The complexity, lack of clarity, and frequent amendments of Polish tax laws may lead to disputes with tax authorities.
There are also discrepancies between the way tax authorities apply tax laws in practice and in rulings of administrative courts. There is a risk that tax interpretations and decisions issued by competent authorities may be unpredictable or even contradictory. There is a risk that we may fail to bring certain areas of our activity in compliance with the frequently amended tax laws and the ever-changing practice of their application. Therefore, no assurance can be given that there will be no disputes with tax authorities, and, consequently, that tax authorities will not question the correctness of the Group companies' tax settlements on non-statute-barred tax liabilities (including conformity with the taxpayer's obligations), and will not determine the existence of tax arrears of such Group companies. Any unfavorable decisions, interpretations (including changes to any interpretations obtained by the Group companies) or rulings by tax authorities may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.
Tax authorities may question the accuracy of intra-Group and related-party settlements under applicable transfer pricing regulations.
No assurance can be given that the Group companies will not be subjected to audits and other inspections by tax authorities and tax inspection bodies with respect to intra-Group and related-party transactions. The nature and diversity of transactions with related-parties, the complexity and ambiguity of the regulations governing methods of verifying the prices applied, dynamic changes in market conditions affecting the calculation of prices applied in such transactions, as well as the difficulty in identifying comparable transactions, the risk that the methodology used to determine arm's-length terms for the purpose of such transactions is questioned by tax authorities cannot be excluded, and therefore tax authorities may question the accuracy of settlements between the Group companies and their related parties under applicable transfer pricing regulations, which may have material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.
Assessment of tax effects of the Group’s restructuring activities by Polish tax authorities may differ from assessment of such activities by the Group.
Assessment of tax effects of the Group’s restructuring activities by Polish tax authorities may differ from assessment of such activities by the Group. Despite monitoring the risk in individual business areas, with respect to completed and planned restructuring activities, no assurance can be given that Polish tax authorities will not have a different assessment of tax effects of individual restructuring events and transactions, both completed and planned, in particular with respect to the possibility, manner, and timing of the recognition of income and tax-deductible expenses by entities participating in such events and transactions, or that financial terms of such activities will not be questioned, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.
The tax regime applicable to our operations and the sector in which we operate creates numerous uncertainties.
Given that Polish tax laws are frequently amended, inconsistent, and lack uniform interpretation, and considering the relatively long limitation periods on tax liabilities, there is a risk that our selected operations may not be harmonised with the changing legal (including tax) regulations and their changing application. Despite monitoring the risk, there can be no guarantee that disputes with tax authorities regarding assessment of tax effects of individual events and transactions typical for our operations and the sector in which we operate will not occur, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.
Property tax laws give rise to numerous interpretation uncertainties.
We use a significant number of telecommunications infrastructure facilities located on real property. Property tax laws give rise to numerous interpretation uncertainties, in particular with respect to the tax base and the determination of items subject to tax. The definition of a structure and its practical use under the Local Taxes and Charges Act might lead to disputes with tax authorities. Therefore, no assurance can be given that there will be no disputes between companies from the Group and tax authorities as to the amount of the property tax payable, as well as unfavorable rulings in this respect. This may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.
The Group’s companies are subject to legal regulations (including tax legislation) in force in the countries in which they operate.
This may create a risk that the Group will interpret local legal regulations in a way which is divergent from their construction by the country's tax authorities, due to the different legal systems. The diversity of legal regulations by which individual companies are bound may give rise to internal problems within the Group. Furthermore, legal and tax regulations in countries where the Group conducts its business are subject to change. Therefore, no assurance can be given that there will be no disputes with tax authorities in individual countries, and their results may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.
There can be no assurance that in the future the President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) will not deem – despite our different assessment – the practices we use as limiting competition or violating the Polish consumer protection laws.
