Czech Shoppers: Polish Shopping Spree No Longer a Bargain

Shopping in Poland is no longer as lucrative for Czech citizens, as the Polish government has ended certain tax benefits. After discontinuing tax discounts on fuel from March onwards, the government will also abolish the zero Value Added Tax (VAT) on basic food items. This zero VAT has been in place since February 2022 due to high inflation rates.

A five percent tax rate will be reinstated starting in April. This is likely to increase the prices of dairy products, meat, including fish and its products, eggs, vegetables, honey, animal and plant fats, bread, and other bakery items, including baby food.

The Polish Ministry of Finance made the decision on Tuesday. Prime Minister Donald Tusk signaled this move last week. “The prices of some foods are at a record low, so I proposed a return to the five percent tax rate. I don’t think it will reflect price growth,” he said.

However, ordinary Polish citizens do not share the optimism of their government’s head and are rather pessimistic about the price situation. “I don’t know where the prime minister shops, but in the department stores where I shop, food is already expensive now and will be even more expensive after the VAT is introduced,” forty-year-old Andrzej from Auschwitz told the newspaper Fakt.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the rise in food and non-alcoholic beverage prices slowed to 4.9 percent in January, marking the slowest price increase since September 2021. In February and March, the ministry expects a further slowdown in price growth. The attractiveness of shopping in Poland for Czech citizens has been dampened since January by the weakening of the Czech koruna against the Polish zloty, which amounted to nearly 15 percent year-on-year in January.