How to set up a detective office - practical advice

Service Business

Currently, there are several hundred licensed detectives in Poland. Working as a detective can be very interesting for people looking for a new challenge. This profession arouses great interest, but not everyone has the predisposition to become a detective. It is worth checking what conditions must be met in order to be able to open your own detective office. How to set up a detective office?

General characteristics of a detective office

Running a business in which detective services are provided entitles the entrepreneur to process personal data without the consent of the data subjects. The entrepreneur may not, however, entrust the processing of data to another entity, except for a detective performing activities for this entrepreneur. In addition, after the end of the case, the entrepreneur is obliged to destroy the personal data previously processed.

Apart from the aforementioned exception concerning the rules of processing personal data, persons engaged in detective activity have the same rights as any other citizen. Detectives are therefore not empowered to search people, premises and vehicles, or to identify persons in order to identify them.

Persons engaged in detective activities are obliged to keep the source of information and the circumstances of the case in connection with the performance of the contract concluded with the client secret. The release from secrecy may only be granted on the principles set out in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Preliminary requirements for running a detective office

In order to be able to operate in the field of detective services, an entrepreneur is obliged to:

  • have a license:

  1. in the case of activities performed in person, the license must be held by the entrepreneur or a representative appointed by him,
  2. in the case of an entrepreneur who is not a natural person - licenses must be held by at least one person authorized to represent the entrepreneur or a representative appointed by the entrepreneur to manage the detective activity,

  • conclude a civil liability insurance contract for damages caused during the performance of a detective's activities.

Additionally, an entrepreneur running a detective office may not appear in the register of insolvent debtors of the National Court Register and may not be punished for intentional crimes or intentional fiscal crimes. Persons who are members of the entrepreneur's management body and proxies appointed by this body cannot be punished for the above-mentioned crimes.

Investigation activities belong to the sphere of regulated activities and require an entry in the register of detective activities kept by the Minister of the Interior.

Who can apply for detective licenses?

A person who can apply for a detective's license:

  • has Polish citizenship or the citizenship of another EU Member State or is entitled to, on the basis of international agreements or EU law, the right to take up employment or perform economic activity in the territory of the Republic of Poland,

  • is over 21 years old,

  • has at least secondary education,

  • has full legal capacity,

  • has not been convicted by a final judgment for an intentional crime or an intentional fiscal crime,

  • has not been disciplinarily dismissed from the Police, Border Guard, Internal Security Agency, Foreign Intelligence Agency, Government Protection Bureau, army, public prosecutor's office, court or other public administration office in the Republic of Poland or another country during the last 5 years,

  • has a positive opinion of the poviat (district, city) commander of the Police competent for her place of residence, prepared on the basis of the currently available information by the Police or - in the case of a citizen of another state - by an authority of the appropriate level and competence of the state, competent for her place of residence ,

  • has the mental capacity to perform activities confirmed by a medical certificate,

  • has a document confirming completion of training in the field of personal data protection, protection of classified information, provisions regulating the rights and obligations of a detective and the principles of conducting business activity in the field of detective services.


At the beginning of 2014, the obligation to pass the state examination in order to obtain a detective's license was abolished.

What should you remember when running a detective office?

An entrepreneur providing detective services is obliged to:

  • keep the written form of contracts relating to the conducted business activity in the field of detective services,

  • keep and keep records of employed detectives as well as concluded and implemented contracts,

  • present this documentation at the request of the authority authorized to inspect.

A licensed detective is additionally obliged to undergo periodic medical and psychological examinations (not more often than once every 5 years, unless the medical certificate indicates a different date for the next examination or it was dictated by the detective's inability to work due to his illness lasting longer than 6 months, or if such a request was made by the employer or the Voivodship Police Commander)

Acceptable forms of running a detective office

As a rule, a detective office can be run under any form of activity, the only exception is a partnership. A detective office can therefore prosper as a sole proprietorship, civil partnership, general partnership, limited partnership, limited joint-stock partnership, limited liability company. or in the form of a joint stock company. However, the most frequently chosen form of running a detective office is a sole proprietorship or activity in the form of partnerships.

How to set up a detective office?

When opening a detective office, you must register your activity in CEIDG, or in the case of choosing a form of business other than sole proprietorship or civil law partnership - in the National Court Register.

The entrepreneur is also obliged to submit a written application for entry into the register of detective activities kept by the Minister of the Interior.

