• assignation of the task to analyze the projects, currently being implemented by non-government investment consultants, to the State Corporation “The Bank for Development and Foreign Trade” (Vneshekonombank), thus increasing the level of responsibility for performance quality and lowering the expenditures of both the project’s initiators and the federal budget on experts’ estimations;
• determination, as the criteria for selecting projects, their compliance with the Concept of LongTerm Socioeconomic Development of the Russian Federation Until the Year 2020, the by-branch development strategies, and the strategies of socioeconomic development of RF subjects, thus making it possible to select the first priority projects answering the by-branch and territorial development plans;
• unification, into a single project, of the projecting and actual construction phases of capital construction objects. Due to this alteration, it will no longer be necessary to once again select the projects envisaging the construction of capital construction objects for which project documentation has been developed by attracting budget allocations from the Fund;
• and a number of other innovations.
An overview of economic legislation I. Tolmacheva In November the following alterations were introduced in legislation:: the procedure for paying insurance contributions and the size of insurance tariffs for mandatory social insurance from occupational hazards and occupational diseases was established; alterations were introduced into the Law “On the protection of competition”; the main directions for the RF Government’s activity in the period until 2012 were established; the upper and lower margins for unemployment benefits were elevated; the rate of refinancing of the RF Central Bank was significantly increased; and “The Main Directions for the State’s Unified Monetary Policy for the Year 2009 and the Period of 2010 and 2011” were approved.
I. Federal laws of the Russian Federation 1. “ON INSURANCE TARIFFS FOR MANDATORY SOCIAL INSURANCE FROM OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS AND OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES FOR THE YEAR 2009 AND THE PLANNING PERIOD OF THE YEARS 2010 AND 2011”, of 25 November 2008, No 217-FZ The Law is to come into force from 1 January 2009.
The procedure for paying insurance contributions and the size of insurance tariffs for mandatory social insurance from occupational hazards and occupational diseases that were applied in 2006, and 2008, will also be applied in 2009 and throughout the planning period of 2010 – 2011. Insurance contributions are to be paid by the insurer in the procedure and in accordance with the tariffs established by Federal Law of 22 December 2005, No 179-FZ, “On the insurance tariffs for mandatory social insurance from occupational hazards and occupational diseases for the year 2006”. In particular, the 32 existing insurance tariffs by type of economic activity and by class of occupational risk will be preserved in their present form, as well as the existing privileges with regard to the payment of insurance contributions for the organizations employing disabled persons.
2. “ON THE INTRODUCTION OF ALTERATIONS IN FEDERAL LAW “ON THE PROTECTION OF COMPETITION” of 8 November 2008, No 195-FZ In accordance with the Law of “On the protection of competition”, the conclusion of contracts of lease, non-reimbursable use, trust management, or other contracts envisaging the transfer of the rights of ownership and (or) use in respect of state or municipal property may be effectuated only on the basis of the results of contests or auctions for the right to conclude such a contract. No compliance with that procedure in respect of state or municipal property which is not consolidated by the right of economic jurisdiction or operative management is required in those cases when the aforesaid rights to property are granted on the basis of acts issued by the RF President or the RF Government, court rulings, or Federal Laws whereby another procedure for the disposal of that property is establ;ished.
The Law has been augmented by the list of cases when the organization of contests or auctions for the right to conclude contracts envisaging the transfer of the rights of ownership and (or) use in respect of state or municipal property which is not consolidated by the right of economic jurisdiction or operative management to state or municipal enterprises and institutions is not mandatory. These are the following instances of the transfer of rights: on the basis of international treaties; to state bodies, bodies of local self-government, state off-budget funds, and the RF Central Bank for a period of no longer than 30 days. Besides, it is possible to conclude, without contests or auctions, contracts for the transfer of property intended for religious use into the non-reimbursable use by religious organizations. The aforesaid list of cases when the rights of ownership and use of state or municipal property may be transferred on the basis of the results of contests or auctions is extended to state or municipal property consolidated by the right of economic jurisdiction or operative management to state and municipal enterprises and institutions.
The Law “On the protection of competition” has been augmented by the norm whereby it is established that until 1 July 2010 it is permitted to renew, without auctioning, the contracts of lease of state or municipal property concluded prior to 1 July 2008 with small and medium-size business entities. In this connection, the conclusion of the aforesaid contracts of lease can be possible for a term no longer than until 1 July 2010. It is specified that this permission is not extended to the conclusion of contracts of lease of state or municipal property with small and medium-size business entities in the form of credit institutions, insurance undertakings (with the exception of consumer cooperatives), investment funds, non-government pension funds, professional participants in the securities market, pawnbrokers, parties to product sharing agreements, gambling enterprises, non-residents of the Russian Federation (with the exception of cases envisaged in international treatiesà), as well as small and medium-size business entities engaged in the extraction and procession of mineral resources (with the exception of the most common types of mineral resources ).
The other alterations introduced into the Law are concerned with antimonopoly control. Thus, the list of cases has been specified when the transactions with municipal commercial organizations and the rights in respect of commercial organizations must be concluded only with the preliminarily obtained consent of the antimonopoly body. The conditions determining such cases are: the total value of assets of the entity purchasing property, as well as the entity whose property is purchased, as established by the Law “On the protection of competition”; or the total proceeds from the sale of goods in combination with the value of assets; or the fact of one of the parties being put on the register of the economic subjects occupying a certain segment of the market. The transactions which, under the aforesaid conditions, should be subject to preliminary coordination with the antimonopoly body are, in particular, the receipt into ownership, use or holding by an economic subject (or a group of persons) of the fixed assets or intangible assets of another economic subject (with the exception of a financial institution), if the balance-sheet value of the property constituting the object of a transaction or related transactions exceeds twenty per cent of the balance-sheet value of the the fixed assets or intangible assets of the economic subject executing the alienation or transfer of property. The list of agreements concluded by financial institutions has been specified whereby they must notify the antimonopoly body, the timelines for sending such notifications, and the list of documents to be attached to the notification are established. Besides, certain changes were introduced with regard to the issues relating to the consideration of various appeals.
