- Russian Tax Code
The Russian Tax Code is the primary tax law for the
Russian Federation. The Code was created, adopted and implemented in three stages. Part One, enacted July 31, 1998, also referred to as "General Part", regulates relationships between taxpayers, tax agents, tax-collecting authorities and legislators: tax auditprocedures, resolution of disputes and enforcement of law. Part Two, enacted on August 5, 2000, defines specific taxes, rates, payment schedules and detailed procedures for calculation of taxes. It was significantly amended in 2001-2003 with additions like the new corporate profit tax section and the new simplified tax system for small businesses. The Code is subject to regular changes which are effected through federal laws.
The Code is designed as a complete national system for federal, regional and local taxes but excludes customs tariffs. Rules and rates of regional and local taxation must conform to the framework established by the Code. Taxes or levies not listed explicitly by the Code or enacted in violation of its specific provisions are deemed illegal and void. [Тax Code, article 3 p.5.]
Russian tax system tends to use moderate, flat or
regressive taxrates. It is highly centralized for a federal stateand relies heavily on proceeds from oil and natural gas corporations. In 2006 tax burden on oil companies exceeded 45% of net sales (compared to 12% in constructionand 16.5% in telecommunications). [Doing business in Russia 2008, p. 47, citing official state statistics for 2006] Rates for oil-related taxes and tariffs, unlike regular taxes, are set not by Tax Code but by government decrees. Russian Ministry of Finance estimates that revenues regulated by the Tax Code will account for 68% of federal revenue in 2008 fiscal year, rising to 73% in 2010.ru icon Ministry of finance of Russia. Key parameters of federal budget for 2008-2010 [http://www1.minfin.ru/common/img/uploaded/library/2007/03/ohfb08-10.zip] ]
Taxation in Russia before the Code
Prior to enactment of the Code, Russian tax legislation was based on an incomplete patchwork of laws enacted in the last years of the
Soviet Union(notably, the 1990 laws on personal and corporate income taxes), the 1991 law "On the framework of tax system in Russian Federation" and subsequent federal, regional and local laws and executive decrees; the underlying Soviet rules of accountingand business practices remained largely unchanged. Taxation in 1992-1998 was substantially decentralised: regional and local authorities were entitled to invent their own taxes, or could, on the contrary, create tax havens for "domestic off-shores".
The need to re-centralise and streamline tax system through a unified Tax Code was vocally expressed by
Boris Yeltsinin his February, 1995 presidential address. [Boris Yeltsin. Presidential address to the Federal Assembly, February 16, 1995 [http://www.intelros.ru/2007/02/05/poslanie_prezidenta_rosii_borisa_elcina_federalnomu_sobraniju_rf_o_dejjstvennosti_gosudarstvennojj_vlasti_v_rossii_1995_god.html] ] Yeltsin declared that the Code's objective is to promote investments in manufacturing, at the same time fully enforcing collection of budgeted taxes, and specifically demanded abolition of arbitrary tax preferences and tax evasionloopholes. He admitted, however, that the state has no clearly formulated approaches to important taxation problems - these had to be resolved in 1995-1996. One year later, Yeltsin reiterated the call to curtail "new technologies" of tax evasion and regional "tax voluntarism". He openly admitted that forthcoming enactment of the Code is only a start, that the government-sponsored draft was incomplete and the proposed tax rates - excessive. [Boris Yeltsin. Presidential address to the Federal Assembly, February 23, 1996 [http://www.intelros.ru/2007/02/05/poslanie_prezidenta_rosii_borisa_elcina_federalnomu_sobraniju_rf_rossija_za_kotoruju_my_v_otvete_1996_god.html] ]
The only tax law enacted in this period and still effective in 2008 is the individual property tax (1991, with subsequent amendments). Individual property tax is explicitly authorized by the Code but the full text exists as a standalone law. [Tax Code, article 15]
Enactment of Part One
