Gorodissky & Partners

Moscow

Home grown Russian IP boutique Gorodissky & Partners with its headquarters in Moscow, 12 branch offices in Russia and 1 — in Ukraine remains heading top positions in every aspect of protection, disposal and enforcement of IP rights. Our main jurisdictions are Russia and Ukraine but thanks to the existed trustworthy network we represent clients around Eurasia.

Show more

Updates

Corporate & Commercial

New e-commerce rules take effect
Russia | 03 May 2021

The Russian Online Retail Association predicts that by 2025 the Russian e-market will be worth $128.8 billion. Therefore, national and international businesses which operate in Russia must monitor legal developments in this area. This article describes the basic regulations that govern online sales and highlights the important provisions of the new e-commerce rules. It also comments on a suggested initiative relating to the consumer dispute resolution procedure.

Corporate Finance/M&A

New crowdfunding platform regulations
Russia | 16 October 2019

The president recently signed Federal Law 259-FZ of 2 August 2019 on Raising Investments via Investment Platforms and on Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation. The law, which is set to take effect from 1 January 2020, reflects the growing trend in Russia of increased regulation of digital economy issues.

Corporate Tax

Range of benefits for companies domiciled in SARs significantly expanded
Russia | 04 June 2021

Numerous amendments to Federal Law 290-FZ on International Companies and International Funds recently entered into force, expanding the opportunities for international companies to redomicile to Russia and for international holding companies to enjoy tax benefits. This article examines the requirements around redomiciliation and the main amendments to the law.

New approach to differentiation of intragroup service and shareholder activity expenses
Russia | 02 April 2021

In recent years, intragroup services provided by foreign parent companies to their Russian subsidiaries have come under scrutiny. As such, a shareholder activities test was added to the tax audit process in order to identify profit distribution disguised as service fees. To clarify the authorities' approach to conducting this test, the Federal Tax Service has issued a letter which defines shareholder activities with regard to intragroup services and clarifies when intragroup services will qualify as shareholder activities.

Important changes to taxation of transactions involving property rights transfers
Russia | 12 February 2021

Numerous tax law amendments recently entered into force, including the introduction of a rule concerning the taxation of transactions involving the transfer and acquisition of property rights. Now, the law directly states that property rights, along with other property, are exempt from taxation. The introduction of this rule has put an end to numerous disputes between the tax authorities and taxpayers with respect to transfers of property rights between parents and their subsidiaries.

New tax system for controlled foreign corporations
Russia | 04 December 2020

Federal Law 368 of 11 September 2020, which could significantly simplify the tax payment process for the owners of a large number of controlled foreign corporations (CFCs) and significantly reduce such taxes in some cases, was recently adopted in Russia. It is fair to say that, in a sense, the new legislation introduces an alternative simplified tax system for CFC owners. However, the new tax regime will not be beneficial to all taxpayers.

Russia revises double tax avoidance agreements with numerous countries
Russia | 18 September 2020

In 2020 Russia launched an intensive process of revising its bilateral tax agreements with numerous jurisdictions. According to the Cyprus minister of finance and the Russian Ministry of Finance, significant amendments to the double tax avoidance agreement between Russia and Cyprus were agreed in August 2020. The most important amendment is the increase in the tax rate levied on the payment of dividends and borrowed money.

New tax relief for IT industry
Russia | 17 July 2020

President Vladimir Putin recently announced the next set of measures to amend tax legislation to help the Russian economy overcome the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the new tax changes relate to companies in the IT industry, for which a so-called 'tax manoeuvre' has been proposed in order to significantly reduce the corporate income tax rate for such companies from 20% to 3%.

Tax measures to support businesses during СOVID-19 pandemic
Russia | 01 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to combat it will have a significant impact on both the global and Russian economies. The government has taken a number of measures to stop the spread of the virus, such as suspending the activities of most Russian businesses, including service providers, from 27 March until 30 April 2020. As such, the government has also had to adopt a comprehensive support programme for affected businesses.

Calculating share of Russian immovable property for corporate income tax purposes
Russia | 21 February 2020

At the end of 2019, the Federal Tax Service issued clarifications on calculating the share of Russian immovable property in the indirect sale of such property for corporate income tax purposes. The clarifications are especially relevant as the Russian tax authorities' powers have grown following the signing and ratification of a number of international agreements on the exchange of tax information in recent years.

