Golos accused of failing to pay 2.3 million roubles in tax on a donation

posted 22 Jul 2013, 01:34 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 22 Jul 2013, 01:37 ]
19 July 2013 

Source: HRO.org (info)
An in-depth tax investigation into the electoral watchdog Golos has alleged that the organisation failed to pay tax of 2.28 million roubles between 2009 and 2010 on profits of 38 million roubles.

According to Kommersant, the money was granted to Golos by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Tax officials have therefore concluded that the grant was “in the national interests of the US”. This means that it does not count as a donation in the public interest, which would not be taxable in the Russian Federation.

USAID was also not included in the special government-approved list of foreign organisations whose grants are not taxable (under Article 251 of the Tax Code).

Furthermore, the Russian Federal Tax Service believes that USAID’s activities do not promote Russia’s national interests, and that the national interests “of one state may not coincide with the national interests of other states”, in particular those of “the state in which the activities are to be conducted”. Tax officials referred to Russia’s National Security Strategy and the announcement by an official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the activities of USAID (which terminated operations in the Russian Federation in 2012) “did not by any means always correspond to the declared goal of promoting bilateral humanitarian cooperation”.

According to Polit.ru, the official documents state that “it is proposed” to recover the sum of 2.28 million roubles in unpaid tax from Golos, and that a fine of 463,000 roubles be imposed on the organisation.

Golos believes that this is “just another way of putting pressure” on election observers. “They haven’t identified any actual offences despite trying to do so for the past year, and what they are writing to us about now has no basis in law,” said Grigory Melkonyants, deputy director of Golos.