Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov, Head of the Federal Tax Service Mikhail Mishustin and Delovaya Rossiya President Alexander Galushka
26 december 2011
Vladimir Putin’s opening remarks:
Colleagues, I would like to return today to the issues that caused heated debates during our last meeting with the representatives of Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia).
We discussed quite a few issues at that meeting, and it was a very interesting debate. But one of the issues attracted special attention of those present. I am referring to tax returns and financial statements.
These seemingly unexciting issues caused a very heated debate. I remember very well how thoroughly we discussed these issues and worked out decisions back in 2003, if I am not mistaken.
Back then these decisions were prepared in close cooperation with the business community, including the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) and other organisations.
Virtually every point was thoroughly debated, as it was imperative to protect the interests of the state. The tax service was very concerned that the decisions under consideration would undermine efficient tax administration and collection.
The business community also reacted very sharply, demanding that everything be repealed, including the tax system itself. But neither approach was acceptable, and we eventually developed general rules, which have been functioning until now.
Still, it is quite possible that over the years a certain amount of experience of implementing these laws has been gained, and even a cursory examination of this experience indicates that the business community’s complaints against the existing system are valid. Some types of statements consist of dozens of pages, while in other countries statements consist of a page or two pages, or five pages at the most for some types of statements (on profit, I believe). And if we go over all reporting requirements, we always have more of them. There is almost no type of statement where we would have less.
Sergei Shatalov: That’s debatable.
Vladimir Putin: Good. The reason we have gathered here is to discuss and debate these issues. In any event, I firmly believe that our tax system should ensure the interests of the state, but these interests should be understood very broadly.
The interests of the state consist not only of collecting taxes but also ensuring comfortable working conditions for taxpayers. Our fiscal instruments should stimulate economic activity, not suppress it. And we certainly need to (I believe some things are just obvious) move toward reducing the number of required reporting documents. This is something we can and should discuss.
Secondly (we have been already working on this), we need to expedite this work. I am referring to e-government. We need to ensure that these standards are introduced as broadly and quickly as possible. There needs to be a proper legal foundation, a modern technological foundation, and it must be implemented in practice.
Finally, we need to introduce up-to-date international reporting standards. This work has been in progress for a long time now. We need to finalise it as soon as possible. Of course, all our decisions should be well thought out. This is a very sensitive area, which does not tolerate haste. This does not mean, of course, that we should do nothing. We need to act jointly with all parties involved in this process, including the Tax Service, the Ministry of Finance, and representatives of the business community. Let’s discuss this today.