EnglishInterview of the President "Club of bank accountants"

Interview of the President "Club of bank accountants"

Interview of the president of the Club of Bank Accountants Kirill Parfenov by Parfenov.ru, on the topic of reporting to tax authorities

Q:  The Supreme Arbitration Court is considering now the case of the Uralsib Bank against the Federal Tах Service. What can you tell us about it?

Parfenov: The tax agency has requested the bank’s sheet of currency control and passports of bargains. The bank has refused to grant them, arguing that according the title 86 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation banks have the duty to provide only the «statements of operations on accounts” and that giving up other information would be a breach of banking secrecy, according to the federal statute «About banks and banking». The bank’s position is understandable.

At the same time, I would like to notice that passports of bargains and the sheet of the currency bank control are not kept secret, for example, from customs officials. According to the law 173-FZ «On currency exchange control and currency exchange regulation», article 20, «the bargain passport can be used by bodies and agents of currency exchange regulation for currency exchange regulation realization». In addition to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the Federal Agency of Financially-budgetary Supervision reporting to the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation is a currency exchange regulation body. The Federal Tax Service is not. We have to notice the FTS reports to the Ministry of Finance as well. So within the limits of the Ministry of Finance, any information can be exchanged, including passports of bargains. But that is not happening. Probably the agencies are not fond of sharing information. It is easier, although not quite proper, to ask a bank to give everything at once, especially since one can refer formally to the Title 93.1 of the Tax Code that allows to “request this information from the participants of this bargain or from others holding information on this bargain”. The bank will be this “other”.

 In recent years, the judiciary practice tended to treat  the concept of «statements of operations»  broadly. Already there were some court decisions that recognized legitimacy of the FTS requesting almost any documents from banks, not just statements. One might regret it, or simply take into consideration. From the point of view of banks, it would be desirable that government departments used their internal resources more efficiently.

Note: This point had been partially expressed in the Vedomosti newspaper, in articles “The Inspector wishes to know" on March 31, 2009 and “I found 1.3 billion roubles” on April 1, 2009.

Q: And what you can tell us concerning the plan to introduce a 0.5% tax on financial transactions?

P: - It seems to me that having imposed at one time the sales tax and having extended it to operations with bank cards, the state has inhibited development of the payment systems and cashless transactions by physical persons for a long time. And there was a chance to develop the system. No such luck.

I am not familiar with the text of the proposal, but if this tax extends on all legal bodies and on all payments, most likely it will cause a switch of small and medium businesses to the payments by cash, promissory notes, and other substitutes. It is necessary to approach these issues very cautiously. It is easy to push the country into clinging to folding money, and very difficult to pull it out of the habit. Even now the turnover of cash is not low, but thing had been cooling down a bit lately. And while recently we were trying reduce this turnover, with the tax introduction any chance of that will be lost, and for a long time.

April 10 2009

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