Government of Russiapresented first official draft of Part One to State Dumain February 1996, [Resolution of Government of Russia, February 2, 1996 No. 114-p] four months prior to the 1996 presidential election; Part Two was presented in April 1997. [Resolution of Government of Russia, April 30, 1997 No. 585-p] The bill was sponsored and supervised by Sergey Shatalov, then deputy Minister of Finance. Resolution of conflicts and inconsistencies of the bill took more than a year, and on July 19, 1997 the Duma passed the first hearing approval of the bill (due process requires three stages, or hearings). [Resolution of State Duma, June 19, 1997 No. 1575-II ГД] In June-October Duma accumulated over 4,500 proposed amendments to the bill, making further progress impractical. [Smith, p.30] In October 1997 Duma and Government clashed over the federal budgetfor 1998 fiscal year, and the Government recalled the bill to appease its adversaries. When this collision was over, the Duma refused to come back to the old bill; Yury Luzhkov, major opponent of centralized tax collection, declared that "the tax code is already dead. It stinks".Smith, p.31]
The Duma restarted the process, inviting competing, alternative drafts to be filed by January 31, 1998. [Resolution of State Duma, 19 November 1997 No. 1903-II ГД] When the deadline came, the Duma received ten alternative drafts, as well as the new government version; this time it was sponsored by the Minister of Finance Mikhail Zadornov and his deputy
Mikhail Motorin. They made it clear that any alternative draft would be vetoed by the President, at the same time bidding to incorporate the sensible ideas from the competing drafts. April 16, 1998 the Duma finally chose the Government draft over the alternatives with a 312 to 18 vote.Smith, p.31]
Enactment of the Code was hastened by the imminent
Russian financial crisis. Sergei Kiriyenko, appointed Prime Minister in April 1998, included the Code into the governmental anti-crisis package. Yeltsin threatened to impose the Code by decree if Duma fails to enact it quickly. [en icon David Hoffman. Yeltsin Demands Action on Economy // Washington PostForeign Service, June 24, 1998 [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/russiagov/stories/economy062498.htm] ] July 16, 1998 Duma discarded budget-balancing proposals, [en icon Sharon LaFraniere. Key Yeltsin Reforms Fail in Parliament // Washington PostForeign Service, July 18, 1998 [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/russiagov/stories/reform081898.htm] ] but approved the third, and final, hearing on Part One; [Resolution of State Duma, July 16, 1998 No. 2813-II ГД] the next day it was stamped by Federation Counciland finally signed by the President July 31, 1998 (to be effective since January 1, 1999 with certain exclusions). [Federal Law dated July 31, 2008 no.146-ФЗ] It was officially published in Rossiyskaya Gazetaon August 6. Anti-crisis actions failed, and on August 17, 1998 Russia defaulted on its government bonds.
Enactment of Part Two
While Part One was instrumental in re-designing day-to-day relationships between taxpayers and the State, it did not address specific taxes, thus in 1999-2000 the taxpayers still carried the burden of multiple taxes and excessive rates. Part Two, implemented under
Vladimir Putin(enacted in August 2000, effective January 1, 2001), radically addressed these problems. Most notably, Part Two promulgated a flat and low 13% personal income tax rate, and replaced various social contributions with a regressive unified social tax (UST). In 2001 collection of reduced personal income tax actually increased by 26% (adjusted for inflation). Tax compliance improved; an estimated one third of previously untaxed jobs were legalized, although economists cannot separate effects of tax rates from those of general economic recovery and improved law enforcement. [en icon Anne Ivanova; Michael Keen; and Alexander Klemm. The Russian 'flat tax' reform // Economic Policy, Vol. 20, No. 43, pp. 397-444, June 2005.] [en icon Gorodnichenko, Yuriy; Jorge Martinez-Vazquez; and Klara Sabirianova Peter. Lessons from the Russia’s 2001 Flat Tax Reform. VOX EU, February 19, 2008 [http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/941] ]
Commitment to abolish sales-based taxes was reassured with abolition of municipal housing tax (2000) and, eventually, road tax and retail sales tax (2003). To compensate the resulting drop in municipal revenue, Putin temporarily increased corporate profit tax rates for 2001 to 35% (43% for banks); the framework of profit taxation had yet to be redefined.
