The Russian state due to lack of finance will disembowel the commodity exporters

Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation Andrei Belousov explained his initiative to withdraw 513 billion rubles from metallurgical and chemical companies not so much by fulfilling the "May" decrees as by "equalizing the tax burden."
"It is advisable to create a mechanism that allows us to withdraw from the commodity exporters some of the additional revenues that they receive from the weakening of the ruble - that is, changes in macroeconomic factors that do not depend on them - and the growth of world prices for their products," so the presidential aide Andrei Belousov explained to Vedomosti its idea to withdraw "super profits" from 14 Russian companies. The main reason, he said, is a more even distribution of the tax burden.

August 9, it became known that Belousov in a letter to Vladimir Putin suggested withdrawing 14 metallurgical, chemical and petrochemical companies 513.66 billion rubles. super profits, which they received because of a change in the "external market conditions." Belousov wrote that if the profitability of metallurgical, chemical and petrochemical companies is equalized with the profitability of EBITDA for oil and gas companies due to an increase in the tax burden, then possible "potential additional budget revenues may amount to 0.5 trillion rubles. annually". On Friday, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Belousov's letter did indeed exist, and indeed the President's visa "I agree" is on it. "But what is very important to note is what the president agreed to. The President agreed that this topic will be worked out by the Russian government and proposals will be presented taking into account the need to preserve the investment opportunities of these companies, "Peskov said.

"Now these revenues are withdrawn from the raw materials companies only through a profit tax, with the exception of oil workers - for them such a mechanism is provided for by the formulas of export duty and MET, but it is not for metallurgists and chemists. It must be linked to three factors: a weakening of the ruble, a change in the conjuncture (both growth and decline in prices for products) and, of course, companies' investments in their own production, including the best available technologies that make it possible to increase the environmental friendliness of production, " Belousov "Vedomosti".

We are talking about the proposal not to withdraw 500 billion rubles from metallurgists and chemists, but only to develop such a mechanism, Belousov said. He notes that it is necessary to discuss this issue with the participation of business, including raw exporters.

According to the presidential aide, "the mechanism is needed not because of a shortage of money for the implementation of the May presidential decree - the necessary 8 trillion rubles. will be received from the increase in VAT and the issue of OFZ - and to equalize the tax burden. " Decisions were made to conduct a tax maneuver for the oil industry and increase the VAT, which will be an additional burden for the population and business, including for manufacturing, construction and transport, but metallurgists and chemists will not be affected, they even will increase the refund of VAT from the budget, Belousov said. This situation worries some representatives of big business, says the presidential aide (without specifying who exactly): it turns out that both the manufacturing industry, the population, and the oil industry should pay more taxes, while other raw exporters do not. At the same time, Belousov denies that the initiative to work out such a mechanism came from the oil industry.

"Lovers of telling jokes I want to recall the main law of capitalism:" We need to be divided, "said the presidential aide. The owner of NLMK and the president of the steel association "Russian Steel" Vladimir Lisin responded with an anecdote to Belousov's letter the day before.

Lisin expressed doubts about the correctness of Belousov's calculations: "The proposed method of forming an additional tax base looks like a promotion of inefficiency: the lower the profitability, the less taxes you will have to pay." "It does not take into account how much the company invested before, returning money to production and increasing profitability, and how much it needs to invest in the future. As a result, there is a risk of lower investment and competitiveness. The planned withdrawal of ferrous metallurgy companies at the level of 250 billion rubles. a year, more than the total investment sector for 2017 - 170 billion rubles. "- said Lisin in his statement to" Vedomosti ".

The top manager of another Belousov-listed company told Vedomosti that the tax burden for many listed companies is comparable to oil and gas companies: "EBITDA margin is not an objective indicator of the level of the tax burden, since it does not take into account the capital costs , debt and a number of other parameters. " No surplus from the devaluation of the ruble, the EBITDA margin for most companies remained unchanged, and if it increased, it was exclusively due to the reduction of costs and investments in modernization and expansion of production. The proposed approach to withdraw "super profits" discourages companies from moving in this direction, threatens the existing investment program, he notes.

The top manager of another company from the list of Belousov drew attention to the strangeness in the calculations and methods of drawing up the list: not all companies from the mentioned sectors got to the table, apparently, those who had a profitability above 22% chose the list, he says. For example, in the Belousov table there is no "EuroChem", the coal company SUEK is called metallurgical, as well as the diamond-mining "Alrosa". The interlocutor of Vedomosti agrees that the proposed method stimulates inefficiency. The calculation of profitability does not take into account the investments of companies, and after all those who invested in production, now receive a higher profitability, he explains.

A sharp criticism of the proposal of Belousov was made by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs: "The initiative will not lead to an increase in the competitiveness of the Russian economy, and removing excess profits from the business will result in massive withdrawal of investors from the Russian market, and will punish the most successful Russian companies."

The interlocutor of "Vedomosti" in the financial and economic block of the government notes that Belousov's proposal was received by the ministries in early August. "This is the author's idea of ​​Andrei Removich," he says. He doubts that it can be implemented in the current conditions.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov issued a statement on August 10 that said that the government, on behalf of the president, will prepare a report on additional revenues of commodity companies that arose as a result of changes in the external market environment and the exchange rate. "The Cabinet of Ministers will hear the arguments of the companies and experts themselves, calculate the possible consequences and separately study the impact of the proposed measures on the business climate," Siluanov said. At the same time, he stressed that "the government does not prepare any decisions on additional tax increases for certain sectors of the economy," Siluanov stressed. He confirmed the position of the Ministry of Finance that the main parameters of the tax system after the adjustment, which will come into force from 2019, will be fixed for six years and will remain unchanged.