Privileges for the profit tax as for themoney entities receive have been instituted. They mean the absolution fromtaxation on profit of the free aid received from foreign States in accordancewith the intergovernmental agreements, from foreign organizations foreducation, science, and culture development in Russia; the money transferredbetween the mother and subsidiary enterprises (with the above 50% share ofparticipation in the statutory capital) within the limits of a same legalentity for the enhancement of the production and non-production bases, plus theproperty transferred to the consumer cooperation entities at the relevantdecisions of their owners.
As for now, the incomes in foreigncurrencies are to be transferred into Russian rubles at the exchange rate to befixed by the Russian Central Bank effective as of the date of determination ofthe revenue from the sale, in accordance with the accountancy policy of anindividual entity. For comparison: before, the recalculation was made as of thedate of the money inflow, notwithstanding the accountancy policy.
The taxed profit does not include any morethe incomes from the State securities of the RF, of the RF subjects, nor of thelocal self-government bodies.
The decrease of the taxed sum by the sumsof allotments to the reserve funds has been limited by the minimal sizes of thefunds (to be fixed in accordance with the Law); such reduction is effectiveonly at the condition of the targeted use, and within the limits of 50% of thetaxed profit.
The results of the joint activities are tobe accounted for by every partner when determining the taxable profit, everyquarter-year.
The privileges for the capital investmentsrelate to the profits intended not only to the financing of the capitalinvestments and the bank credits for these purposes, but to the interests onsuch credits, including the shared participation, as well. The privilegesrelative to the development of the telecommunications and of the environmentprotection activities are, today, to be granted according to the generalorder.
The new Law has fixed a number of theprivileges granted by the Presidential decree # 2270 of 22 December 1993,namely, the privileges for the profit to be allotted for the R&D works, tothe Russian funds for fundamental studies and technology development, and tothe replenishment of the life insurance reserves.
As for the Federal Budget, the taxationrate will amount to 8% for the banks granting credits to rural economies (50%at least) and the the insurers insuring the interests of the above entities (atleast 50% of the insurance premiums).
On 14 July 1995, the State Duma approvedthe Law “On the Amendments to the Law “on Excise Taxes””. The new Law reducessomehow the list of the goods subject to the excise taxes; it reduces thecompetence of the Government as for fixing the excise taxes rates: this resultsfrom the fact that the new Law fixes the rates for the alcohol (60% to 90%),strong liquors (20% to 85%), beer and tobacco (20%), gasoline (20%), andpassenger cars (5%). The new Law has introduced the offset order of calculationof the excise taxes for the use of the goods subject to the excise taxes whenproducing other products subject to the excise taxes; the new Law does, aswell, put a new order to the payment of the excise taxes when importingproducts from the outside CIS countries, etc.
This draft Law was rejected by theFederation Council; on 12 August 1995, the State Duma did not manage toovercome the relevant veto. The situation saw its development not before thanin February 1996. On 14 February 1996, the State Duma promulgated the Law “Onthe Excise Taxes” in the version developed jointly with representatives of theFederation Council.
The Law “On the Amendments and Supplementsto the RF Law “on the Value-Added Tax”” was promulgated by the State Duma, inthe third reading, on 5 December 1995. The new Law envisions to exclude fromthe number of the tax payers the natural persons engaged in the entrepreneurialactivities. Moreover, the sums entrepreneurs receive as financial aid will bebarred from the taxable turnover. In accordance with the new list of goods, theexported and re-exported goods; banking operations (except the collectionoperations); and R&D works executed by both the education and scienceentities. The new Law enhances the notion of the gold mining; neither does itrelease from taxation the enterprises of handicapped persons engaged in tradingactivities.
This Law was vetoed by the RussianPresident on 3 January 1996. The main reason for this was that the new Law didnot envision either the privilege for the VAT in the housing construction, orthe VAT release for the credits of foreign Governments and internationalfinancial institutions. On 21 February 1996, the new Law was approved by theState Duma in the version agreed upon with the President.