Major amendments and revisions
The second, and probably most important, stage of Putin's tax reforms - "Chapter 25" of the Code dealing with corporate profit tax - was enacted in August 2001 (effective January 1, 2002). Tax rate was decreased to 24% for all taxpayers; dividend taxation decreased to 6% (15% for non-residents); at the same time, the Code abolished numerous tax breaks arbitrarily issued in prior years. Chapter 25 also instituted a special set of accounting rules for profit tax purposes; the businesses could choose either to harmonize their statutory and tax accounting or maintain double sets of books. In reality, gaps between statutory and tax accounting persist to date (August 2008), precluding complete harmonization of two accounting systems.
In December 2001 legislators created simplified tax system for agriculture. [Federal law dated December 29, 2001 No.187-ФЗ; Tax Code, chapter 26.1] A string of amendments in July 2002 resulted in present-day simplified tax system for small businesses, imputed tax on retail operations, [Federal law dated July 24, 2002 No.104-ФЗ; Tax Code, Chapters 26.2, 26.3] and redesigned taxation of private and corporate motor vehicles. [Federal law dated July 24, 2002 No.110-ФЗ; Tax Code, chapter 28]
On January 1, 2004 VAT rate was decreased from 20% to 18%, [Federal law dated July 7, 2003 No. 117-ФЗ] which remains effective to date (August 2008). In 2007-2008 Putin, both as President and later a prime minister, promoted a decrease VAT rate to 12% by 2010; [Russia's tax reform sees VAT cut to 12-13 pct.
Reuters, March 16, 2008 [http://www.reuters.com/article/companyNews/idUSN1649151420080316] ] this proposal is supported by Putin's allies like Sergey Chemezov[ru icon Chemezov demands VAT decrease to 12% // Kommersant, August 14, 2008 [http://www.gazeta.ru/news/business/2008/08/14/n_1256763.shtml] ] and Minister of Economics Elvira Nabiullina. Minister of finance Alexey Kudrinopposes the change due to the need to finance the Pension Fund and rearmament of Russian troops. [ru icon Minfin heads to his last fight for VAT // Izvestia, August 4, 2008 [http://izvestiya.ru/economic/article3119104/] ]
On January 1, 2005 Russia finally abolished tax on advertising - the last remaining relic of early 1990s.
The government slowly but regularly increases
excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, gasolineand motor oil; current Code provides a detailed plan for raising the rates until 2010 fiscal year. [Tax code, article 193.1]
In the wake of
2008 Russian financial crisis, September 18, 2008, Russian Ministry of Finance declared the short-term policy of tax changes:
* VAT rate for 2008 will remain fixed at 18%;
* By the end of 2008, unified social tax should be either raised or totally redesigned to help balance the social expenditure. [en icon Kudrin says decision on VAT reduction delayed till 2009 [http://www.prime-tass.com/news/show.asp?topicid=0&id=444551] ] In October 2008 the government agreed on changing UST mechanism and rate curve, effectively disbanding the "unified" tax into separate payments. All wages and salaries up to 415,000 roubles (16,210 US dollars) per year will be subject to 26% pension contribution; income in excess of 415,000 roubles is not taxable. Adding other social contributions, maximum marginal rate rises to 34%.en icon Putin's Pension Talk Scares Businesses. The Moscow Times, October 2, 2008 [http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1010/42/371368.htm] ]
Distinction between "federal", "regional" and "local" taxes depends on the lowest level of legislature that is entitled to establish tax rates. Rates of federal taxes, by definition, are explicitly set by the Tax Code; rates of regional taxes are limited by the Code but set by regional laws. Classification of a specific tax as federal does not mean that it is used by federal authority alone. For example, personal income tax is a federal tax, but is traditionally 100% remitted to regional governments; federal corporate profit tax is split into federal and regional shares defined by the Code.
Value added tax (VAT) is the largest source of federal revenue (32% in 2008).MFT] VAT on imports (13% of federal revenue) is paid at 18% (10% on selected foodstuffs) prior to releasing cargoes from the bonded customs warehouse. VAT on domestic revenues is calculated as the difference of VAT on sales (at the earliest of cash receipt or shipment of goods on credit) and input VAT on accrued costs. VAT paid to suppliers that has not yet materialized into services or goods received cannot be immediately credited against current tax liability. VAT paid to suppliers that relates to export sales can be refunded by the government in full "if" the seller receives payment for exports within 6 months of shipment. In practice, refund of export VAT has become a major source of fraud; on the contrary, law-abiding exporters have to resort to court action against the state to get the refund.
