Special tax regimes

In this section of the Tax chapter of Doing business in Russia, we outline three special tax regimes available to corporate taxpayers under certain circumstances.

The Tax Code provides for the following special tax regimes according to which a corporate taxpayer is entitled to pay one special tax instead of a number of separate taxes:

  • simplified tax system;
  • unified agricultural tax; and
  • production sharing.

Special regimes may be applicable if the necessary requirements are met, as outlined below.

Starting from 1 January 2021, the previously existing imputed income tax regime has been abolished. Taxpayers that used to apply this taxation regime can opt for the simplified tax system or, if applicable, another special taxation regime.

Simplified tax system

Taxpayers

Companies are eligible for the simplified tax system if they meet the following criteria:

  • their annual turnover does not exceed RUB 150m (EUR 1.7m) as a general rule, but, in 2021 this amount is exceptionally raised to RUB 200m (EUR 2,2m);
  • the combined net book value of their fixed and intangible assets does not exceed RUB 150m (EUR 1.7m); and
  • they employ fewer than 100 persons as a general rule, but, in 2021 this amount is exceptionally raised to 130.

The Tax Code includes a list of organisations that may not use the simplified tax regime. This includes: (i) foreign companies; (ii) Russian companies with local branches and/or representative offices; (iii) companies in which more than 25% of the capital is owned by other companies; (iv) banks; (v) insurance companies; (vi) pension funds; and (vii) investment funds. 

Tax rates

The rate for this tax regime for companies meeting the general rule thresholds is as follows:

  • 6% – if all income (without deductions) is considered to be the tax base; or
  • 15% – if income (less deductible expenses) is considered to be the tax base.

The tax rate may be reduced under the relevant regional law down to 1% or 5% respectively. 

For companies that meet the exceptionally increased limits, the rates are 8% and 20% respectively, depending on the method of income determination (without deductions or less deductible expenses).

The simplified tax system is used as a single substitute for profits tax, property tax and VAT unless an exception applies (such as for property whose tax base is calculated on the basis of its cadastral value (for instance business and shopping centres, offices)). The use of this system does not exempt employers from making obligatory pension insurance contributions or from withholding income tax from their employees’ compensation. 

Unified agricultural tax

This tax system is aimed at reducing the obligatory tax burden on taxpayers involved in agricultural production. 

Taxpayers

Taxpayers producing, processing (including industrial processing) and selling agricultural products are entitled to use this tax system, provided that the share of income they receive from the sale of agricultural products is at least 70% of their overall sales income.

Tax rate

The tax rate is set by the regions of the Russian Federation in the range of 0% to 6%.

The tax is calculated as the relevant percentage of revenue less certain deductible expenses that are listed in the Tax Code and include, in particular, the following: 

  • expenses relating to the acquisition, construction and manufacturing of fixed assets (being allocated during the useful life term of the relevant assets);
  • lease payments;
  • wages costs;
  • expenses connected with certain types of insurance payments (both obligatory and voluntary); and
  • the cost of material.

The unified agricultural tax substitutes profits tax and property tax, and in some cases VAT (except for import VAT and VAT withheld as a tax agent, which remain due). 

Production sharing

Taxpayers

This simplified tax system may be used by companies (investors) entering into production sharing agreements (“PSAs”) under which they are granted an exclusive right to carry out mineral exploration and mining operations on a particular subsoil area.

PSAs provide for the sharing of profitable production between the Russian state and an investor. A part of “compensational production” is granted to the investor to compensate them for the expenses connected with the project. In general, this does not exceed 75% of the whole amount of production or 90% when the project is implemented on the Russian continental shelf.

The production sharing tax system may be used if the relevant PSA (i) is concluded as a result of an auction; and (ii) provides that, if the project’s return on investment exceeds originally agreed expectations, the Russian state’s share in the profitable production will increase.

General PSA regime

If a general PSA regime is used, the main characteristics of the production sharing tax system are as follows:

  • Certain expenses incurred by the investor for the purposes of performing the PSA are subject to reimbursement by “compensational production”.
  • VAT, taxes on natural resources, state duties, land tax and excise duties paid in connection with performing the PSA are subject to reimbursement by the state.
  • Goods imported to and exported from Russia are exempt from the payment of customs duties.
  • Property tax is not payable on fixed assets used solely for performing the PSA.
  • Transport tax is not payable on vehicles used solely for performing the PSA.
  • The relevant local or regional authority may exempt the investor from paying any regional or local taxes.

Special PSA regime 

Additional tax privileges may apply if (i) the PSA is concluded under a procedure which differs from the general procedure described above; and (ii) the share in the production taken by the Russian state is at least 32%.

Expertise

Key contacts

Dominique Tissot
Partner
Head of Tax | Head of Energy Efficiency & Renewables
T +7 495 786 30 88
Hayk Safaryan
Partner
Head of Customs
Moscow
T +7 495 786 30 59

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Common forms of business structures for foreign investors
  • Anti-monopoly issues
  • Contracts
  • Tax system
  • Customs regulations
  • Currency control
  • Lending in Russia
  • Employment/Migration
  • Personal data protection
  • Intellectual property
  • Advertising issues
  • Anti-corruption and compliance
  • Real estate and construction
  • Dispute resolution
  • Corporate bankruptcy
  • E-commerce
  • Import substitution and production localisation in Russia
  • Banking sector
  • Environment, energy efficiency and renewables
  • Infrastructure and public private partnerships
  • Oil & gas