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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 928
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough about the 90 day rule, Spiral. It's good to know I'm not going through the headache of renewing my karta pobytu completely in vain - someone may actually ask for it someday.

spiral78 wrote:
Here on Dave's for a while we had a US IRS agent (ex) who was moving into teaching. He famously noted that taxes must be filed even by the likes of us, and I recall his famous warning that the IRS regularly fries small fish for infractions such as failure to file.


Related to this, has anyone heard of the Polish 'IRS' frying any small fish for tax fraud? I'm talking here about claiming cars, flats, furniture, vacations, etc. as business expenses.

I've heard the full spectrum of philosophies regarding 'business expenses.' Some (mostly Poles) claim everything and literally the kitchen sink as business expenses. My accountant (well, obviously) insists I be more cautious.

Sorry to steer the thread even more off topic, but it seems as though the OP has disappeared anyway.
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sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 501

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I signed the contract with my accountant, I believe I signed something which made her responsible for errors in my accounting. She even said that if there were a problem, she would take care of it. In all the years which she did my taxes, I never had any problems or issues with taxes. ZUS was a different story, not giving me my documents for not paying, like, 12 groszy. Just utterly horrible people.
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Sgt Bilko



Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 124
Location: POLAND

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was audited by the tax people here for 2007. A year later they said I had underpaid and demanded about 7000zl. My accountant was furious because they wrote to me not her and sent them a stern letter. Nothing more was heard for a year then they did exactly the same thing. I checked all my documents but they wouldn't tell my accountant what they had found that I hadn't declared. She sent everything to them once again and, finally, I had a demand for just over 100zl at the end of last year. I paid it and the problem seems to have gone away. I guess if it's your turn to be audited, they are determined to find something wrong. We never did find out what the money was for but it seemed a small price to get them off my back. Hopefully my name won't come up in the random draw for a few more years.

As far as I'm aware, and this may be totally wrong, if they do find something wrong, you just have to pay what you should have paid, not a fine.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 507

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master Shake wrote:
Fair enough about the 90 day rule, Spiral. It's good to know I'm not going through the headache of renewing my karta pobytu completely in vain - someone may actually ask for it someday.

spiral78 wrote:
Here on Dave's for a while we had a US IRS agent (ex) who was moving into teaching. He famously noted that taxes must be filed even by the likes of us, and I recall his famous warning that the IRS regularly fries small fish for infractions such as failure to file.


Related to this, has anyone heard of the Polish 'IRS' frying any small fish for tax fraud? I'm talking here about claiming cars, flats, furniture, vacations, etc. as business expenses.

I've heard the full spectrum of philosophies regarding 'business expenses.' Some (mostly Poles) claim everything and literally the kitchen sink as business expenses. My accountant (well, obviously) insists I be more cautious.

Sorry to steer the thread even more off topic, but it seems as though the OP has disappeared anyway.


There were quite a lot of people busted not so long ago for having registered their car as a business "van" (that's why you see the absurd Fiat 600 "van" in Poland) - to avoid paying VAT on it. But the requirement was to have a separate back compartment - with a metal barrier between front and back. Plenty of people removed it, of course - and there was a major sting that caught a hell of a lot of people.

Generally speaking though, if your accountant takes responsibility, then you can claim for whatever the hell you want. I do know that they're simply not bothered by small things - but this fraud above was running into tens of thousands of zloty per car.

[quote=Master Shake]I keep hearing of this mythical '90-day rule' but I have yet to ever hear of any American caught breaking it.[/quote]

There's one who posts on this forum who was busted. I used to teach a border guard, and she told me that she's caught a few in her time, too - though their main focus in Poznan is with illegal Ukrainian workers.

Quote:
They stamped me back into Poland without a second glance.


Could be that it's all on computer - so no need to check the physical card. I've got a feeling that it might be - I crossed the border once in Medyka and was asked "what are you doing so far away from Poznan?" - how they knew, I don't know.

As for that "Silver" poster - quite obviously, she's being paid cash in hand with no work permit and has been led to believe that it's fine. Good luck to her when some jealous Polish teacher finds out and reports her - tax fraud AND overstaying isn't a great idea.

Working under an "American" contract means nothing - Poland works on the basis of residency, and if she's resident for more than 185/365 days (it's just changed from being 185 days in a calendar year) - she's liable for Polish taxation. All that stuff about "not having to pay Polish taxes" is just utter crap.

(and when you can get legally employed in Poland and pay as little as 9.5%/16% tax, why would anyone bother avoiding taxes?)
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sharter



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 878
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:14 am    Post subject: IH Reply with quote

I worked for IH 15 years ago in Bydgoszcz. I was not a new teacher then and I remember the pay was dreadful, in fact sometimes less than my phone bill. They paid yus through an English company called Glenrex and because they did that we didn't pay tax. Why not? Well, IH paid below the minimum UK taxable threshold. The rules about residency may well have changed......but I think we were also classed as voluntary workers, which sounds about right for IH.