VAT exemption extends to socially-targeted companies in medicine,
pharmaceutical industry, education, public housing and transportation; sales of private homes and apartments; traditional bankingand insuranceservices; sales of exclusive copyrighton software, integrated circuittopologies and similar high technology contracts.
Ineligibility for VAT credit is a very common charge by tax authorities and subsequent litigation. One of the most controversial tax ruling on the subject, seriously worsening corporate tax liabilities, was issued in April 2004 by the
Constitutional Court of Russia, only to be revoked by Supreme Arbitrage Court in December 2004. [en icon Ruling of Supreme Arbitrage Court of December 2004 - closing the book or opening the new chapter? // KPMG, January 19, 2005 [http://www.kpmg.ru/dbfetch/52616e646f6d4956aa696138620b0f902a691a80bf58cd43/russia_tax_news_1_eng.pdf] ] Federal Tax Service resolved the same case only one year later. [en icon The tax authorities have explained how to pay VAT // KPMG, January 20, 2006 [http://www.kpmg.ru/dbfetch/52616e646f6d4956e8b9ac5b9126b4398bfa8a7a549a1924/russia_tax_news_n_01_2006.pdf] ]
Tax on mineral resource extraction (MRET) is the second largest source of federal revenue regulated by the Code; most of it is paid by oil companies. Determination of tax rate for oil (per metric ton) is delegated to the government; its formula refers to world market prices (same for all domestic producers) and a "depletion factor", specific to each individual oil field. The latter has been regularly criticized as a source of corruption and unfair competitive advantage. New oil fields in
Sakha, Irkutsk Oblast, Krasnoyarsk Kraiare exempt from MRET altogether.
Rates for other mineral resources are set in the Code as a fixed percentage of their market value (from 3.8% for to 17.5% for
gas condensate) or, in case of natural gas, at a fixed rouble amount per volume. The tax is accrued and paid monthly based on physically extracted tonnage, not sales. A related but separate Water tax is paid by organizations physically extracting surface or subterranean fresh water, as well as by hydroelectric powerplants and timber raftingloggers.
Corporate profit tax (CPT) is the largest source of regional revenues. Tax rate of 24% is split: 6.5% is remitted to federal government, while 17.5% remains in the regions. Numerous past limitations related to deductibility of expenses were gradually eliminated in the years following enactment of "Chapter 25", and as of August, 2008 practically all business expenses are fully deductible. However, the Code retains a principal statement that deductible expenses must be "economically justified and properly evidenced with documents"; [Tax Code, article 252 p.1] what is justified and what is not, is decided by the tax authorities. Taxpayers resolve disputes through court litigation; resolutions of upper-tier Arbitrage Courts, clarifying gray areas of tax accounting, form a separate layer of tax environment that augments the Code.
Double taxationof dividends is completely eliminated when a Russian shareholder owns at least 50% of Russian or foreign subsidiarypaying dividends (excluding foreign entities located in tax havenjurisdictions) for at least 365 days "and" the investment is worth more than 500 million roubles. All other dividends received by Russian shareholders are subject to 9% tax. [Tax Code, article 284]
Excise tax is levied on manufacturers of raw and refined
alcohol, alcoholic drinks stronger than 1.5% by volume, including beer; gasolineand diesel fuel, motor oils; passenger cars and motorcycleswith engines in excess of 150 h.p.; tobaccoproducts. The Code also regulates strict licensing rules for oil refineries and alcohol distillers. Rates are set progressively increasing until 2010 fiscal years; by 2010, share of excise taxes in retail price of a typical cigarette pack will reach 15..30% - still less than its European counterpart. [Calculation based on rates per Tax Code, article 193.1 and MSRP range of 15 to 50 roubles] Since 2007, cigarettes are taxed based on a percentage of manufacturers' suggested retail price; [Tax Code, article 187.1 defines MSRP as "maximum" retail price; in fact it is "the" price.] this novelty made MSRP a mandatory element of each cigarette pack and quickly led to government-induced price fixingin retail.