On 24 November 1995, the State Dumapromulgated the Law on amendments and supplements to Article 6 of the Law “Onthe Personal income tax”. The new Law increases, from Rb10 mln up to Rb12 mlnthe value of the income taxed at the minimal rate. At the same time, the uppertaxation rate was increased (beginning from the annual Rb48 mln), from 30% upto 35%. The draft was rejected by the Council of Federation on 9 December 1995.Nevertheless, on 21 February 1995, the State Duma defeated the veto of theCouncil of Federation.
The so-called “alcohol package of thenormative documents includes 2 Presidential Decrees plus 6 Governmentalresolutions; its purpose is to tighten the State control over the production,bottling, sales, and import of alcohol.
According to the RF Ministry of Finance,the measures envisioned by this package will result in the growth of the priceson alcoholic beverages by not more than 10% to 15%, while the supposed incomeof the Budget will amount, in 1996, to 1.5% to 2.0% of GDP. We think that suchan estimate is too optimistic. Besides, a sine quanon for this is the distinct and completeimplementation of all the above measures when tightening the control of thecollection of the relevant taxes.
The important Resolution of the State TaxService in the letter of 5 January 1996 “On Check of the Accuracy ofCalculation of the Taxable Base by Organizations”, concerning the authorizationto calculate taxes, in 1996, not only by the fact of dispatch of goods but bythe fact of payment for it, as well, should be noted. At the same time, theaccountancy of sale of goods has to be kept by the fact of theirdispatch.
Outlook on evolution of the taxlaws. On 12 July 1995, the amendments were made to thelaw on the bases of the taxation system “On the General Principles of Taxationand Levies in the Russian Federation”. This Law contains numerous seriousenough amendments. The most important changes are the following:
it introduces thenorm, according to which, normative acts on taxation may be retroactive, ifthey envision specially such clause and at the condition improves the situationof tax payers;
no taxes may beinstituted which lead to discrimination of tax payers by territory or infunction of the form of property, organizational and legal form of an entity,as well those limiting the travel, within the RF, of people, goods, transport,or financial assets. The taxes and levies instituted by the bodies of theRussian Federation subjects and by local authorities must not lead to thedecrease of the incomes or growth of the expenditures of the FederalBudget;
the limitationwas introduced on the sizes of the regional (2% of the annual labor paymentfund of entities) and local (5% of the annual labor payment fund of entitiescalculated on the base of the minimal labor payment) taxes. The taxes of thesubjects of Federation are the following: the regional profit tax, the tax onproperty of organizations, and other taxes whose aggregate rate does not exceedthe above limit. The local taxes include the tax on land, the tax on propertyof natural persons, the tax on heritage and gift, an the municipal taxes, whoseaggregate rate does not exceed the above limit;
the lawintroduces the notion of the levies which include the compulsory payments ofsingle-time character, subject to payment to the budget of the relevant levelwhen State authorities make legally significant actions for the benefit of atax payer or grant to it certain rights (licenses);
the delays orspreads of taxes payment are not included in privileges, but form separatenotions. The order of their grants is regulated in sufficient detail;and
the law envisionslower penalties for breach of the taxation laws, and limits the right of theState Tax Service to issue instruction on the enforcement of the taxlaws.
The draft under consideration was rejectedby the Council of Federation on 21 July 1995, and, from that moment, the StateDuma did not make attempts to overcome the veto. Most probably, the draft willnever be discussed again, because the Government has submitted to the StateDuma the draft of the general part of the RF Tax Code which concerns the issuesof the taxation system.
There exist three almost similar draft lawssubmitted, in the Fall 1995, by the Legislative Assemblies of the Orenburg andPerm regions, and the Murmansk region Duma. The essence is to let theFederation subjects keep in their budgets 50% of the export duty to developtheir social spheres. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of economy gavenegative opinions on this proposal.
In October 1995, the draft law “OnAmendments and Supplements to the Law “On the Customs Tariff”” was submitted tothe State Duma. The essence of it was to release from customs duties the goodsimported within the limits of the credits granted to Russia by foreign statesand international financial organizations. The above privilege was abolished,since 15 March 1995, by the Law “On Certain Issues of Grants of Privileges toParticipants in External Economic Activities”.
