State Duma increases oil taxes and export duties

On Friday the State Duma (the lower house of parliament) approved the government's amendments to the law "On Customs Duties" and the second part of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation, which concerns the increase of the rate of the tax on the extraction of minerals (NDPI).

The necessary number of votes to approve the document was 226 and 395 deputies voted for it, 12 voted against it, and 3 abstained.

The additional federal budget revenues from the increased tax load on the oil extraction sector will amount to about 5 billion rubles or $170 million a month.

Sergei Shatalov, an official representative of Russia's government and the deputy finance minister, noted that the document had been drafted within the framework of pension reform which is currently being prepared. He said the document provides for substituting a cash equivalent for privileges to some categories of citizens, as well as for a possible reduction in the single social tax (ESN) rate from 35.6% to 26%.

"The government proposed that revenues 'falling out' of the federal budget as a result of the reduction of the ESN rate be compensated for through a greater tax load on the oil-extraction sector," Mr. Shatalov said.

The document proposes increasing the NDPI rate to 400 rubles ($1 is approximately 30 rubles) per metric ton. It also changes the existing scale of the oil export duty by introducing an additional interval: if the price of oil is $20-$25 per barrel the rate is 45%. The document also sets the export duty rate at 65% if the price of oil exceeds $25 per barrel.

Mr. Shatalov stressed that these changes would only concern "the excess incomes from oil extraction, i.e., the incomes depending not so much on the operation of the sector's enterprises as on external factors."

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