Main changes to company taxation in 2020
Russia | 13 December 2019

Over the past year, Parliament has adopted several laws amending the Tax Code regarding the taxation of legal entities. This article examines the most significant tax innovations expected in the corporate sector in 2020 which concern corporate income tax, transport and land taxes and changes in tax administration rules.

Russia ratifies MLI
Russia | 19 July 2019

Federal Law 79-FZ on the Ratification of the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty-Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting recently entered into force. Once the ratification procedure has been completed, the convention will enter into force in Russia, introducing changes to the taxation procedure for transactions with counterparties from a large number of countries that have concluded double tax avoidance agreements with Russia.

FTS approves form of inquiry regarding beneficial owners
Russia | 01 March 2019

The Federal Tax Service recently approved a form of inquiry which it will use to request information from legal entities regarding their beneficial owners in order to, among other things, identify tax evasion schemes. For the purposes of the law, 'legal entities' means not only Russian legal entities, but also foreign legal entities, including those that perform economic operations in Russia and interact with Russian clients.

Price increases expected following VAT changes
Russia | 18 January 2019

The basic value added tax (VAT) rate recently increased from 18% to 20%. The new rate will apply to all goods, works and services which are sold, performed or provided from 1 January 2019. In addition, several estimated tax rates have also been amended. As entities are expected to reflect the increased VAT rate in the price of their goods, economists predict a rise in prices associated with the increase in early 2019.

FTS publishes information on taxpayer obligations and financial reporting
Russia | 02 November 2018

The Federal Tax Service recently began publishing information concerning the various obligations of Russian taxpayers (ie, legal entities) and their financial reporting on its website. This practice is new in Russia, as such information was previously classified as tax secrets and, by virtue of the Tax Code, could not be disclosed. This development is useful not only for Russian taxpayers, but also for foreign companies choosing Russian counterparties.

Tax authorities to be given access to audit documents
Russia | 21 September 2018

In January 2019 a new law will come into force enabling the tax authorities to request client-related documents from auditors which constitute 'auditing secrets'. This law marks the end of years of struggle by the tax authorities to gain access to audit documents. Although these changes carry no significant risks for bona fide taxpayers, the business community is concerned that the authorities may be able to request auditors' documents and opinions on related services, such as accounting and tax consulting.

New approach to beneficial owners of income
Russia | 17 August 2018

The Federal Tax Service (FTS) recently issued a letter providing an extensive explanation of the tax authorities' application of the beneficial owner of income (BOI) concept. This concept was previously referred to only in the international tax treaties between Russia and other states, but has recently been actively implemented into Russian tax legislation. In this regard, the FTS's letter is of great interest, as it summarises the approach of both the courts and the tax authorities with regard to resolving BOI issues.

Taxing transfers of trademark rights as contributions to charter capital
Russia | 01 June 2018

The Ministry of Finance recently issued an important clarification regarding the taxation of a foreign parent company's property rights to a trademark as a contribution to the charter capital of its Russian subsidiary. Previously, there had been ambiguity surrounding this issue due to the competing provisions of the Tax Code with regard to the procedure for imposing value added tax on contributions to a company's charter capital and transactions involving property rights to trademarks.

Changes in taxation of foreign companies that provide electronic services
Russia | 06 April 2018

A new law, which will enter into force in 2019, will introduce significant changes to the special procedure for imposing value added tax (VAT) on services provided in electronic form by foreign companies that have no branch or representative office in Russia. Foreign organisations that provide services in electronic form to Russian buyers are advised to register for tax accounting in Russia as VAT payers, as Russian counterparties will likely refuse to purchase electronic services from parties that fail to do so.

Additional tax reports required from Russian divisions of international companies
Russia | 02 February 2018

At the end of 2017, a number of amendments to the Tax Code came into force which significantly increased the scope of information and documents that Russian divisions of some international companies must submit to the tax authorities. Russian companies and foreign companies subject to taxation in Russia must now provide a notice of participation in an international group of companies and so-called 'country information'.

New tax benefits for innovative companies and marquee investors
Russia | 01 December 2017

The legislature is in the process of adopting a number of tax benefits intended to stimulate the development of innovative companies and marquee investments in Russia. A new law has expanded the list of expenses that can be excluded from taxable profits. Further, recently passed draft bills have introduced a new investment tax deduction and determined the terms for enforcing the concessionary income tax rates available to investors implementing large investment projects in certain areas.