As for this 'you can life a wonderful life' nonsense...oh behave. If you can live for 2 weeks on 20 quid you must be a vegan, teetotal, single, childless, skinflint who just gawks at the net all night. Where do you stay when you do all this travelling? Do you ever eat in restaurants (not milk bars) and do you drink top-shelf? 100Zl per day is a shite existence.....and certainly not doable if you've got a kid or a gold digging (needy student) Polish chick.
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iknowwhatiamtalkingabout



Joined: 02 Sep 2011
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My goodness.

When I worked there (much less than 15 years ago!) I was put up in a decent flat with rent and bills all paid by the school, I ate out as often as I ever did at home (same for going shopping), I had 2-3 big nights out per week, I had a good social life, I wanted for nothing.
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dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1027

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
When I worked there (much less than 15 years ago!) I was put up in a decent flat with rent and bills all paid by the school, I ate out as often as I ever did at home (same for going shopping), I had 2-3 big nights out per week, I had a good social life, I wanted for nothing.


andheknowswhathestalkingabout.

too easy? right? ok. well.....hmmm.
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sharter



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 878
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:09 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

...and the cow jumped over the moon!!
Last night I was online trying to book a room for a holiday in Poland next August. Average rent for a holiday studio was 10,000Zl for 29 days. The Blowup Hall Hotel was a cool 25,000Zl, average hotel cost was 7-8 thousand Zl. Last May I went to the Red Sea for 14 days all-inclusive and stayed at a 4* resort for 560 GBP (less than 3,000Zl) all in, including flights.

Poland isn't cheap at all. Supermarket food aside, pretty much everything is the same as or more than the UK now.

Go figure.
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iknowwhatiamtalkingabout



Joined: 02 Sep 2011
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People kept telling me that Poland was expensive, yet when I left Poland and went to the UK for the summer I noticed that my money started to evaporate!

It's not dirt-cheap, but it's not bad either. As for the kind of thing you quote, I never stay in studio appartments at home so I'm not interested in doing it in Poland.

People seem to talk about the price of luxury hotels, pricey cigars etc. For most people these things are not a concern - in Poland or at home! Living in Poland is easy on a teacher's salary, especially with a school that pays your rent and bills. Anyone who says otherwise is scaremongering. I managed fine, all my mates managed fine. Some of the best times of my life.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 507

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:01 am    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

sharter wrote:
...and the cow jumped over the moon!!Last night I was online trying to book a room for a holiday in Poland next August. Average rent for a holiday studio was 10,000Zl for 29 days. The Blowup Hall Hotel was a cool 25,000Zl, average hotel cost was 7-8 thousand Zl. Last May I went to the Red Sea for 14 days all-inclusive and stayed at a 4* resort for 560 GBP (less than 3,000Zl) all in, including flights.


Ah yes, the BlowUp Hall. The place that costs an absolute bomb by European standards, and is pitched at those who don't think about the price of their hostel stay. It's not for you, me or anyone else that reads this forum. Quoting it on here is meaningless - the only reason to do so is to show how even little Poznan can have a hotel that's expensive (by any standards) and world-class in terms of design. The cost of it? Irrelevant. You might care to look at the kind of people that stay there.

Let's see - you're quoting 10,000zl. That's about what, 2.2k Euro? Or about 500 euro a week - which isn't unrealistic for a very popular seaside destination in Europe. You might care to notice that while the Germans flood into Poland in summer, the Poles mostly bugger off to Croatia/Montenegro these days.

But again, you're not making any sort of sensible comparisons. You went to the Red Sea, off season (May is certainly not August) and stayed in a place where wages and costs are significantly lower than in Europe. It's just not a comparison at all - it's utter nonsense to suggest otherwise.

If you want to do a fair comparison, compare the Polish seaside to the Croatian seaside. You'll find prices to be about equal.

Quote:
People seem to talk about the price of luxury hotels, pricey cigars etc. For most people these things are not a concern - in Poland or at home!


It's a curious expat thing - they expect to be able to do all the things that they wouldn't be able to do at home. I know what my friends from university are doing - and none of them have a significantly better life than me, except from one computer programming genius.

For the vast majority of Europeans, staying in the BlowUp Hall, smoking fine cigars, drinking ridiculously overpriced drinks (as that's what whisky is in Poland) and so on is simply not the done thing.