Unified social tax (UST) combines previously separate contributions to Pension Fund, Social Security Fund and medical insurance. Mandatory workplace accident insurance, enacted later, is not part of UST or the Tax Code. Basically, UST is accrued on all employer-to-employee payments which are deductible for profit tax purposes; non-deductible payments like
dividendsor charityare not subject to UST. [Tax Code, article 236 p.3] Pensions, severance pay, compensation of travel expenses are not taxable. The rate is highly regressive: annual income up to 280,000 roubles is taxed at 26%; marginal rate for income above 600,000 roubles is only 2%. Rates in agriculture and in special high technology parks are lower. Note, however, that a significant part of mandatory contributions to Pension Fund is not included in UST. Deficitin the Pension Fund [en icon Douglas Busvine. Welfare the big idea for Russia's Medvedev // Reuters, January 16, 2008 [http://www.eeg.ru/files/eeginpr/prbase/08-01-16-1.pdf?PHPSESSID=494430573fce1678d66bfeb3fdf9ce26] ] have caused frequent calls to increase UST rates or switch from regressive to flat rates. Most recent proposal for a flat UST was initiated in July 2008 by INSOR, Dmitry Medvedev's think tank[ru icon UST flat rate? // Vedomosti, July 31, 2008 [http://www.vedomosti.ru/newspaper/article.shtml?2008/07/31/156828] ] [ru icon President's expert begin shipping // Kommersant, July 31, 2008, [http://kommersant.ru/doc.aspx?DocsID=917605] ] and further detailed in Putin's proposals made October 1, 2008.
Personal income tax (PIT) is levied strictly individually (no joint filing), normally at 13%. Tax on wages and salaries is withheld by employer, thus the taxpayers whose only taxable income was paid by employer do not need to file tax return - unless they elect to claim refund for
itemized deductions. Most important deductions are allowed for home purchase (once a life), education and medical expenses; all deductions require scrupulous backup paperwork and are subject to various limitations. Tax return filing is mandatory for registered entrepreneurs and professionals (lawyers, notaries, etc.), sellers of any personal assets and recipients of other income. Out of 10,4 million registered residents of Moscow, only 94 thousand filed tax returns for 2006 fiscal year, 105 thousand for 2007. [ru icon Tax returns filed to Moscow authorities increased by 12% // Prime-TASS, April 29, 2008 [http://www.prime-tass.ru/news/show.asp?id=780138&ct=news] ] State pensions, alimonies are normally not taxable, as well as bank interest (unless it exceeds refinancing rateset by Central Bank of Russia).
Gains from sale of assets are not taxable if the seller owned the asset for more than 3 years. Otherwise, these capital gains are included in gross income taxable at 13%. A special tax rate of 35% applies to lottery and gambling wins and excess of bank interest received over the threshold interest computed using refinancing rate. Real interest rates are usually below the threshold, and effectively tax free.
PIT withheld by employer is remitted to the region of employer's registration, "not" the region of employee's residence. This has been subject to constant critique by governments of
Moscow Oblast, Tver Oblastand Leningrad Oblast, who are net exporters of suburban manpower to Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In March 2008 Moscow Oblast initiated a federal bill intended to change the system in favor of suburban territories. [ru icon Personal income tax will relocate // Rossiyskaya Gazeta, March 18, 2008 [http://www.rg.ru/2008/03/18/podohodniy.html] ]
Other federal taxes prescribed by the Code are Tax on animal and water wildlife, levied upon licensed hunters and fisheries, and
stamp duty(fee), most notably the ad valoremduty required to start a civil litigationin state courts.
In 2007, Ministry of Finance estimated that different taxes will generate federal revenues as follows:MFT] [Note that the table excludes regional and local revenues (thus there's no PIT or asset-based taxes), Pension Fund and medical insurance contributions (thus no UST).]
