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Top Four Recent Tax Inventions of Russia’s Tax Authorities

  1. The tax authorities of Chelyabinsk region recently attempted to charge Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works 12 million rubles in unpaid Water Use Tax and related fines. The water in question had evaporated from the reservoir. The company challenged the charges in court and the court sided with the company. Two higher courts also sided with the company in appeals filed by the tax authorities during 2008. Still certain of the legitimacy of taxing evaporated water, the authorities took the case all the way to the Supreme Arbitration Court, the highest court for tax disputes. The Supreme Arbitration Court also confirmed the illegality of the tax authorities’ actions.
  2. The “Water Evaporation Tax” is not the only invention of the tax authorities in the South Urals Region. A current court case has been lodged to overturn an attempt to charge the employees of child-care centers a breakfast and lunch tax. Caregivers and assistants eat free of charge – together with the children. The tax authorities reason that this food is part of the employees' salaries and therefore must be taxed.
  3. In the Krasnodar Region, the tax authorities have attempted to charge OOO “Gorkomhoz” 100,000 rubles in property tax. The property in question is a graveyard and a statue of Lenin.
  4. In Yakutia, paleontologists working with mammoth bones discovered in the area were charged with some 30,000 rubles in mineral extraction tax.


The moral of the story is never shy from challenging the tax authorities. If you believe you are unjustly being taxed or fined – hire an experienced tax lawyer to help you and file an appeal in court. Russian courts are often just as amused by the logic used by Russian tax men as are taxpayers in Russia.


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