Irek Zinnurov on sports advertising, tax deductions for training and other initiatives

The Olympic champion, the State Duma’s deputy from Tatarstan explains what amendments to the Tax Code will stimulate the development of mass sport

Irek Zinnurov on sports advertising, tax deductions for training and other initiatives
Photo: Roman Khasayev

Vladimir Putin issued a series of orders designed to develop the social sphere as early as May 2018. Besides, their goal was to increase the percentage of Russians who do sport to 55%. Irek Zinnurov is explaining what bills he has prepared together with his colleagues to make this goal get closer to being carried out. In his column for Realnoe Vremya, he talked about three amendments to the Tax Code and a bill on sports advertising.

To put sports advertising in order

We created a bill that introduces such a concept as sports advertising not a long time ago. It is quite a big sphere of advertising, and many don’t tell it from other types of outdoor advertising: it might seem what is the key difference of a banner at a stadium or on hoarding? But there is a difference and it is big.

However, our country still doesn’t have the concept of sports advertising at all. To fix the situation, we created a bill with our colleagues that introduces this concept, some other definitions and basic principles of activity in this sphere. Another important reason: in the person of sports federations Russia signed some international agreements in sport and also assumed certain obligations to organise promotional activities.

According to our bill, sports advertising is an advertisement in facilities that host events (both indoor and outdoor) and the one used to brand a uniform, equipment of athletes (for instance, a biathlete’s rifle or skis), tools (for example, a football ball). At the moment, there aren’t any bylaws in Russia that would regulate ad placement. We are offering to include an article dedicated to sports advertising to the Federal Law On Advertising. For instance, in our opinion, it is necessary to restrict the number of people who have the right to sign sports advertising agreements in it. So athletes, organisers of competitions or, for instance, the owner of a sports venue should receive incomes. The athletes must have the right of choice, and if there is a moral and ethical contradiction he or she has the right to place a logo, for instance, on the uniform.

According to our bill, sports advertising is an advertisement in facilities that host events (both indoor and outdoor) and the one used to brand a uniform, equipment of athletes (for instance, a biathlete’s rifle or skis), tools (for example, a football ball). Photo: Maksim Platonov

Now the bill has already been prepared and already been approved by a council of experts in the Duma. But it hasn’t been yet possible to send it to the government for consideration to get its opinion — for objective reasons. I think we will do it this week already, during the current plenary session.

Tax deduction: why is sport worse than dentistry?

The first thing I would like to tell you is that we have offered to introduce tax deductions for classes in sports clubs. The simplest example in such a situation is when parents paid money for a sports class their child takes. Because it is no surprise that lessons in some classes cost much money — it can be both 5,000 and 7,000, and even more. This is why it turns out to be a significant sum at the end of the year, and why not get a tax deduction for it? If our bill passes, it will become possible. In the end, we do get money back for paying for medical services, for dentistry, for instance. I think that it is necessary to complement the rules for tax deductions. In the future, this might attract more children and adults to sports (we are offering to get a tax deduction not only for children but also for adults’ sport classes).

We developed a series of amendments and additions to the Tax Code to create some financial motivation for citizens who do sport and enterprises that offer classes.

According to our bill, if an enterprise organised sports classes for workers, all the costs that will be spent will have tax concessions. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Help to helpers: benefits for enterprises supporting sport

We keep saying that it is necessary to introduce tax concessions for organisations that organise sports classes for their workers. Because, for instance, to organise a basketball tournament, it is necessary to spend a lot of money: to provide players with a uniform, pay for a coach’s services, buy balls, rent the gym and equipment, think about prizes and mechanisms to attract fans to matches…

We offer to transmit these costs to the category providing normal working conditions, then this activity will have tax concessions. But the Ministry of Finance said last time that it didn’t influence working conditions. While, in my opinion, it does influence. Because when a person does sport, he is active, in good shape, his cardiovascular activity improves, immunity boosts, he becomes stronger and healthier in general. This suggests that he will work even better. So why doesn’t this influence his working conditions? I think the question is rhetorical.

According to our bill, if an enterprise organised sports classes for workers, all the costs that will be spent will have tax concessions. This applies to both regular classes and internal competitions — in a word, all the sports activity organised in enterprises because all this is caring about workers’ health. I have been reminding about an old good example for long: skiing centres in the Soviet era that enterprises opened for their employees. This did exist! And it was correct! I would like to revive this tradition.

I would also like to add here enterprises investing not only in the physical culture of not only their workers but also that of the population. For instance, if secondary schoolchildren are allowed to play football in an enterprise’s gym on Saturdays, it would be good to provide this enterprise with some support.

We can put an example of the swimming pool an enterprise owns and that the population can use, even for money. Photo: Maksim Platonov

Balance burdened with sports venue

Ultimately, we are offering to reduce taxes to those organisations that own sports venues. The tax base for their maintenance should be listed as concessionary.

We can put an example of the swimming pool an enterprise owns and that the population can use, even for money. We can’t call costs to maintain this venue insignificant, so why not provide these tax concessions? This is why the city’s sports infrastructure grows, moreover, without spending either effort or money. It can be swimming pools, skiing centres, ice rinks, football clubs, whatever. Moreover, the sports venue will be a non-core asset for the enterprise, and it can just get rid of it at the toughest times not to spend money on its maintenance. In the end, not to corner a business, to allow it has a desire to develop sport, we offer a bill that would introduce tax concessions for such cases.

We discussed the last four tax initiatives in the working group, which deals with social entrepreneurship. They are now considered in the faction, and they are going to be sent to an expert council of one of the commissions.

I would like to separately note that all the enumerated initiatives are designed to carry out Vladimir Putin’s instructions — it is the organisation of sport classes in enterprises and tax deductions for children’s sport and so on.

By Irek Zinnurov
Tatarstan