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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.