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Quarterly Payments Further Simplify Belarus’ Tax Regulations

Quarterly Payments Further Simplify Belarus’ Tax Regulations
Prime-Tass
Presidential ordinance #145 dated March 6, which introduces quarterly payments of the land tax and rent, the real estate tax and environmental tax, is another step towards simpler tax regulations, Viktor Strachuk, Senior Manager of Tax & Legal Services Department of Deloitte in Minsk, said in an interview with Prime-Tass.
The ordinance, coming into effect on April 1, 2008, also changes deadlines for submitting tax returns to a quarterly or annual basis depending on the payment and entity.
Local councils have been recommended to introduce quarterly payments of local taxes and duties stating April 1, 2008. “Within the framework of the work group for improving tax policies, customs procedures and accounting system of the Advisory Council for foreign investment with the Council of Ministers, we suggested making these changes on a number of occasions, and I hope our remarks were also taken into consideration when the document was drafted,” Strachuk said.
“The amendments will definitely upgrade Belarus’ rating in the Doing Business report of the World Bank, and taxpayers will find it easier to fulfill their commitments to the state budget. Nevertheless, we urge the Tax Ministry and other concerned agencies to consider switching to quarterly returns on other taxes, especially the profit tax,” the expert said.
He went on to say that the ordinance might result in a slight increase in the tax burden. “Under the ordinance, the amount of the real estate tax increases a bit, because a quarterly payment is defined as one-fourth of the price-to-book value as of January 1, whereas earlier the tax used to be computed on the basis of the price-to-book value at the beginning of every quarter, that is, with the deduction of previous quarter depreciation,” Strachuk said.
At the same time, the companies that renew their assets will find advantages, because the new rules will enable them to postpone payments of the tax on newly acquired property until the following year, the expert said.
He appreciated the efforts of the government, which “takes real measures to simplify the tax system and liberalize economic policies”, referring to decrees #9 and #1 on tax incentives for companies working in small towns and villages, ordinance #27 on simplification of the eco-tax administration, ordinance #42 on regulations for free economic zones and ordinance #144 that abolished the “golden share” rule [which allowed the government to interfere with the management of a company regardless of how large or small a stake the government has in the company or whether there is a state stake at all, provided it once was state-run].
Strachuk also suggested that the authorities more frequently take into account the opinions of representatives of foreign investors and business communities operating in Belarus, when taking further steps on simplification of the Belarusian taxation system.
Deloitte is the only one of the Big Four auditors offering a full range of professional services including audit, tax and legal, corporate finance, consulting and corporate governance services, in Belarus.
Foreign Enterprise Deloitte & Touche represents Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in the CIS. The company employs over 3,500 professionals and offers its services in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Kiev, Minsk, Baku, Tbilisi, Almaty, Astana, Atyrau, Bishkek, Tashkent and Dushanbe.

 

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