If the court’s ruling determines that any of our practices had the effect of limiting competition or violating consumer rights, we could be required to discontinue the unlawful practice. In addition, the President of UOKiK could impose on us a cash fine of up to 10% of our revenue generated in the financial year immediately preceding the year in which the fine is imposed and additionally, pursuant to the provisions of the amended legislation on consumer and competition protection, can, for example, impose on us the obligation to pay compensation to consumers, who were affected by the practises in question or apply other measures. Moreover, if we, even unintentionally, fail to provide the President of UOKiK with the required information or provide misleading information, a fine of up to EUR 50 million may be imposed on us.
In addition, expansion of consumer protection legislation could increase the scope or scale of our potential liability or the scope of consumer rights. Such events may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
The Group may be adversely affected by changes in Polish and European Union regulation of the levels of MTR and roaming charges.
As part of telecommunications market regulation in Poland, the President of UKE may determine MTR rates for voice services between telecommunications operators. In the past, the regulator used this power several times, and reduced MTRs. There can be no assurance that there will not be any further MTR reductions in the future, which may directly affect our financial performance.
Our roaming rates are also regulated. European Union regulators have also imposed price restrictions applicable to all operators in the European Union (both at the retail and wholesale level). At present, the roaming rates in the EU are regulated by the Regulation of the European Parliament and Council of November 25, 2015, which imposed a subsequent reduction of roaming rates as of April 30, 2016. Additionally, the proposal of the regulation on the unified telecommunications market foresees the levelling of retail roaming charges within the EU with domestic charges, which is planned to take place in June 2017. As at the date of publication of the Report on the Group’s activities for 2016 (March 15, 2017) consulations regarding these regualtions were underway. The reduction or removal of roaming charges in the EU may have an adverse effect on our revenue, and consequently on our performance and financial standing.
The Group may violate the acts of law and regulations governing our satellite TV distribution business as well as telecommunications, TV broadcasting, advertising and sponsoring activities, which are subject to periodic amendments.
We are required to comply with Polish and EU laws, which impose limitations on the conduct of the Group’s business. Our operations are extensively regulated by government authorities and market regulators, especially the President of the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) and the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT), the bodies responsible for overseeing compliance with the Polish Act on Television and Radio Broadcasting, the Telecommunications Law, and the terms of our broadcasting licences. Decisions by the President of UKE, the Chairperson of KRRiT, or other regulators may place certain restrictions on the way in which our business can be run
The President of UKE supervises our telecommunications operations, as well as TV broadcasting and production. As part of our telecommunications services, we mainly provide mobile voice services, broadband Internet access as well as certain wholesale services to other operators. Telecommunications enterprises operating in Poland are subject to a number of legal and administrative requirements having a direct impact on their business, both in relations with individual and business customers (for instance, by specifying the scope of customers' rights or the content of standard terms and conditions for the provision of telecommunications services, setting caps for pricing of international roaming services, or restricting the maximum time for which contracts can be concluded with customers) and wholesale customers (for instance, by imposing MTR caps or defining caps for rates used in roaming traffic settlements). Our TV production and broadcasting segment is in turn overseen by the President of UKE for compliance with the terms of licences and frequency allocations assigned by the President of UKE for the purposes of TV broadcasting services. We cannot give any assurance that we will be able to meet the numerous requirements imposed on us by the Polish Telecommunications Law. In the event of our non-compliance with any provisions of the Telecommunications Law, we may face a fine from the President of UKE of up to 3% of our revenue generated in the year proceeding the year in which such fine is imposed
The KRRiT regulations affect most of all the TV production and broadcasting segments. As a TV broadcaster operating in Poland, we have to observe a number of legal and administrative requirements related to such matters as broadcasting time, programming content, and advertisements. Furthermore, KRRiT undertakes regular checks to ensure that our operations conform to the terms of our broadcasting licences, provisions of the Polish Act on Television and Radio Broadcasting, and its own internal guidelines. There can be no assurance that we will be able to satisfy numerous regulatory requirements imposed on our TV production and broadcasting segment under the relevant licences. In the event of our non-compliance with any applicable regulations, we may face a fine from KRRiT of up to 50% of the annual fee for the right to use a given frequency
The regulatory regime for the broadcasting industry is subject to frequent changes, and so there can be no assurance that such future changes will not have an adverse effect on our channel mix, ability to attract advertisers or the way in which our business is run.