New rules for determining legality of tax optimisation
Russia | 06 October 2017

Article 54.1 of the Tax Code recently came into force. It introduces new rules and definitions regarding legitimate tax optimisation and aims to clarify what is considered legitimate optimisation and what is considered tax evasion. Further, the new rules require the tax authorities to use a less formal approach when assessing the reasonableness of a tax benefit and strive to understand the economic intent of the relevant taxpayer's operations.

Multilateral convention on implementation of BEPS Plan signed
Russia | 18 August 2017

Russia recently signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty-Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), which was developed to implement Action 15 of the BEPS Plan. Ratification of the convention will be a serious step towards implementing the measures envisaged in the BEPS Plan, which will change the existing double tax treaty system and have a significant impact on the functioning of international groups of companies in Russia.

Federal Tax Service develops concept of unjustified tax benefit
Russia | 23 June 2017

The Federal Tax Service recently issued a notification entitled On Identifying the Circumstances of an Unjustified Tax Benefit, which summarises the law enforcement practice associated with assessing the validity of a tax benefit in disputes relating to bad-faith contracting parties. The notification will contribute to the reduction of companies' tax risks relating to an assessment of the validity of their tax benefit when dealing with contracting parties.

Changes to thin capitalisation rules for profit taxation purposes
Russia | 28 April 2017

Under certain conditions, a company may have a controlled indebtedness, for which the accounting of expenses for profit taxation purposes should be made according to the special rules regarding so-called 'thin capitalisation' stipulated in Article 269 of the Tax Code. Recent changes to the thin capitalisation rules aim to strengthen the barriers that prevent the outflow of capital abroad to the foreign companies of multinationals doing business in Russia.

New procedure for recognition of losses in profit taxation
Russia | 10 March 2017

The procedure for transferring previous years' losses to future tax periods for the purpose of calculating corporate income tax has changed substantially for 2017. Previously, only losses incurred during the 10 years preceding the relevant tax period could be recognised consecutively. As of January 1 2017, the procedure for carrying losses forward has changed and the 10-year limitation on the carrying forward of losses has been abolished.

Tax aspects of cost contribution agreements within MNE groups
Russia | 23 December 2016

During 2015 and 2016 the dispute between taxpayers and the tax authorities regarding the exclusion of multinational enterprise groups' Russian subsidiaries from the requirement to pay corporate income tax on so-called 'intra-group expenses' came under scrutiny. The Russian courts have traditionally treated the actions by affiliated companies in this regard liberally. However, in 2016 Russian court practice began to change in favour of the tax authorities.

Google tax revolutionises tax regime for digital content sales
Russia | 22 July 2016

The State Duma of the Federal Assembly recently passed a new law introducing significant changes to the taxation of foreign companies selling software and internet services in the Russian territory. The so-called 'Google tax' will require foreign companies providing services in electronic form and selling content online to Russian consumers to register with the Russian tax authorities from January 1 2017.

International Trade

Experimental system launched to trace imported products
Russia | 27 September 2019

In May 2019 an interstate agreement was concluded within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union, under which it was agreed to introduce a system to enable certain categories of imported goods to be traced. Now, Russia has launched an experimental version of such system, which will remain in place until 31 December 2019. Among other things, the system is expected to lead to a reduction in the level of record falsification in the market and better control the payment of taxes.

Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media

Data protection law amended to increase personal data subjects' rights
Russia | 18 June 2021

The Federal Law on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences enhances personal data subjects' rights by changing fines and extending the limitation period for data-related breaches. The amendments notably increase the legal risks for companies which do business in Russia and the managers thereof. Such parties should establish routine compliance management procedures and monitor the case law and the law enforcement activities of Russia's data protection authority.

New regulations for processing publicly available personal data
Russia | 29 January 2021

A new law is set to introduce amendments to the existing regulations concerning publicly available personal data. The law introduces the new notion of 'public personal data' and sets out the data processing aspects relating to such data. It also concerns the protection of personal data which is made publicly available and deals with particular situations where data users have published information about themselves, resulting in the dissemination of such data by other persons.

Newly proposed amendments to data processing operations
Russia | 11 December 2020

A recently introduced draft law aims to clarify the Personal Data Law's data processing procedures. If the draft law is adopted into law, businesses acting as data operators will need to review their data protection documents (ie, consent documents), technical security measures and data processing activities and revise them to be compatible with the proposed amendments and the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media's requirements.

New tax relief for IT industry
Russia | 17 July 2020

President Vladimir Putin recently announced the next set of measures to amend tax legislation to help the Russian economy overcome the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the new tax changes relate to companies in the IT industry, for which a so-called 'tax manoeuvre' has been proposed in order to significantly reduce the corporate income tax rate for such companies from 20% to 3%.

