01.02.21.02.16.03.05.04.25.04.17.05.06.06.27.06.17.07.06.08.24.08.13.09.03.10.23.10.13.11.03.12.21.12.21.01.11.02.03.03.24.03.14.04. Fig. Dynamics of the main USA and Russian stock indexes (in % to the date 01.02.2007) 130,00% Dow Jones Industrial Average 120,00% NASDAQ Composite The MICEX Index The RTS Index 110,00% 100,00% 90,00% 80,00% Corporate news OAO “Gazprom” On April 3, ÎÀÎ «Gazprom» and Siemens AG have signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement, opening new prospects to enhance cooperation between the companies in Russia and other countries in the oil and gas sector.
OAO “Gazprom Neft” Since April 1, OAO “Gazprom Neft” has started trading of Euro-3 Standard fuel, produced by Omsk refinery. New high-octane gasoline of "Euro-3" standard will be produced by Omsk refinery under the brands Super “Euro 98"and Premium “Euro 95”. They will completely replace A-98 and A-96, produced earlier.
OAO LUKOIL On April 8 OAO “LUKOIL” and OAO “Russian Railways” have signed the minutes of the meeting, where the basic cooperation activities in 2008 transport infrastructure development for reliable oil products deliveries from LOKOIL business units were outlined.
Moreover, on April 10, 2008 OAO “LUKOIL” has disclosed consolidated financial reporting for 2007, developed in accordance with US GAAP accounting requirements. OAO “LUKOIL” net revenue amounted to USD 9 511 million, what exceeds the level of the level of 2006 by 27.1 per cent; EBITDA has grown by 25.1 per cent and made USD 15 388 million; sales revenue has increased to USD 81 891 million, or by 21.per cent, OAO “LUKOIL” refinery volume has grown by 6.7 per cent.
OAO “Mosenergo” On April 3 OAO “Mosenergo” and Siemens AG have entered into agreement on allocation of production facilities for further equipment deliveries for OAO “Mosenergo” power plants TPP-12, TPP-16, TPP-20 and TPP-25.
OAO “GMK “Norilsk Nickel” On April 24 2008 OK RUSAL has notified on completion of the transaction on acquisition 25+1 per cent shares in OAO GMK “Norilsk Nickel”.
01.02.19.02.07.03.23.03.10.04.26.04.11.05.29.05.13.06.29.06.17.07.02.08.20.08.05.09.21.09.09.10.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.02.01.18.01.05.02.21.02.12.03.28.03.15.04.RAO «UES of Russia» According to RAO «UES of Russia» accounting reporting for 2007, disclosed on April 1, 2008 and prepared in compliance with Russian accounting standards, the net revenue of RAO «UES of Russia» mother company amounted to RUR 452,827 billion. Moreover, according to the agreement with the Russian Federal Energy Agency (Rosenergo) and RAO “UES of Russia”, starting from April 1, 2008, the Russian Federal Energy Agency has undertaken the responsibility for the development of Federal Programs on electric energy industry safety and enhancement, which earlier were in RAO “UES of Russia” competence. T OAO “Rosneft” On April 8, 2008, OAO “Rosneft” refinery has presented consolidated financial performance results for 2007 in accordance with US GAAP: Net revenue has grown more than 3 times as compared with 2006, up to USD 862 million, EBITDA has increased nearly twice, up to USD 14085 million against USD 14085 million 7276 in 2006; OAO “Rosneft” refineries corporate oil production volume has increased by 26.9 per cent, from 582.7 mln barrels to 740 mln barrels; gas extraction volume has grown by 15.5 per cent (from 13.6 to 15.7 billion cubic meters); oil products production, including mini-refineries and third parties’ refineries, amounted to 38.4 million tones, having exceeded the level of 2006 (22.7 million tones) by 69.4 per cent.
OAO “Rostelecom” OAO “Rostelecom” profit for 2007 made RUR 62 588.2, having grown by 4.3 per cent against 2006 indicator; EBITDA has increased by 8.3 per cent and reached RUR 957.2 million; EBITDA cost efficiency made 19.1 per cent, OAO “Rostelecom” net profit for 2007 accounted to RUR 9 423.9 million, having exceeded the 2006 indicator by 31.2 per cent. In addition to that, according to OAO “Rostelecom” information, the tax claim, issued by Federal Tax Serviceon April 23, 2008 to “Rostelecom” for 2003 in the amount of RUR 3.billion, was recognized unjustified by Moscow Arbitration Court.
