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Belarus in favor of automatic data sharing between CIS tax agencies

MINSK, 3 October (BelTA) – The optimization of tax administration and information sharing were supposed to be discussed at the 31st session of the Council of heads of tax services of the EurAsEC member states and the 20th session of the Coordinating council of heads of tax services of the CIS states. The sessions took place in Minsk on 3 October, BelTA has learned.

BelTA learned from Belarusian Tax and Duties Minister Vladimir Poluyan that international experts started working in Minsk on 30 September to fix possible contradictions and finalize views of their countries on the issues scheduled for discussion on 3 October.

According to the Tax and Duties Minister, the items on the agenda will allow the tax services to bring their views closer in several areas, among which data sharing is the priority. The unacceptable minimization of taxes is a reason for lower tax revenues more and more often. Tax payers use loopholes in legislation to build multi-step schemes across several countries in order to reduce tax payments, explained Vladimir Poluyan. In these conditions the performance of tax authorities depends a lot on how fast and how much data they get from foreign tax services. For the sake of stepping up data sharing between the tax services the possibility of automatic data sharing instead of data sharing based on requests will be discussed, said the official.

Participants of the two sessions were also expected to discuss the procedure for applying the agreement on collecting indirect taxes between the CIS member states. The agreement enforces the country of destination principle as the basis for collecting indirect taxes in foreign trade operations between the CIS states. Zero taxes are used for exported commodities while imported commodities are subject to the tax rates set by the legislation of a specific destination country. Apart from that, the agreement was signed about 12 years ago and now contains clauses that refer to some notions, which are no longer used in the national legislations of the CIS states.

The sides are expected to discuss tax legislation novelties. In particular, approaches to tax regulations on innovative and investment activities in the CIS states will be discussed. Every CIS state provides support to innovative and investment activities to a varying degree. By tuning taxes, the states can influence the interest of economic operators in taking business risks. In most cases the approach allows stimulating innovation and investment processes and improving the investment climate. Out of the wide choice of measures the international practice offers the CIS states choose those that match a concrete stage of the economy development and targeted goals. The approaches are most consistent in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

Apart from that, participants of the sessions were made familiar with and discussed cutting-edge practices in tax administration. Reaching mutual understanding about at what level data sharing should be now will allow improving the performance of each tax administration, said the Belarusian Tax and Duties Minister. “Sharing experience regarding other topical matters of tax administration will be also interesting. I am convinced that results of today’s session will contribute to stronger friendly ties and cooperation,” concluded Vladimir Poluyan.

Belarusian Deputy Tax and Duties Minister Ella Selitskaya pointed out that the Belarusian tax service had established very tight contacts with colleagues in the CIS states. “We have signed international agreements on avoiding double taxation with every CIS state. In line with the agreements we maintain truly tight ties,” she remarked. Ella Selitskaya mentioned several other examples of cooperation between tax authorities. She underlined the importance of stepping up information interaction.

Chairman of the Tax Committee of the Kazakh Finance Ministry Anuar Dzhumadildayev stressed the special role played by councils of the CIS tax services. “I think this session will be very fruitful and useful for all the participating states, too,” he remarked. Anuar Dzhumadildayev said that a lot of topics would be discussed during the 3 October meeting. The optimization of tax administration and the provision of services to individuals will be some of the key items on the agenda. “Various countries use various cutting-edge practices and I think it would be very useful for us to listen to each other. Everyone will borrow the best,” he said.