Authorities found the solution “April 1” for the Kaliningrad region

First Vice-speaker of the state Duma Alexander Zhukov proposes to exempt from payment of value added tax (VAT) companies operating in the special economic zone in the Kaliningrad region, after April 1, when the existing customs and tax privileges will be cancelled. The promise to abolish the privileges Russia gave when joining the world trade organization (WTO), in the exclave is known as “the Problem 2016”. Zhukov, who is in the Duma of the Kaliningrad region, made on Friday a bill to replace outgoing exemptions from payment of VAT the new preferences. They will be able to qualify companies on the General tax regimes.

Since 2006, within the 10-year transition period, Kaliningrad companies are exempt from customs duty if imported into the territory of the Customs Union goods produced in SEZ from foreign components. This mode comes to an end, but Zhukov, the bill assumes that the residents of the Kaliningrad SEZ will have the opportunity not to pay VAT in the six months since the release of the goods into the territory of the rest of Russia. The tax will have to pay only when any goods during these six months, will not be realized, but later the paid amount can be present to the deduction.

Zhukov proposed decision is not contrary to international treaties of Russia. it is written in the explanatory note to the bill. “WTO rules do not allow to extend the exemption, but to compensate for the VAT”, — said Zhukov .

The bill has been drafted in order to create favourable conditions for the implementation of activities in the Kaliningrad SEZ, said in the explanatory note. The government fully supports the idea, says a source in the government apparatus. According to the source , previously instructed to write such a draft law the Ministry of Finance gave Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.

The threat to resident

Now in the Kaliningrad SEZ registered 109 resident companies, to the registry on the website of the Ministry for industrial policy of the region. But the benefits under the law on the Kaliningrad SEZ are much more companies — nearly 800, said in may 2015, the Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev. From the termination of preferences will suffer from 50 thousand to 170 thousand inhabitants of the region — up to one third of the working population of the Kaliningrad region, warned the Minister.

Compensation for cancellation benefits of the Federal government discuss with 2014, annually in the region, meets Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (the last one was last month). As a result, in particular, it was decided to pay the local enterprises subsidies from the Federal budget to compensate for the loss of customs privileges. In the Federal budget for 2016 provided for 66 billion rubles.

In addition, in February the Duma at the request of the government rapidly passed a law which reduced the minimum capital required by the enterprises for registration as SEZ residents from 150 million to 50 million rubles This is another measure to offset the effects of the abolition of tax incentives for regional businesses, said the spokesman in the Duma. The region intends to develop a tourist destination, and 50 million rubles is the estimated cost of construction of small hotels, explained the official.

The Kaliningrad region is the westernmost region of Russia, an exclave, which is connected with Russia only by the sea and separated the territories of other States. Since 2009, after a series of spontaneous mass demonstrations caused by the introduction of the transport tax, Kaliningrad is considered one of the protesting regions of Russia.

The bill Zhukova is an important step in the solution “April 1” for the Kaliningrad region, said the President of “Avtotor Holding” (in Kaliningrad assembles cars BMW, Kia, Hyundai) Valery Draganov. Cancellation from April 1, customs privileges for companies—participants of foreign economic activity of the Kaliningrad SEZ leads to a doubling of tax burden on VAT when importing the goods into the customs territory of Russia and sale in the country, the source said . The bill Zhukova subject to the payment of VAT on the date of occurrence of the earlier event: 180 days from the date of importation of the goods into the customs territory of Russia or the sale of this product, Draganov explains. “It’s very comforting entrepreneurs, companies that will continue to place the goods under procedure of a free customs zone (free customs warehouse),” he says.