''Literally with a click'': business afraid of automatic incurring and payment of taxes
Entrepreneurs are convinced that the Federal Tax Service will get access to all transactions and be able to debit tax without permission
After President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov's statement about the creation of an online service for individual entrepreneurs and self-employed citizens, the business community raised alarm. Entrepreneurs explained the functionaries' desire in their manner. They are convinced that tax bodies will take control of transactions and be able to debit an account without notification soon. However, in fact, neither Putin nor Siluanov has said this. Realnoe Vremya tells the details.
''To clear this space''
In the annual address to the Federal Assembly on 1 March, Vladimir Putin nibbled at the topic of development of small entrepreneurship. He called it a reserve of a future economic growth and claimed the contribution of this sphere to the country's GDP would approach 40% by the middle of the next decade (now the Ministry of Economic Development estimates it at about 20%). According to Putin, we need to drastically change the business climate and ensure ''the highest level of entrepreneurs' freedoms and competition''.
In the same speech, the president said the citizens who decided to run a new business needed to have possibilities to do it ''literally with a click'' and also make mandatory payments, take out loans and get services at a distance.
''We need to free the individual entrepreneurs, self-employed citizens who used such digital services from accountability, make tax payment for them a simple transaction carried out automatically. It's such a routine, at first sight, you know. And this routine that doesn't allow us to vigorously move forward. We need to do it all to clear this space,'' Putin made a remark.
Less than a month later, the ministry of finance reacted to these directives:
''Individual entrepreneurs and self-employed citizens, as it is said in the president's address, will be freed from accountability,'' said head of the ministry Anton Siluanov. As the minister explained, a special mobile application will be created for it. Thanks to it, Federal Tax Service bodies will be able to ''automatically assess taxes'', while entrepreneurs will be able to pay them with zero costs at a distance.
Siluanov added that a national segment of product traceability system ''at all stages of their life cycle'' would be formed in late 2018. So the Ministry of Finance hopes to additionally attract 200-300bn rubles to the budget: ''The implementation of new real-time control methods will be accompanied by a radical accountability reduction. There is no need to carry out tax inspections when all information about sales is at the disposal of tax bodies.''
''The country won't wait for your approval''
Even if neither Putin nor Siluanov went into details of how the new application would work, the business community understood their desire clearly: the tax service would get complete access to accounts and entrepreneurs' all transactions and withdraw money without notifying them. It's been actively discussed in social networks and on relative forums in recent time. However, experts don't see reasons for panic, as nothing will change with the appearance of a tax service for entrepreneurs.
''Firstly, the procedure of cooperation of tax bodies with tax agents will be explained in the Tax Code in detail. It will be possible to appeal against everything that contradicts it,'' says Marat Kamalov from Tatarjurinform. ''Secondly, what is presented today as news isn't news. Now tax services have a possibility to withdraw money from an entrepreneur's account. Such a situation is possible. For instance, it's possible to ask for a court's order, and then the money will be recovered. The country doesn't need and won't wait for your agreement and approval – it's obliged to perform its role, and it has the right to mandatorily recover a tax.''
Whether more Russians will register as individual entrepreneurs and self-employed people will depend on several factors, thinks head economist at Expert RA Anton Tabakh: ''It can work out if conditions [for entrepreneurs] will be quite liberal. And they are likely to be so if there is few bureaucratic load and if local governments have stimuli to help it. Cash turnover reduces, and now even payments to tutors are made through banking applications. If there are more and more transaction under control of banks and the country, at one moment, it will become easier to register [than stay in the shadow].''
At the same time, he notices that now all tax and other concessions have led to the situation only 936 people (the Federal Tax Service provided such data) have registered in Russia as self-employed as from 1 January 2018. The question is, continues Tabakh, whether benefits from the additional inflow of small entrepreneurs are so obvious for the country: ''The budget mainly increased thanks to completely different sectors. In this case, it's not excluded that costs on registration and tax administration of entrepreneurs will be higher than incomes they will pay.''