8 Feb 2023 15:08

Russian authorities discussing with large businesses one-time voluntary contribution to budget from 2022 profits - Belousov

MOSCOW. Feb 8 (Interfax) - The Russian authorities are discussing with large businesses a one-time voluntary contribution to the budget from profits generated during the financially successful year of 2022; and this would not entail raising taxes, but, rather, would be like paying a windfall tax, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov told reporters.

According to the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), Russian enterprises generated combined pre-tax profit (profit minus losses) of 16.6 trillion rubles in the first half of 2022, a rise of 32% year-on-year. However, the dynamics deteriorated somewhat in the second half of the year, with a balance of 20.2 trillion rubles in 9M 2022 that was already 2.7% year-on-year lower. Rosstat intends to publish full-year data in March.

"Yes, a voluntary contribution from businesses is under discussion; a one-time contribution. The fact is that last year's financial results were very good, and many companies, especially in the first half of the year for the first three quarters, generated solid, positive results. The topic is currently under discussion, I would say," Belousov told reporters on Wednesday.

Belousov stressed that this was not about a hike in tax rates.

"This is not a tax hike. There is a windfall tax, and the concept in tax practice is a one-time tax collection. The issue is being worked out now. The issue is being worked out together with businesses. This is viewed as a voluntary matter, and businesses are actively involved in it," Belousov said, adding that this was a contribution from large companies. The first deputy prime minister did not announce the potential size.

According to the Finance Ministry's preliminary estimate, the federal budget had a shortfall of 3.3 trillion rubles in 2022, or 2.3% of GDP. The sharp increase in spending at the end of the year continued in January, with the budget ending the month with a record deficit of 1.76 trillion rubles, or 60% of the plan for the entire year. In order to cover the budget deficit in January, the Finance Ministry sold some Chinese yuan, as well as gold from the National Wealth Fund (NWF) for the first time, thereby generating 38.5 billion rubles.