I have a car (and not some crap tiny rustbucket, but an ordinary Opel Astra) that's a couple of years old, a mortgage, a wife, I go out at least twice a week, I only work Monday-Friday (with an 8:45am finish), I drink whatever I want to drink, I go on at least two holidays a year, I take trips to places whenever I want to (Berlin, it's only 160zl return by car), I have a decent sized flat for a first-time buyer, (3 rooms, for two people) and I've got plenty of cash in the bank. Heck, I went for a 3 week holiday this summer, staying in nice places (Kotor Bay, anyone?) and all by car.

Oh, and I'll be eating breakfast in the Berlin TV tower next Saturday. All entirely achievable if you want it.

Quote:
It's not dirt-cheap, but it's not bad either.


30 minute public transport ticket in Poznan - 3zl, or at the moment, about 66 euro cents.

Same thing in Berlin - 2.30EUR. Or over 10zl. Absolutely incomparable.

One thing though : Poland, as with the vast majority of Europe, is not the place for experienced teachers with multiple certificates if they don't have any initiative.

Sharter, a serious question - never considered Switzerland? There's a hell of a lot of money there for people with serious papers/skills - the Swiss will happily pay a fortune for such people. Getting 100CHF an hour is normal, up to 150CHF for company classes. I know someone who ranges between 100CHF (private lessons at home) through to 200CHF (in company classes) in Geneva.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 928
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:05 am    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

delphian-domine wrote:
Sharter, a serious question - never considered Switzerland? There's a hell of a lot of money there for people with serious papers/skills - the Swiss will happily pay a fortune for such people. Getting 100CHF an hour is normal, up to 150CHF for company classes. I know someone who ranges between 100CHF (private lessons at home) through to 200CHF (in company classes) in Geneva.


What do you mean exactly by 'serious papers'? Is a PGCE mandatory? I'm sure the cost of living in Switzerland is higher than in PL, but earning that kind of money...

I'm thinking about jumping ship and leaving Warsaw in the next year or two. Three years here is enough. The 900zl/mo ZUS payments kick in Oct 2012.
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sharter



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 878
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:05 am    Post subject: Clarification Reply with quote

I think I need to clarify a few things because I speak from the perspective of a divorced father who once worked in Poznan for a long time, who then left, works overseas and earns quite a bit but who now has to go there to see his son. What a terrible sentence! The meaning is clear though.


Accommodation

I have 3 options for accommodation. I can rent a studio, stay in a hotel or get a room. The fourth option of staying in a shared room in a hostel just isn't for me. The prices I quoted in my above post are all real and just two days old. The Blowup Hall price was one end of the spectrum, 2000 in a shared room is the other. 7-8 thousand for a month in a single is about average. That is expensive, especially when you see the average room. I know, I've been doing it for the past 8 years. Poland isn't by the sea and these are year round prices...ie they don't fluctuate. My Red Sea holiday was in the high season as no-one goes there in August as it's too hot. That's some perspective. It's easier to find cheaper hotels online in the UK...again, I know cos I do it all the time.

Food

It's cheap in Tesco and cheaper in Biedronka but eating out is overpriced and generally disappointing. The Economist Big Mac index is roughly equal. I must say, the restaurant food in Poznan is poor and the service generally awful.

Drink

Beer is cheaper than the UK unless you like Wetherspoon's. Shorts are much more expensive than the UK. A house double in my local in the Uk is 2 quid, which is 10 Zloty.

Electrical goods and clothes

These cost more in Poland for the same quality and brands.

Transport

Trains and buses are cheaper in Poland but petrol is nearly the same.

Bills

Mobile phones cost more in Poland and cost more to run.

However, the national average salary in Poland is somewhere around the 8,000 quid mark and in the Uk it's around 30K.

Outside London, rents and prices are more or less the same.

I work in the Middle East but flit between Poland and the UK.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 507

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:07 am    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

Master Shake wrote:
delphian-domine wrote:
Sharter, a serious question - never considered Switzerland? There's a hell of a lot of money there for people with serious papers/skills - the Swiss will happily pay a fortune for such people. Getting 100CHF an hour is normal, up to 150CHF for company classes. I know someone who ranges between 100CHF (private lessons at home) through to 200CHF (in company classes) in Geneva.


What do you mean exactly by 'serious papers'? Is a PGCE mandatory? I'm sure the cost of living in Switzerland is higher than in PL, but earning that kind of money...


Not a PGCE, but rather a relevant MA with significant experience in the sector that you want to teach in - for instance, being a former Cambridge examiner. Living costs are incredibly high, of course, but it's the kind of place where you can make a hell of a lot of money too - there's not actually that many well-qualified natives who work there, just plenty of bored expat wives who teach for pin money.

Quote:
I'm thinking about jumping ship and leaving Warsaw in the next year or two. Three years here is enough. The 900zl/mo ZUS payments kick in Oct 2012.