“Sberbank of Russia” In the first quarter of 2008 the profit of “Sberbank of Russia” has grown by 44.5 per cent and amounted to RUR 45.8 billion; the net revenue has increased by 39.3 per cent and made RUR 36.1 billion; capital has grown by 6.7 per cent and amounted to RUR 727.5 billion.
OAO “Tatneft” In the first quarter of 2008 the volume of oil, produced by OAO “Tatneft”, amounted to 8 063 850 tons, i.e., 101.8 per cent against the indicator of the relevant period of 2007; the plan for the headway is fulfilled at 100.8 per cent, driftage was made for 176 thousand meters; maintenance works were completed at 2,wells an major repairs were made at 617 wells.
Moreover, on April 26, 2008, the The prospects for reforming tax legislation V. Nazarov The author discusses the two currently existing approaches to the implementation of tax reform. He has come to the conclusion that the combination of a considerable instability of budget revenues in the RF, caused by fluctuations of the situation on external markets, and the trend towards a substantial rise in budget expenditures necessitates the abandonment of the government policy aimed at reducing the tax burden.
In recent months, the ongoing discussion of the prospects for further reforming the tax system has become considerably more intense. One could distinguish two approaches towards improving tax legislation.
The first approach is to discontinue the trend towards decreasing the tax burden on the economy, and also to radically revise the existing tax system. Within the framework of this approach priority is given to the improvement of tax administering and some of the local aspects of tax legislation. This approach to improving tax administering is adopted in the draft of the main directions of tax policy for the year 2009 and for the planning period of 2010 and 2011. The major proposals contained in this document are essentially as follows:
1) to put an end to any further diminishment of the tax burden on the economy;
2) to technically upgrade tax legislation by way of implementing the following proposals:
- to exclude the bank statement on the reception of proceeds from exports from the list of the documents necessary for the confirmation of an exporter’s right to the zero tax rate;
- to permit tax authorities to accept, for purposes of tax deduction, the part of the VAT sum declared for deduction (at present, when tax authorities disagree with some positions in a tax declaration, they reject the whole document);
- to increase the size of tax deductions from the personal income tax granted to taxpayers who have a child in their care, from 600 to 800 rubles;
- the increase the maximum size of income on reaching which the taxpayer should have the right to apply the standard tax deduction from the personal income tax, from 20,000 to 40,000 rubles;
- to consider, in the medium – term perspective, the issue of indexing the size of the tax base of the single social tax, starting from which reduced tax rates should be applied in accordance with the inflation rate and the growth rate of wages;
- to introduce the institution of consolidated tax reporting for calculating profits tax;
- to change the composition of the amortization groups in such a way as to reduce the period of useful life of individual types of amortizable fixed assets;
- to introduce into tax legislation the “return of the benefit” principle with regard to the amortization premiums and accelerating coefficients when charging amortization. In the event when an organization has applied the accelerating coefficients when charging amortization, or has made use of an amortization premium, and the fixed asset in question is sold earlier than after 5 years, the accelerated amortization sum should be restored to the tax base, and should not be taken into account when determining the financial result of the sale. Also, it is envisaged that the application of the accelerated amortization coefficient should not be permitted in the event of repeated leasing or subleasing of fixed assets;
- to set the time and size limits with regard to profits allocated to cover the losses of companies being absorbed;
- to grant tax holidays with regard to tax on the extraction of mineral resources to companies engaged in developing deposits on the continental shelf;
- to envisage the abandonment of the practice of applying the zero tax rate with regard to associated petroleum gas, and to increase the rates of tax on the extraction of mineral resources with regard to the extraction of natural gas.
In general, it should be noted that the main directions of tax policy for the year 2009 and for the planning period of 2010 and 2011, which are outline above, indeed correspond, in the main, to the level of economic development of the country, as well as to the goals and tasks it is faced with.
