Data on taxpayers available on Federal Tax Service website

By Elena Rybnikova, Head of Internal Audit, Expertise and Methodology Department

Amendments concerning taxpayer data constituting tax secret entered into force on June 01, 2018.

Elena Rybnikova
Head of Internal Audit, Expertise and Methodology Department

Prior to the entry into force of these amendments, it was possible to find certain publicly available information about taxpayers on the Internet. It was then possible to find a company’s Taxpayer Identification Number (INN), its address, date and address of registration with the Federal Tax Service, its Russian Pension Fund code, as well as information about the activities of state authorities, the registration of foreign internet companies, and more. 

Federal Law No. 134-FZ dated May 01, 2016 Amending Part 1 Article 102 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation.

What has changed? 

The list of publicly available information has been extended since June 01, 2018 to include the following:
- Average staff headcount;
- Violations of tax law (including amounts of tax arrears as well as fine and penalty arrears, if any) and liability measures for these violations:
- Special tax regimes applied by taxpayers;
- Participation in a consolidated group of taxpayers;
- Amounts of taxes and charges paid by an organization in the calendar year and the preceding year (for each tax and charge) exclusive of the amounts of taxes (charges) paid for importing goods into the customs territory of the Eurasian Economic Union;
- Amounts of social insurance contributions;
- Amounts of revenues and expenses as per financial statements for the year and the preceding year. 

The requirements for mandatory publication of reports under Article 13(9) of Federal Law No. 402-FZ On Accounting dated December 06, 2011 have remained unchanged. Companies required to publish reports and audit reports are to continue to do so.

What is worth noting?

It is important to note that the information posted by the Federal Tax Service on its official websites is not provided upon request (Article 102(1.1) Russian Tax Code). As a result, the Federal Tax Service could end up not issuing tax and social insurance contribution arrears statements as it is possible to download them from their website. This raises a question: how will partners, banks, and other business entities will react when companies submit statements without seal from the Federal Tax Service (such documentation is, for example, required for tenders)?

A company’s willingness to publish/not to publish information about its activities will be taken into account with the company’s consent to post public and additional data. This conclusion is drawn from a literal reading of the provisions of Article 102(1) of the Russian Tax Code: “Publicly available information, including that which became so with the consent of the owner (taxpayer, payer of social insurance contributions). Such consent is provided at the taxpayer’s discretion for all or part of the information received by tax authorities on the form, in the format and in the manner approved by the federal executive body authorized to control and supervise taxes and charges.”
Federal Tax Service standpoint

“Thanks to the extension of the list of available information on legal entities, taxpayers will be more able to assess the risks when they choose a counterparty.” The publication of additional information about companies on the internet will definitely help companies when they choose their partners as they will get more detailed information about their activities. This will also allow business entities and state authorities to identify sham companies (submitting empty reports, not paying taxes) more quickly and accurately.

The Federal Tax Service should publish publicly available information by July 01, 2018, but as usual, many questions remain unanswered. For example, average staff headcount. Will the Federal Tax Service publish this figure only for a company’s head office or for all its divisions and branches (personal income tax per employee, by region)? 

Property tax is also a regional tax so companies are registered not in one Federal Tax Service, but where their property is located. Will the Federal Tax Service collect information for all regions of the Russian Federation or not? And if a company owns property outside the Russian Federation? The transfer of data from one Federal Tax Service to another is often difficult for taxpayers in practice.

Our recommendation

After July 01, 2018 companies will need to check what information will be posted on the internet by the Federal Tax Service to verify that it reflects their actual circumstances.