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Poland to tax media ads to raise funds for healthcare and culture

·1 min read

WARSAW, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Poland plans to tax online and conventional media advertising to raise money for healthcare and culture amid the coronavirus pandemic, the conservative nationalist government said on Tuesday.

Half of the funds raised by the new tax will help finance the National Health Fund, 35% will go to a fund supporting "culture and national heritage" in media, and 15% to the National Monuments Protection Fund.

"An important result of the struggle of Polish society with the consequences of the pandemic is the faster and faster transfer of many social activities to online space," the government said in a statement on its website.

It said the tax move aimed to help Poles cope with new challenges including "assessing the reliability of information appearing in the media, a loss of a sense of community and ties with tradition, and limited access to cultural goods and monuments of common heritage".

The ruling Law and Justice party, in power since 2015, has sought to promote national Roman Catholic traditions and patriotic feeling, setting itself against what it calls imported liberalism and multiculturalism.

For internet advertisements the proposed legislation would impose a 5% tax rate on service providers whose annual global revenues exceed 750 million euros and whose revenues in Poland are above 5 million euros. For traditional media advertisements, rates will vary between 2% and 15%.

Local news portal Business Insider said total revenues from the new tax might exceed 1 billion zlotys a year and would apply to Google, Facebook and other media outlets.

The cabinet is expected to adopt the legislation in the first quarter of this year. (Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko Editing by Mark Heinrich)