New rules and procedures for blocking mobile apps distributing pirated content
Russia | 10 July 2020

Recent amendments to the Information Law aim to tackle the issue of mobile apps and e-platforms that distribute pirated content which infringes copyright and related rights. This article examines upcoming amendments and highlights the new enforcement possibilities that will be available to rights holders in Russia. The changes will also be relevant for businesses that own and operate mobile apps, which should consider the associated risks if their mobile apps contain pirated content.

Draft Big Data law provides clues of what to expect
Russia | 08 May 2020

Although the term 'Big Data' is now common, no Russian legal provision deals expressly with the processing of such data. Various legislative initiatives have attempted to introduce a specific legal framework in this regard, including a recent draft law which aims to create a specific legal regime for Big Data processing. Although the draft law received negative feedback from the government, it is useful to consider the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media's approach when shaping it.

Regulator clarifies key aspects of trademark use in keywords
Russia | 13 December 2019

Keywords play an important role in e-marketing. After typing a specific product name, company name or brand in a search engine, potential customers and users may view specific offers and data, including ads. Further, the list of offers may represent certain keywords selected by an advertiser. Unsurprisingly, the selection and reproduction of designations as keywords can trigger various trademark use concerns that inevitably lead to enforcement issues.

Federal Anti-monopoly Service clarifies role of online messenger systems in advertising
Russia | 12 July 2019

Advertisers are increasingly using online messenger systems to promote businesses, as well as their goods and services. In this context, the Federal Anti-monopoly Service recently issued an official letter clarifying, among other things, the application of the Federal Law on Advertising to messenger systems such as Viber and WhatsApp. The letter is notable as it reveals the regulator's approach to advertising campaigns disseminated via various instant messaging services.

New law introduced to regulate digital rights
Russia | 17 May 2019

The president recently signed the Digital Rights Law, which will take effect on 1 October 2019. The law has introduced a number of new legal concepts into Russian legislation, including digital rights, e-transactions, smart contracts and Big Data. Companies doing business on the digital level in Russia should familiarise themselves with the background and key provisions of the law to ensure that they are ready to operate in the new legislative environment.

Russian authorities apply GDPR-style rules to web analytics
Russia | 01 March 2019

Roscomnadzor (the Russian data protection authority) recently filed a landmark action against illegal personal data processing by Google Analytics and Yandex Metriсa. If the authority succeeds in the appeal court, Russian websites will have to welcome users with EU General Data Protection Regulation-style cookie banners and privacy policies. Prior to this case, the Russian internet community had not considered statistical information concerning web traffic and user actions to constitute personal data.

New legal initiatives to regulate Big Data
Russia | 30 November 2018

Bill 424632-7 on the Amendment of Parts 1, 2 and 4 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation (the Digital Rights Bill) and Bill 571124-7 on the Amendment of the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Data Protection (the Big Data Bill) were recently submitted to Parliament for discussion. Both bills are essential developments, especially given the increasing interest in and high value of Big Data in the current digital reform.

GDPR is haunting Russia: compliance challenges
Russia | 18 September 2018

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies internationally and can encroach on the national laws of non-EU countries. In Russia, international companies must fulfil the requirements of both the GDPR and local laws, even though they may contradict each other. Companies should follow a number of recommendations in order to find the most practical solutions, mitigate relevant legal risks and keep their noses clean should Roscomnadzor try to find fault with them.

Yarovaya Law and new telecoms data storage requirements
Russia | 08 August 2018

New data storage rules recently took effect for telecoms operators in Russia. Although the rules are aimed at fighting e-terrorism and preserving national cybersecurity, their application and implementation will inevitably lead to substantial financial and material investments by telecoms operators. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how this legislation will be complied with in practice.

Yarovaya Law and new data storage requirements for online data distributors
Russia | 07 August 2018

New data storage rules recently took effect for online data distributors (organisers) in Russia. The new rules form an integral part of the ongoing reform of the legislation on the national governance of internet sovereignty, data privacy and cybersecurity, which includes the package of laws known as the 'Yarovaya Law'. However, both the Yarovaya Law and the new data storage requirements have been widely criticised.

Regulation of audiovisual services
Russia | 26 June 2018

The Audiovisual Services Law recently took effect and has introduced an innovative legal regime for the operation of streaming and video on demand services in Russia. The law has defined 'audiovisual services', imposed special obligations on audiovisual service owners and introduced penalties for non-compliance with the law.