The second approach consists in a considerable lessening of the tax burden on the economy for purposes of accelerating the rate of economic growth. In order to describe the major features of this approach, it will be advisable to analyze the budgetary consequences which could be expected from implementing the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade’s proposals concerning the top priority measures of tax policy (Table 1) 9.
Table The estimates of the lost revenues of the RF budgetary system, in % of GDP IET’s estimates Measures suggested by the Ministry of Economic Develop- MED’s estiment (MED) mates optimistic Conservative 1. To reduce the basic VAT rate to 12% 1.00% 1.13% 1,48% 2. To increase the “amortization premium” size, to be taken the actual volinto account when calculating tax on profit of organizations ume of the lost 0.23% 0.64% from 10% to 30% revenues can be much higher be3. To vest taxpayers with the right to increase by 1.5 times cause of the the amount of expenses on research and development, in case changes in the the latter has had positive results 0.04% 0.04% behavior of economic agents and Letter of Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade S.S. Voskresenskii to Deputy Minister of Finance S.D. Shatalov, of 07.04.2008, # 4242 – SV / D01, “On the Top Priority Measures of Tax Policy”.
4. To grant the right, when calculating the tax on profit of the tax evasion, organizations, to take into account the costs of higher and both caused by the professional education of the employees, including the costs proposed measrelated to payments under contracts for personnel training 0.50% 0.50% ures concluded with higher educational establishments, and to exempt the said costs from the single social tax and income tax on natural persons 5. To increase the expenses on voluntary medical care for employees, to be taken into account when calculating the 0.08% 0.08% profits tax, from 3% to 10% of the wages fund 6. To vest taxpayers with the right to take into account, when calculating the tax on profit of organizations, the costs of cofinancing the voluntary pension savings, and also to exempt 0.01% 0.01% the said costs from the single social tax and income tax on natural persons 7. To vest taxpayers with the right to take into account, when calculating the tax on profit of organizations, the costs of cofinancing the payment of interest on mortgage credits granted the volume îáúåì of the lost revenues cannot be to the employees in need of improving their housing condiprecisely estimated tions, by exempting the said costs from the single social tax and income tax on natural persons 8. To exempt trading in securities conducted by strategic the volume of the lost revenues shareholders from tax on profit of organizations 0.10% cannot be precisely estimated 1.96% 2.32% 2.75% Total* *the total amount of losses incurred by the budgetary system is understated, because in case of a number of the suggested measures, the volume of the lost revenues cannot be precisely estimated. Moreover, there exist considerable difficulties in determining the extent to which active economic subjects could use the new loopholes in tax legislation in order to minimize their tax liabilities.
Even if we detach ourselves from the essence of the measures aimed at lessening the tax burden suggested within the framework of the second approach (even though most of them are open to question), and would instead focus on getting an answer to the question as to whether it might be possible to thus radically reduce the tax burden in contemporary Russia, the second approach to tax reform will nevertheless look completely unrealistic.
Given the existing macroeconomic situation, any considerable alleviation of the tax burden would be simply impossible without a corresponding reduction in budget expenditure. And there are at least two reasons for this.
Firstly, although the dependence of federal budget revenue on global prices of energy carriers is gradually declining, it is still high. When the said prices are unstable, any reduction in the tax burden inevitably increases the risk of the budget system becoming unbalanced. The dynamic of federal budget revenue in – 07 is illustrated in Table 2.
Table Federal budget revenue in 2000 – 2007 (in % of GDP) 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Revenues 15.5 17.8 20.3 19.5 20.1 23.7 23.6 23.Including the oil and gas – related 11.7 13.1 15.1 14.1 13.5 13.6 12.7 14.(2.1) oil and gas – related 3.8 4.7 5.2 5.4 6.6 10.1 10.9 8.revenues (2.2) The oil and gas – - related deficit of the - 2.5 - 1.7 - 3.8 - 3.7 - 2.7 - 3.4 -3.2.federal budget Source: the RF Treasury; the IET’s estimates.
As is seen from the above data, the oil and gas – related deficit of the federal budget in the year amounted to approximately 3.3 % of GDP, while the share of oil and gas – related revenues in the overall volume of federal budget revenue exceeded 37%. And it should be noted that part of the oil and gas – related revenues of the federal budget (for example, the receipts emanating from tax on profit of organizations) also considerably depend on the prices of energy carriers.