representatives, bankruptcy, reorganization, restructuring or lack thereof.
You can check any company in Poland using the KRS register. To search, you just need the NIP, REGON or KRS number, or the name of the legal entity itself. You will receive basic information: the form of activity, the date of its start or termination (liquidation), the history of all important changes. For example, transformation, division, merger, restructuring, reorganization, bankruptcy, etc. Particular attention should be paid to the data on legal representatives, associates, and members of the company’s management board to understand exactly who is authorized to sign the contract.
In the case of limited liability companies, it is important to know the amount of the authorized capital and the share of each co-founder. This is necessary to understand the amount of maximum liability for obligations. We also recommend that you pay attention to the information on financial statements for previous periods: their absence may indicate that the company is not in good faith.
White list of VAT payers
Biała lista podatników VAT — a list where you can also check the counterparty in Poland. You need to know the NIP or REGON number or bank account number. First of all, you will receive information on whether a particular entity is an active VAT payer, when it was registered/removed from the lists/for what reason it was not registered, whether it paid VAT in a certain period (you can specify the dates).
This list also allows you to confirm the bank account of the future counterparty. This is very important for payments exceeding PLN 15 thousand. If it turns out that your contractor is not on the white list of VAT payers, then for transactions exceeding PLN 15,000, you run the risk of joint and several liability for the tax debt of such a contractor arising from the transaction.
Paid request to the tax office or BIG
You can also check a company in Poland using paid methods:
- Make a request to the tax office. You will be able to find out whether the company has any tax arrears, whether all the necessary declarations, reports, etc. are submitted on time. However, there is a significant disadvantage to this method: in order to make a request to the tax office, you need to be a party to a certain transaction. This means that you cannot obtain information about a potential counterparty before entering into a contract.
- Contact the Bureau of Economic Information (BIG). You can use their data to find out whether a company or individual entrepreneur has unpaid debts and what financial condition they are in.
A list of the main BIGs that provide paid information:
- InfoMonitor news bureau (bik.pl) — the cost of a request for one counterparty is PLN 29 net.
- National register of debts (krd.pl) — services cost from 160 to 990 PLN/month.
- ERIF register of debtors (erif.pl) — one report costs PLN 49.99.
- National Bureau of Economic Information (kbig.pl) — the cost of services is from 290 to 590 PLN/month.
- National information on telecommunication debts (kidt.pl)
Checking a Polish counterparty in private agencies
Entrepreneurs in Poland can also use the services of private agencies specializing in economic analysis to verify a potential contractor or supplier. They can be found on the Internet.
Of course, the services of such agencies will be more expensive than paid reports from the Bureau of Economic Information. However, if the contracts you are entering into involve large sums of money, this method will be justified. It is better to pay in advance and get all the detailed information about the future counterparty than to have serious problems later if it turns out to be insolvent or dishonest. Another situation when using private agencies will make sense is if you need to thoroughly verify foreign business entities.
In addition to the above-mentioned basic ways to check companies or individual entrepreneurs, you should not forget about such a simple thing as searching for opinions and reviews on the Internet. It won’t take much time, but you can already get a first impression of your future business partner.