Government and business argue about a new tax system

Discussion “the New tax policy of Russia: what changes do we expect in 2018?” was held on the last day of the Gaidar forum at the Ranepa, 14 Jan. Moderator — Chairman of the state Duma Committee on budget Andrey Makarov — first, complained that such an important session organized on Saturday morning and forced to come at her students. In the beginning the word was given the head of the Ministry Maxim Oreshkin, who previously worked as Deputy Minister of Finance, — Makarov asked him, has changed his views after coming to another Agency. They became “wider”, said., adding that taxes are important not only for the budget is a tool for economic activity in General.

“We constantly talk about the importance of stability and predictability. For business is important not only the rates it pays, but understanding how these rates, and indeed the tax system will change in the future,” he reasoned. Then the dolls started to talk about a sustainable budget, but Makarov interrupted him, explaining that “exhausted the limit of civility,” on Friday, during a session with first Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, who took the floor next, once again urged those present that changing the tax system does not involve a tax increase. The question how to reduce the budget deficit, he gave the two old recipe is improving tax collection and reducing inefficient costs.

The threat scenario

There is a feeling that the talk about tax burden has become the phrase du jour, asked Makarov President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin. The Ministers did not read the program “United Russia”, which stipulates a reduction in the tax burden — without it, “we face only the inertial scenario”, he replied. Economic growth will not exceed 2%, although Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier outlined growth of 3-4%, said Shokhin. The country needs a “breakthrough,” and one of the main opportunities for this — “a radical improvement of the business climate and reducing the tax burden on businesses,” said the head of RSPP.

Silvanus decided to mind: first, some Ministers are themselves members of the “United Russia”, which participated in the development of policy documents. Secondly, talking about the need to reduce the tax burden “unfounded”. “You say immediately, and what expenses we will need to reduce with a reduction in the tax burden,” he warned. Siluanov assured that he is a supporter of reducing the load, while Makarov and accused him that it “sounds disingenuous”.

Shokhin explained it that the load reduction expands the tax base in the future, and cited the example of the introduction of a flat income tax, which increased the budget revenues. For the current budget risks, however, there are, he acknowledged. This is the wrong approach, followed by the reaction Siluanov: “And now what are we going to pay salaries, pensions, than to Finance social spending?” Shokhin about the described approach have already said again — “no way,” said the Minister: the state has the obligation and when the tax cuts then you need to abandon them for the period, while tax revenues will not grow.

“For pensions and defence would have to pay”

In Kazakhstan the tax burden is 25% of GDP, in India — 20%, in Russia — 32-33% of GDP, but whether there are expenditures on social services, on pensions, on defence, the maintenance of nuclear forces and the development of new weapons, asked later a question of the Minister of Finance. All you have to pay, he recalled. “Who will pay? Taxpayers, of course. When we talk about taxes, we should also talk about the other side of the coin.”

Reduction of taxes and the tax burden is not the same thing, said in the continued discussions Makarov. The question still is, why the level of tax burden, the Finance Ministry compares with rates in OECD countries (the OECD average tax burden on the economy — 34.4% of GDP). “We always tried to say: guys, maybe we should compare ourselves not with the United States and Germany, and with those around us, those with whom we can compete in the market with the same BRICS?” the MP recalled.

One thing is a theoretical approach, but speaking with business representatives, they will answer that the tax burden is high, agreed., first and foremost, this applies to businesses that operate completely legally. The Minister has referred to the care of business in the shadow (previously, he called this process the main problems of the Russian economy). We need to focus on reducing informality, and then even with lower taxes — can be “fairly easy” to obtain the same amount of income, says Oreshkin. Obviously, for those companies that pay all the taxes, the load as a whole should be reduced, he said.

“Ask more — get less”

Communication of budget and tax policy exists, but why then the authorities are preparing three different policy document — the main directions of fiscal policy, tax policy and customs tariff policy, continued Makarov: “When we read these various documents, I have the feeling that about different countries it is in some places”. The document must be single, agreed Silvanus, it will be more effective. On the question of what hinders it, Siluanov said that the relevant amendments have already been made.

The level of non-tax payments in Russia has reached such proportions that it is necessary to speak not about the tax burden, and fiscal, said the President of the chamber of Commerce and industry (CCI) Sergey Katyrin. In some regions the number of non-tax payments as high as 70, he said, citing experts. Any entrepreneur will ask the government to reduce the tax burden, but it is objectively impossible in the next three years, he reasoned.

“I started my career in the system of Gosplan, I know the old rule: ask more, get less. If you ask to save the tax burden, it will increase. Going to reduce demand — she will remain”, — said Shokhin. The Ministry of Finance divides into two coming his requests for additional funding, if the caller has not substantiated the request, said Siluanov.

Departments argue

In the oil industry, in the face of growing oil prices and the freezing of production, “to twitch, from the point of view of the tax system makes no sense, it is sustainable,” said Maxim Oreshkin. “We need to look, which way to go, smoothly to adjust to ensure long-term development of the industry, knowing that the current tax system serious threats to short and medium-term development shall not be”, — said the head of Ministry of economic development. The Minister of Finance in the answer has noticed that there is a decision to change the current system of taxation of the oil industry and go with the severance tax (tax on mineral extraction) TEI (tax on extra income). “There is a transition to cancel these individual benefits and to cease to provide sectoral departments, and not by the legislator. It seems to me that the question of changing tax regimes in the oil industry, it is a question of yesterday, we have to make this decision to 2017-2018 to introduce a new tax regime,” — said Siluanov.

Shokhin has reminded that the interagency dispute to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of energy about the PDM is a long time, and the energy Minister at a meeting with Prime Minister asked to include in the action plan for accelerating economic growth in 2017 the introduction of the law on the tax on financial result.

As explained a source in the Ministry of Finance, the key differences in NDD at the office with energy: between the agencies continues the discussion on the compensation and shortfall in budget revenues. According to the interlocutor , the Ministry of Finance expect that the negotiated bill will be considered by the Duma in the spring session.

President Vladimir Putin, announcing changes in the tax system during his speech in December, said that to consider proposals for its “set-up” is planned in 2017. The discussion can begin “battle of interpretations”, expressed fears Makarov. It is necessary to have a discussion immediately with the deputies, otherwise it could be delayed, said Katyrin from the chamber of Commerce. The first version should be discussed in February 2018 — “can be, even on the eve of presidential elections”, called Shohin. The most concise was the Maxim Oreshkin: it is necessary to achieve “trust” between the participants in the discussion, and the discussion should be “actively, not passively,” he said. Improving the tax system had already begun to be discussed, said Mr Siluanov, during the spring session the state Duma should be formed basic approaches.