Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov announced the introduction of a "voluntary contribution" to the Russian budget. According to him, such a measure is currently being discussed with Russian business. The reason for the “voluntary payment” is the high profits of Russian companies in the “financially successful 2022”. Belousov's words are quoted by the Interfax agency.
“Voluntary contribution from business - yes, it is being discussed, one-time. 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, had strong positive results. Now this topic is under discussion, I would say so, ”the official said.
Belousov noted that we are talking exclusively about a one-time payment and there is no talk of any new taxes or an increase in tax rates. The Deputy Prime Minister compares the idea with the Western concept of windfall tax - a tax on sudden profits. Approximately the same logic is now used by European politicians who are lobbying for an increase in rates or the introduction of similar payments for companies in the energy sector, which, due to the energy crisis, had a very successful year in 2022. According to Belousov, the "voluntary contribution" is now being actively discussed with big business. The amount of the contribution, as well as companies that may fall under the increase in the tax burden, the Deputy Prime Minister did not name.
According to Rosstat, Russian companies earned 16.6 trillion rubles in the first half of 2022, which is 32% more than in the same period last year. However, all these successes were lost in the second half of the year: in the third quarter, net profit (profit minus losses) amounted to 20.2 trillion rubles, which is only 2.7% higher than in the third quarter of 2021. Rosstat has not yet published data for the whole of 2022, however, most industries showed a downward trend, which does not allow us to give an unambiguous answer whether 2022 turned out to be “successful” for Russian business.
Andrei Belousov regularly acts as the author of tax initiatives: it was he who in 2021 accused Russian metallurgists of “squeezing” the Russian budget and demanded that a new tax be introduced for them, also one-time. While still in the position of Assistant to the President of Russia for Economics, Belousov even offered to collect an additional 500 billion rubles from the metallurgical, chemical and fertilizer manufacturers for the implementation of the “May Decrees” - then this initiative was also presented as a “one-time” one.
At the end of 2022, the Russian authorities were forced to reshape the current tax landscape. In just a few months, they increased taxes on the oil and gas industry, the chemical industry and fertilizer manufacturers. As a result, Gazprom alone was forced to pay an additional 1.5 trillion rubles in taxes. The need to increase tax revenues is caused by a sharp collapse in budget revenues: at the end of January 2023, the government recorded a record budget deficit since the default in 1998. The authorities are hastily looking for new ways to increase budget revenues.