Regional and local taxes
All regional and local taxes in Russia are
asset-related: property tax, vehicle tax, land tax and tax on gambling businesses. These taxes are assessed and paid " in re" and exact tax rates are set by regional (property, vehicles, gambling) or municipal (land) legislators within the Code's framework.
Corporate property tax or, to be precise, tax on
fixed assets, is assessed on year-averaged book value of all fixed assets "excluding" land (which is subject to separate land tax). Nuclear energyassets, space satellites, church property and other itemized assets are specifically exempt from taxation. [Tax Code, chapter 30, article 381] Maximum rate is limited at 2.2% annually; regional authorities can introduce varying rates depending on types of taxpayers and assets. [Tax Code, chapter 30, article 380] This leaves a loophole for setting disguised individual preferences, outlawed by the Code.
Land tax is the only "local tax" in Russia: its rates are set by lowest level municipal authorities (excluding federal cities of
Moscowand Saint Petersburg, where the rates are set by city legislators). Maximum rate cannot exceed 0.3% on lands zoned for agriculture, housing and dachas, and 1.5% on other lands. Forest reserves and bodies of water are exempt from taxation. Taxable value of land is periodically reviewed by official land registrars and is substantially below market prices. Unlike corporate property tax, land tax is also paid by individual taxpayers.
Vehicle tax is levied annually on owners of motor vehicles and trailers, ships and aircraft. Commercial ships and aircraft operated by transportation companies, agricultural, military vehicles and ambulances are exempt from taxation. The Code establishes maximum tax rates tied to engine power; regional authorities are entitled to set regional rates within these limits. Rates are steeply progressive for road vehicles. [Tax Code, chapter 28] For example, in 2009 fiscal year the city of
Moscowwill levy 700 roubles on a 100 h.p. passenger car, 2400 roubles on 120 h.p., 12,000 roubles on 200 h.p. and 45,000 roubles on 300 h.p. [Moscow City law on vehicle tax, July 9, 2008 No. 33] Taxation does not depend on emission levels.
Tax on gambling businesses is paid by registered gambling outlets at a flat rate per each table,
slot machineor bookmaker's cash desk. The Code provides both minimum and maximum rate limits (1:5 ratio), thus prohibiting establishment of local tax-free gambling. For example, one slot machine is taxed at 1,500-7,500 roubles a year, one table at 25,000-125,000 roubles a year. Note that according to a 2006 law on regulation of gambling, on July 1, 2009 gambling in Russia will be banned, except in four specially designated gambling areas in remote regions. [Federal law "On state regulation of organization and management of gambling...", ch.5 and 9] Online gamblingis banned altogether. [Federal law "On state regulation of organization and management of gambling...", ch.5]
pecial taxation frameworks
The set of specific federal and regional corporate taxes outlined above (i.e. corporate income tax, VAT, property tax, UST etc.), which by default is mandatory for all corporate taxpayers and registered individual entrepreneurs, is known as "General taxation system". There are, however, three alternative tax systems that replace the bulk of above taxes with a simplified procedure:
Imputed taxation applies to specific, typically small business, activities involving trading with general public in cash: small retail and food service outlets, hotels, repair shops, taxi companies etc. Imputed tax, at rates set by local authorities (per
square meterof shop space, per vehicle etc.) replaces regular CPT, VAT, UST and property tax. All eligible businesses "must" use imputed taxation. The law is also mandatory for eligible parts of larger corporations, even if they are individually insignificant. For example, a cafeteria of a large steel mill is usually considered a subject of imputed tax and the mill must account for it as a separate taxable unit (the core business remains on terms of general taxation system).
Simplified taxation system applies to small businesses with annual sales less than 15,000,000 roubles. Banks, insurers, foreign companies, certain other professions and businesses with assets exceeding 100,000,000 roubles are not eligible. The unified tax for small businesses replaces regular CPT, VAT, UST and property tax. Unified tax is levied either on gross receipts at 6%, or on gross margins at 15%; the choice of either option, is made by the taxpayer. Simplified system prescribes a specific set of accounting rules, thus "gross receipts" and "gross margins" of eligible businesses are, usually, higher than they would be under general accounting and taxation systems.