II. Regulations of the Government of the Russian Federation 1. “ON THE MAIN DIRECTIONS FOR THE ACTIVITY OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION FOR THE PERIOD UNTIL 2012” of 17 November 2008, No 1663-r The Main Directions represents a document determining the priority socio-economic goals in the medium term. In particular, it is envisaged that large-scale projects should be implemented in order to transform the national economy from the type based on export of raw materials to the society-oriented innovational type of development. These are, for example, the projects in the sphere of liberalization of economic institutions and increasing competitiveness of the entrepreneurial environment, building an informational society, improving the performance of certain branches of the economy, and creation of new regional centers of economic growth. Macroeconomic policy will be focused on the following priorities: a reduction in the rate of inflation by 2012 to 7 %; achieving a well-balanced budget; ensuring the stability and liquidity of the banking system and financial markets. The annexes to the Law contain target values and the list of projects designed to ensure the implementation of the Main Directions for the RF Government’s activity.
During these years, it is planned that the following measures aimed at improving the tax system should be implemented:
- the switchover from the single social tax to insurance contributions payable by type of mandatory social insurance;
- an increase in the size of the depreciation premium within the range of 10 to 30 % for fixed assets belonging to Depreciation Groups 3 - 7;
- improvement of the system of taxation of transactions with securities and derivative financial instruments;
- improvement of the system of taxation of petroleum, in order to promote the development of new oil fields and full-scale use of the potential of the oil fields already being developed;
- improvement of the system of excises and export duties on petroleum products, in order to promote manufacturing of highly refined products;
- implementation of reform of the tax control over transfer prices.
Besides, it is intended to develop a mechanism for determining base profitability by type of entrepreneurial activity taxable by the tax on presumptive income, and to improve the patent-based simplified taxation system.
III. Decrees of the Government of the Russian Federation 1. “ON THE UPPER AND LOWER MARGINS OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT ESTABLISHED FOR THE YEAR 2009”, of 10 November 2008, No The upper and lower margins of the unemployment benefits have been elevated. For the year 2009, the lower margin of the unemployment benefit is established in the amount of 850 rubles, while the upper margin - in the amount of 3,400 rubles. It should be reminded that for the year 2008 the upper and lower margins of the unemployment benefits were established at the levels of 770 and 3,080 rubles respectively.
IV. Instructions, letters, orders 1. “THE MAIN DIRECTIONS OF THE STATE’S UNIFIED MONETARY POLICY FOR THE YEAR 2009 AND THE PERIOD OF 2010 AND 2011”, approved by the RF Central Bank In the next three years the main goal of the government’s monetary policy will be to consistently lower the rate of inflation to 5 – 6.8 % in 2011. The Bank of Russia and the RF Government, in its options as to the development of Russia’s national economy in 2009 and during the period of 2010 – 2011, is guided by the single estimations of its external and internal functional conditions. The document determines the measures of monetary policy designed to achieve the set goals. In particular, it is established that the Bank of Russia will continue to move towards the regime of freely floating exchange rate by making consistently less rigid the ruble’s pegging to the bi-currency basket. The interest rate policy of the Bank of Russia will be based on the situation in the national economy and the dynamics of inflation. An important objective of interest rate policy will be to gradually narrow the interest rate corridor for the Bank of Russia’s own operations. Within its system for managing the banking sector’s liquidity, the Bank of Russia will continue to improve the conditions for credit institutions’ access to refinancing instruments, which should be conducive to lowering market risks.
2. Instruction of the RF Central Bank of 11 November 2008, No 2123-U, “ON THE SIZE OF THE RATE OF REFINANCING OF THE BANK OF RUSSIA” The Central Bank has increased its rate of refinancing; however, by comparison with the previous changes, this increase is more significant. The rate went up by one percentage point, and from 12 November it has become 12 % per annum. It should be reminded that since the year’s beginning the rate of refinancing has repeatedly been increased by fractions of one per cent. The last increase occurred in July, when the rate went up by 0.25 % - to 11 %.
Review of legal regulations on tax issues, October-November L.I. Anisimova 1. Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Moscow Region Resolution N KA-A40/9380-08, dated of October, 2008 on the case N A40-63894/07-14-348 has clarified, that the decision of the Tax Authority on additional tax on income of foreign entities and charging penalties for delayed payment of income tax of foreign entities and billing them to the Russian organization, acting as a tax agent, is not in line with the legislation.
In accordance with Articles 306, 309 of the RF Tax Code, taxpayers of income tax of foreign entities should be the foreign entities themselves.
Tax agent should not be responsible to pay taxes and penalties from their own resources in the event of not withholding tax on revenues, received by foreign organizations.
The obligation to pay the tax due and penalties can be applied to the tax agent only in case the tax was withheld by the tax agent, but not transferred to the relevant public fund.
2. In the RF Central Bank Letter ¹ 322-P, dated 9.10.2008 (registered in the RF Ministry of Justice), the Bank of Russia establishes procedures for delivery to commercial banks in electronic format the tax authorities decisions to suspend operations with the accounts of taxpayers - legal entities (tax agents, notaries public, individual entrepreneurs), who have an account in a commercial bank, and the decisions to dismiss such suspensions. The decisions on suspension do not apply to correspondent accounts of the banks (bank branches).