The ZUS payments are the killer, but when you think about it rationally - do you think the average Pawel would bother to save a thing for his retirement if he didn't have to? Course not, he'd be buying the flat screen TV and new car.

[quote=sharter]I have 3 options for accommodation. I can rent a studio, stay in a hotel or get a room. The fourth option of staying in a shared room in a hostel just isn't for me. The prices I quoted in my above post are all real and just two days old. The Blowup Hall price was one end of the spectrum, 2000 in a shared room is the other. 7-8 thousand for a month in a single is about average. [/quote]

But that assumes you're not actually looking very well, beyond running a cursory search on booking.com. There's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't be able to get a month-long let in Poznan for about 2500-3000zl in a fully furnished studio in/close to the centre. Honestly, I wonder where you're looking - I've just found a month long apartment rental (40sqm, living room, bathroom, bedroom, fully furnished) in the centre of Poznan for 30 euro a night in the middle of summer - and it's pretty obvious that you can negotiate that down a bit. And that's with the first link on Google.

30 euro a night, times 30 - 900 euro. And that's before negotiating, which we all know works well in Poland for this sort of thing.

Quote:
Shorts are much more expensive than the UK. A house double in my local in the Uk is 2 quid, which is 10 Zloty.


Depends what you drink and where, surely. Whisky is ridiculously priced, but that's due to the positioning in the market - same reason why Polish vodkas are overpriced in the UK. Just look at how Wyborowa is presented in Poland (mass market) versus how it's presented in the US (high end).

Quote:
Trains and buses are cheaper in Poland but petrol is nearly the same.


Significantly cheaper, more like. 120zl to Warsaw on the EIC train, 300km. London-Manchester, about the same distance, yours for 139 pounds.

Quote:
Outside London, rents and prices are more or less the same.


Same?

Are you comparing high end apartments in Poznan (such as that new development near Stary Browar) to industrial cess pits like Bradford again?
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sharter



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 878
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:15 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

You will insist on arguing.

Have it your way. You can earn tonnes of money in Poland, it's really cheap and I obviously talk tosh. A 3-bedroom, 30 year-old terraced house on the south coast doesn't cost 160k in my city and a similar house in Poz doesn't cost the same in Osiedle Zodiak, on the outskirts of Poz near M1. Rent for similar quality flats ain't the same either. Pub food in the Rynek at exclusive 'restaurants' doesn't cost more than your average pub food outside London. Nonsense.

C'mon man I have a Pole sorting my stuff out and she's a great friend. Public transport is way cheaper yes and fast food, but a crap hotel in the Uk costs what a crap hotel in Poland costs. The Hotel Merkure went from 40 quid a night to 180 Euros a night in a couple of years, so I don't go there anymore obviously.

There is very little that's exclusive when it comes to quality in every day Poland aside from vodka. Those new build flats are a joke. The old kamienice type ones need rewiring, replumbing and a whole host of other upgrades, so they ain't cheap. Yes' whishy is expensive, but so is wine (ridiculously so) and imported beer.

You must go out of your way to find the cheapest places in town....I just work by averages. The noclegi off Ogrodiska is 65 a night but it's crap....I've stayed there. No hot water and a freezing room. Before you quote these low end prices go and look at them mate.

I know Poznan backwards.

You must be one of those people who regularly drinks in Dragon, where the toilets are a health hazard, the staff miserable sods and the 12Zl cider is flat. I remember it when it was an African restaurant which tried to palm off soup inside a loaf of bread as an African dish.

Actually, for the budget minded, the Vikings is a good, small, clean pub and Tylko Onas does good cheap lunches. There's a place to stay called Florka on Garbary too.......it's a crap building but the rooms are en suite and newly renovated. Hania will cut a deal there...but she's as mad as a box of frogs.

What's an average Polish salary? Spill the beans....I keep asking.

I work for oil companies.
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dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1027

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

delphian-domine wrote:

Quote:
when you think about it rationally - do you think the average Pawel would bother to save a thing for his retirement if he didn't have to? Course not, he'd be buying the flat screen TV and new car.




that's a nice argument with a communist flare. you rationalize a country taking a huge cut out of her citizens' paychecks every month by saying, "well, you guys would piss it away anyhow". are you so sure the Polish government knows how to spend your hard earned money better than you do?

i sure wouldn't mind getting back the tens of thousands of zloty i donated to "the avg Pawel" during my 4 year stint in Poland. Shocked

delphian-domine wrote:

Quote:
Wyborowa is presented in Poland (mass market) versus how it's presented in the US (high end).


nobody drinks Wyborowa in the US and it's one of the cheapest vodkas we have. i don't know where you get your information.
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