In future, our DTH business may be subject to zoning, environmental or other regulations that will place restrictions on where satellite antennas may be deployed. We may also have to deal with pressures from local communities regarding deployment of our satellite antennas. Any such legal restrictions or conflicts with local communities related to the deployment of our satellite antennas may render our DTH services less attractive, leading to a fall in customer numbers.
Non-compliance with valid law or with the regulations issued by regulatory bodies may have material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or prospects.
Operations of companies belonging to Polsat Group are subject to a number of legal regulations and requirements of awarded frequency allocations which could be amended in the future.
As a mobile telecommunications network operator, Polkomtel is subject to a number of laws and regulations, in particular those regulating maximum rates charged for specific telecommunications services, those related to ensuring effective competition, non-discrimination, transparency in telecommunication services prices, reporting, data protection and national security. Any potential breach of the applicable laws or terms of frequency allocations may in certain cases result in imposition of penalties on Polkomtel or other companies from Polsat Group, loss of reputation, inability to obtain new frequency allocations or even loss of current frequency allocations. Furthermore, future changes in our Group’s regulatory environment may be disadvantageous to our business, for instance by increasing its costs
An important and active role in ensuring the observance of telecommunications laws and regulations by entities operating in the telecommunications market in Poland is played by the regulators of the Polish telecommunications market, including in particular the President of the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE). The President of UKE has a number of regulatory and supervisory powers, including those with respect to provision of electronic communications services and managing radio frequency and orbital slot resources. If the President of UKE was to declare that Polkomtel breached a provision of the Telecommunications Law, the company could be forced to pay a fine of up to 3% of the revenue it generated in the year prior to the imposition of the fine and it could be prohibited from providing further telecommunications services in Poland.
The President of UKE may also designate one or more network operators to guarantee the provision of universal services (including voice and broadband access, and customer network access) which may then apply to the President of UKE to be compensated by the other telecommunications operators, including Polkomtel, on the justified net costs basis.
The Minister Digitization supervises the telecommunication market in Poland. The powers of the Minister of Digitization include the power to issue regulations concerning, among other things, tenders and contests for the allocation of frequencies, charges for using the domestic numbering resources, the telecommunications charge, specific requirements for the provision of telecommunications access and regulatory accounting and calculations of costs of services, as well as the quality of telecommunications services and the complaint process. Polkomtel's operations are also supervised by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, General Inspector for the Protection of Personal Data, and other agencies
No assurance can be given that Polkomtel will be able to meet all the requirements that have been or might be imposed on it under the Polish or EU laws or regulations, or all the terms and conditions of the frequency allocations granted to Polkomtel, or that it will be able to comply with all the laws or terms of frequency allocations applicable to its business, and that it will not be exposed to costs, penalties, sanctions or claims as a result of potential violation of such requirements or laws that, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
No assurance can be given that we will not breach any personal data protection laws or regulations, or that we will not fail to meet requirements imposed by the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data.
As part of our activities, we collect, store and use customer data which is subject to legal protection under the Act on Personal Data Protection. Ineffectiveness of the personal data protection solutions applied by us may lead to disclosure of customers' personal data as a result of a human error, premeditated unlawful act by a third party or failure of IT systems, or may otherwise lead to improper use of such data. Any infringement of the personal data protection laws or regulations, or any failure to comply with the requirements imposed by the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data may result in fines being imposed on us or in loss of customer confidence, and consequently may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or development prospects.
We use third-party suppliers and cooperate with external partners, agents, suppliers and other third parties, and therefore we are not able to eliminate the risk of failure of the systems used to store sensitive information at, or transfer such information to or from, such entities. Any infringement of the personal data protection laws or regulations by us or by these entities may result in the imposition of fines, loss of reputation or loss of customers, and in effect have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations or development prospects