From 1st January, 2016 we have important changes to the regulations on interest rates within commercial transactions and the signing of contracts. We would like to draw your attention to these new rules, especially the late payment interest, as this is now regulated separately.
Interest in commercial transactions
Resulting from these recent amendments, a late payment within commercial transactions may involve statutory interest of 8% plus the NBP reference rate, this would add up to 9.5% currently. Obviously, parties to a transaction might agree on a higher rate of late payment interest in their contract, but should not be higher than the maximum contractual late payment interest specified in the Civil Code.
Late payment interest
Up to 31st December, 2015, the statutory late payment interest would have equalled statutory interest in respect of civil-law liabilities. Due to these legislative changes in the law to statutory default interest, for example, Tax liabilities will be 5.5% plus the reference rate of the National Bank of Poland (NBP), this will now add up to 7%. Additionally, starting on 1st January, 2016 the maximum contractual late payment interest will now be regulated independently from the maximum statutory interest rate (contractual late payment interest should not be more than double the statutory late payment interest). Therefore, you cannot specify more than 14% of late payment interest rate in a contract.
Contracts signed before the amendments – watch out for transitional provisions
Article 55 of the amended law concerns payment terms in commercial transactions from 8th March, 2013, it advises that interest payable for a period ended before the effective date of the law is ruled by the old rules, this means that you can start to charge interest referring to the new guidelines from 1st January, 2016. This issue becomes more difficult, however, when you refer to interest within commercial transactions resolved before 1st January, 2016, because the transitional provisions actually do not explain clearly if the new rules may be applied to commercial transactions which were made prior to the 1st January, 2016, but will endure interest in 2016.
Source: getsix®, Anthony Kerr (March 2016)