The Russian President’s Decree on non-working days: the deadline issue gets complicated


The Decree of the Russian President dated 2 April 2020 established non-working days from 4 April 2020 until 30 April 2020. Accordingly, taking into account that amendments have been adopted to article 6.1 of the Russian Tax Code, the deadlines for filing tax reports and for the payment of taxes have been extended until the first working day.

But for the companies that are not covered by the Decree, the issue has not only been resolved, but has actually become more complicated. Such companies are listed in clause 4 of the Decree: companies that operate continuously, pharmacies, companies supplying food products and essential products to the general public and those engaged in operations in emergencies which cannot be postponed, etc.

Based on similar provisions of the Decree of the Russian President dated 25 March 2020, the Russian Ministry of Finance and the Russian Federal Tax Service explained that, for such companies, deadlines for filing the reports are not extended https://www.nalog.ru/rn77/news/activities_fts/9708056/.

As we have already written, such approach contradicts the purpose and meaning of article 6.1 of the Tax Code, which does not establish different rules for setting deadlines for different categories of taxpayers. The sense of the extension of the deadline established for performing tax obligations from a day-off (public holiday or non-working day) to the closest working day is because it can be complicated or impossible to perform this obligation on a day-off (public holiday or non-working day). This transfer cannot depend on the type of the taxpayer or its performance of socially important functions, or its registration in a certain region.

If deadlines for filing reports and the payment of taxes depend on whether the company is covered by today’s Decree on non-working days, the range of such companies will become even more unclear. Because clause 4 of the Decree also specifies companies that are engaged in operations in emergencies (on a permanent basis or on a single-time basis?) and financial organisations ‘with regard to time-sensitive functions’ (and what to do with reports with regard to other functions?) and concerning ‘other organisations’ which are to be determined by the constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

We have to admit that there is obviously another legal collision that should be eliminated by new explanations of the Russian Ministry of Finance and/or of the Russian Federal Tax Service. We hope that common sense will prevail and for the purposes of performing any obligations provided for by tax legislation, the definition of a 'non-working day' will apply to all the taxpayers without exceptions, as follows from the common provisions and principles of the Tax Code which do not allow discrimination against taxpayers based on the above features.

This problem will be slightly smoothed by the Government’s Resolution, the draft of which is now being discussed and about which we wrote earlier. But judging by the text of the draft, the extensions of the deadlines for which it provides do not cover all the taxpayers.

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