19 Jan 2023 12:09

Belarus ratifies agreement with Russia on harmonizing collection of indirect taxes

MINSK. Jan 19 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a law to ratify an agreement with Russia on common principles for collecting indirect taxes such as value-added tax and excises.

The law has been posted on the national legal website. The agreement was earlier approved by both houses of Belarus's parliament.

Under the agreement, which was signed last October 3 in Moscow by the two countries' finance ministers, Russia and Belarus are supposed to bring their tax legislation concerning VAT and excises in line with provisions of the treaty. For example, excise rates on a minimum list of goods and services specified by the agreement must be no lower than the minimum rates stipulated by the document.

In addition, the agreement establishes common lists of transactions exempt from VAT or taxed at a reduced VAT rate.

The treaty also calls for creating an integrated system for administrating indirect taxes that will include information about the transactions of VAT payers in the two countries registered with the tax authorities as of January 1, 2023.

There are also plans to form a supranational tax committee that will monitor compliance with the agreements.

The treaty also provides for a solution for Belarus to the problem of Russia's tax maneuver in its oil industry. It calls for Russia to make budget transfers to Belarus that will total an estimated $610 million annually. Belarusian Finance Minister Yury Seliverstov said earlier that his country will receive about BYN1.7 billion (about $650 million at the current rate) from Russia in 2023 in the form of a reverse excise on oil.

The treaty was signed as part of the implementation of 28 union programs approved by a decree of the Supreme State Council of the Union State issued on November 4, 2021. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law ratifying the treaty at the end of December 2022.

The legal website also published a Belarusian government resolution approving an intergovernmental agreement with Russia on common competition rules. Under this agreement, which was signed in Moscow on November 9, 2022, Russia and Belarus will apply antimonopoly legislation equally to companies from their Union State.