An eligible business "can" elect either simplified or general taxation system at will (with certain timing restrictions, usually once a year, in December). If the business loses eligibility at any time during the year, it continues operating under simplified system until the end of the year, and then must recalculate its tax obligations under general taxation system from the moment it became ineligible. The system does not allow taxpayers to pass prepaid input VAT to their customers; such customers who are VAT payers are unable to refund any VAT paid downstream. As a result, businesses engaged in
B2Btransactions prefer to use general taxation system.
Taxation system for agriculture (including animal farms and fisheries) also replaces regular CPT, VAT, UST and property tax with a flat unified tax levied at 6% on gross margins, with its own unique set of accounting rules. There are no limitations on size of the business as long as at least 70% of its income is generated by sales of own farm produce.
Note that all VAT exemptions outlined in special frameworks apply only to VAT on domestic sales. VAT on imports is payable by all importers regardless of their tax framework. Likewise, the mandatory insurance premiums payable to
Pension Fund of Russiaare not considered part of UST and are payable by all employers.
Finally, a Product-sharing agreement framework applies to a very limited list of joint state-private enterprises, typically in oil extraction.
Taxation of foreigners and foreign investments
Foreign individuals present in Russia for 183 days in a year or more are treated as local tax residents and are taxed at common 13% rates (9% for dividends). If they are present in Russia for less than 183 days, they are subject to 30% income tax (15% for dividends). Wages and salaries paid to foreigners in Russia are subject to standard UST tax.
Foreign tourists cannot recover VAT on purchases made in Russia.
Branches of foreign legal entities are subject to the rules of general taxation systems. Foreign companies can elect to use either Russian or their homeland accounting systems. [Doing business in Russia 2008, p.43] Cash transfers between a branch and overseas head office and back are not subject to withholding tax and are not considered taxable income or deductible expenses.
Payments to foreign companies that have no permanent establishment in Russia [Doing business in Russia, 2008, p.51 provides explanation on what constitutes permanent establishment for tax purposes] are subject to withholding tax at 10% on
leasepayments, 15% on dividends and 20% on all other payments other than payments for imported goods. These rates can be reduced through bilateral double taxation treaties.
Russian subsidiaries of foreign legal entities are treated as domestic taxpayers; unlike branches of foreign companies, cash transfers between subsidiary and its parent may be subject to withholding tax; cash transfers from parent to subsidiaries may be considered taxable income. Transfers and repayments of loans do not trigger immediate tax effects. However, a special
thin capitalizationrule penalizes subsidiaries of foreign shareholders if, instead of remitting after-tax dividends, they elect to pay interest on loans from shareholders. The Code effectively forces these companies to reclassify excessive interest into non-deductible dividends. [Tax Code, article 269 p.2] Deductibility of royaltiesand service fees remitted from Russia to foreign companies is frequently disputed by tax authorities and has been subject of high profile cases against subsidiaries of PricewaterhouseCoopers, [en icon Russia inspects PwC office over tax claims, YUKOS // Reuters, March 9, 2007 [http://www.reuters.com/article/companyNewsAndPR/idUSL0926680720070309?sp=true] ] Procter & Gambleand SABMiller. [en icon Procter & Gamble Russia faces $27 mln tax claim // RIA Novosti, March 28, 2008 [http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080328/102475867.html] ]
Russian Customs Tariff
* Tax Code of the Russian Federation, current version [http://www.garant.ru/main/10800200-001.htm]
* Moscow City law on vehicle tax, July 9, 2008 No. 33 [http://www.kadis.ru/texts/index.phtml?id=28939]
* Federal law "On state regulation of organization and management of gambling and changes to related legislation", December 29, 2006 [http://www.akdi.ru/GD/PROEKT/099504GD.SHTM]
* Gordon B. Smith. State-Building in Russia: The Yeltsin Legacy and the Challenge of the Future. Publisher: M. E. Sharpe, 1999. ISBN 0765602768, ISBN 9780765602763
* Doing business in Russia 2008.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2008 [http://www.pwc.com/extweb/pwcpublications.nsf/docid/E70BAEC31B0C17D8802571FC005699D4/$file/PwC_doing_business_in_russia08.pdf]
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