As a rule, a person running a business who intends to sell goods or services subject to VAT, must submit a VAT-R form no later than on the day preceding the commencement of the sale. The said form is used to register the entrepreneur as an active or exempt taxpayer of value added tax. The completed form should be delivered to the tax office competent for the place of business.

In the case of providing services to natural persons, it is necessary to consider the purchase of a cash register after the turnover of PLN 20,000 is exceeded.

PKD designation for a detective office

Basic PKD for a detective office: 80.30.Z detective activity.

The best form of taxation for a detective agency

In the case of running a detective office, the entrepreneur cannot choose the flat-rate form of taxation. Income tax on detective services provided by natural persons or partnerships may be paid only on general principles according to the tax scale or on a straight-line basis at the 19% rate.

Taxation according to the scale may be profitable when the entrepreneur does not expect to exceed the first tax threshold (PLN 85,528 of income). In the case of taxation under general rules, the taxpayer has the option of taking advantage of many reliefs, which cannot be used by the flat taxpayer (e.g. pro-family relief or joint settlement with the spouse). However, when paying a flat tax, an entrepreneur, regardless of the amount of income earned, always pays a 19% tax.

Therefore, in order to select the most favorable form of taxation for a detective office, it is necessary to analyze not only the expected revenues and costs, but also the private situation of the taxpayer.

If, on the other hand, a decision is made that the detective activity should be carried out in the form of a legal partnership (sp. Z o. O., Joint-stock partnership) or in the form of a limited joint-stock partnership, the enterprise automatically becomes a CIT taxpayer.

Detective office with or without VAT

Due to the fact that the offer of detective offices is addressed mainly to private individuals who cannot deduct VAT on purchases, it is worth taking advantage of the VAT exemption.

In the case of persons starting their business activity, subjective VAT exemption is available by operation of law. Entrepreneurs entitled to take advantage of this exemption do not have to submit any declarations informing the tax office about their selection.

Contributions to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) of the detective office

If the detective office is run in the form of a sole proprietorship, a sole proprietorship limited liability company. or a civil law partnership, general partnership or limited partnership, the entrepreneur is obliged to register himself with the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) for insurance. Each partner of the aforementioned companies is a premium payer for his own insurance. The sum of contributions without voluntary sickness insurance (with contributions to the Labor Fund) currently amounts to PLN 1,061.91. If the taxpayer decides to take out voluntary sickness insurance, the amount of his monthly ZUS contributions will be PLN 1,121.52 (including the contribution to the Labor Fund). Calculated for themselves, as a person conducting non-agricultural activity, the contributions for individual types of insurance should be accounted for by entrepreneurs in the settlement declaration (ZUS DRA form).


Persons who start running a sole proprietorship in the first 24 months are entitled to take advantage of the so-called preferential social security contributions. Persons using the preferential ZUS rates are also not obliged to pay the Labor Fund.


However, running a detective office in the form of a multi-person limited liability company, limited joint-stock partnership or joint-stock partnership does not constitute a title to any insurance in ZUS. These companies, by themselves, are not subject to social and health insurance. However, they are contribution payers when hiring employees

Company account for a detective office

As a rule, the regulations do not explicitly indicate the obligation for an entrepreneur to have a separate company account. All payments can also be made through the entrepreneur's personal account. It is important that its owner is only an entrepreneur - it is impossible to use a joint account for spouses.

In the case of a detective office, it is worth considering setting up a separate account for the company, because banks offer much more favorable solutions in the case of business accounts than for individual accounts. However, if most of the transactions will be paid in cash (due to the nature of the industry it is the most popular form of payment), it is not necessary to set up a separate account for the company.

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What housing conditions for a detective office

As a rule, there are no specific requirements regarding the housing conditions for a detective office. Carrying out detective services, however, may involve the possession of weapons, which, however, should be properly stored. Pursuant to the regulations, weapons and ammunition should be stored in a way that prevents access by unauthorized persons. The holder of the weapon and ammunition should store them in metal cassettes permanently attached to the structural elements of the building or metal cabinets or safes with certified locks.

Marketing of a detective office

In the case of running a detective office, you should not count on word of mouth marketing, as hardly anyone will be willing to share with others information about using the services of a private investigator. So everything is in the hands of the entrepreneur. However, all forms of advertising that could link the office's activities with individuals should certainly be avoided. The most important thing in a detective's activity is anonymity.

Detective offices can post their ads, for example on the Internet, on dedicated portals or set up their own professional website. Traditional paper-based advertisements posted in dedicated places in the city can also be a good method. It would be good for a passer-by to easily detach the part with the contact number attached.