Among the possible changes in the taxationsystem, it should be noted that the conditions of the grant to Russia of theEFF credit by the International Monetary Fund suppose to cancel the exportduties on gas (from 15 March) and on crude oil (from 1 July).
Forecast of evolution of the budgetsituation in 1996. The estimate below of this budgetis based on the scenario in which the Government maintains the tight financialpolicy. The inflation forecast for this model was made on the basis of theauto-regressional model developed in the IET (see V. Mau,S. Sinelnikov-Murylev, and G. Trofimov “Alternatives of Economic Policy andProblems of Inflation”, Problems ofEconomy, # 12, 1995) using the actual data on theinflation in the preceding month and the dynemicss of the money supply duringthe preceding six months.
When making the forecast, we were based onthe index of growth of the money supply assumed by the “Main Directions of theMoney Policy for 1996”, and equal to 2.9% to 3.35 monthly (43% annual, takinginto account the actual decrease in M2 in January and the planned growth of M2 in February (by 5%) and in March (by4.1%)). These parameters differ significantly from those on which the budgetcalculations were based (25% of increase in M2 in 1996). The “Main Directions of theMonetary Policy for 1996” do not suppose the growth of the real demand formoney in 1996. This condition does not seem all realistic. Of course, one canhardly forecast the growth of the demand for money in the first half-year,under the serious political instability. However, if, after the Presidentialelections, the successive course of economic reforms and politicalstabilization continue, then, based on the 1994-1995 experience, one canforecast at least a 5% growth of demand for money in the second half of1996.
This, assuming the 43% growth ofM2 in 1996 and the 5% growthof the demand for money, we have calculated the 1996’s inflation level of 40%, or 2.8%monthly. Based on this inflation level, and the condition that the decrease ofthe actual GDP stops (as assumed by the budget calculations), our estimate ofGDP for 1996 amounts to Rb2,800 trln which is Rb500 trln higher than the onetaken into account by the Law on the Budget.
As it has already been noted when analyzingthe Budget, the realistic estimate of the tax revenues for 1996 is the valueequaling about 11.2% of GDP. This means the possibility to execute the Budgetwith the Rb310 trln of the tax revenues, Rb30 trln of the targeted budget fundsrevenues, and Rb40 trln of the non-tax incomes envisioned by the Law. Hence,even with the inflation higher than envisioned by the draft Law, the revenuesmay amount to about Rb380 trln, i.e., by Rb30 trln (1.1% of GDP) higher thanthe Law assumes in absolute figures.
But the above inflation level determinesthe necessity to indexate, during the year 1996, at least, such Stateexpenditures as the labor payment to the persons employed in theBudget-supported branches, stipends, grants to the Pension Fund, etc. Besides,one should have in mind that the Presidential elections to be held in thebeginning of the Summer 1996 will, inevitably, lead to a number of populistdecisions. The correspondent growth of the Budget expenditures will be, themost probably, higher than the excess of the forecast expenditures over thevalue fixed by the Law.
The above is confirmed by the number of theexpenditure decisions made in January and February and not accounted for in the1996 Budget. These are the measures to restore the Chechnia (Rb16 trln), theLaws “On the Increase of the Minimal Pensions and the Order of Indexation andRecalculation of the State Pensions” (Rb15.8 trln) and “On the Increase of theMinimal Labor Payment” (Rb11.5 trln, including Rb4.2 trln from the federalBudget), both promulgated on 7 February. Additional allotments for the defense,the coal industry, and the repayment of the Budget debenture in the laborpayment were declared. In accordance with the preliminary estimates, thesemeasures will require additional Rb35 to 40 trln, not accounted for in theFederal Budget for 1996.
Such escalation of the expendituresdecisions will, in 1996, inevitably, lead to certain difficulties with theBudget execution; these difficulties will be similar to those of 1995, when thegreater than envisioned incomes turned out, nevertheless, insufficient to coverthe growing Budget expenditures.