How do you know if a retail business is expecting a tax audit?

How do you know if a retail business is expecting a tax audit?

Meanwhile, research by the marketing company Criteo in 2020 showed that 70% of Russians miss offline shopping. Regardless of the form of trade, the Federal Tax Service is only tightening control over retailers. Over the past 4 years, legislation in this area has undergone a number of changes.  Yulia Pavlova, Senior Tax Compliance Advisor, will tell us about the changes that have already come into effect, and how businesses should know that they are about to be audited. 

Impact of digitalization and pandemic on retail market and acceleration of tax audit According to the Association of Internet trading companies (AKIT), the volume of Russian e-commerce market in January-February 2021 increased by 44.2% compared to the same period of 2020, and is estimated at 431.3 billion rubles.  Data Insight forecasts e-commerce growth rates of 34%, 32%, 30% and 28% in 2021-2024, respectively. Growth is expected to come mainly from online food sales and an increase in the frequency of online purchases of other product categories.  

Traditional retail is having a tough time weathering the pandemic. As Mckinsey's research showed, it will take at least six months for U.S. retailers to restore customer traffic after all restrictions are lifted. However, the Russian consumer is more committed to offline stores. Thus, 70% of consumers said they miss the offline shopping format (Criteo), although now 80% of all respondents in a study by Romir began to pay special attention to the cleanliness and safety.  This has prompted business owners to expand existing contactless payment options and introduce new methods of payment - self-service checkouts, payment by biometrics. 

The tax administration of retail does not lag behind new technologies.  Today tax authorities respond to tax violations more qualitatively and quickly. The Federal Tax Service is developing algorithms for pre-inspection analysis and work with big data of taxpayers, is actively working on speeding up and improving the quality of interagency cooperation, data exchange with banks, Federal Financial Monitoring Service and other government agencies.   

Thanks to this analytical work, the tax authorities can invite a company to a working group meeting before the audit and present the materials of the revealed violations to encourage voluntary clarification of tax liabilities and tax payments.  

According to estimates of Sergey Rumyantsev, the general director of Enter, up to 80% of players of e-commerce market in Russia work according to "black" or "gray" schemes: entrepreneurs use the high limit of duty-free import of goods and make wholesale deliveries under the guise of physical persons, avoiding payment of VAT and customs duties. 

As a result, unscrupulous market players increase their margins by 30-40%. Head of the Federal Tax Service Daniel Yegorov at a plenary session of the All-Russian Tax Forum "Tax Vaccination of Economy" said that in 2021 on the basis of online cash registers will fully take over the control of the Federal Tax Service for the calculation of taxes. This implies an automatic payment of taxes without reporting, but does not mean that there will be no checks at all.  

The Federal Tax Service monitors all cash transactions in real time and imposes special requirements to cash registers:  

- Correctness of issuing receipts and the presence of all necessary requisites in them;  

- Correctness of work with the operator of fiscal data;  

- Compliance of cash register parameters with the law 54-FZ;  

- The reliability of accounting records of cash transactions. Special requirements for receipts and reporting also appeared in connection with the introduction of labeling, more about them - below.

Special requirements for receipts and reporting also appeared in connection with the introduction of marking, more about them - below.

Tax regime for online retailing 2021: the main changes In recent years there have been many changes in the tax legislation in the field of online retailing, of which it is important to know the business owner: From the 1st of July came into force an expanded list of preferential products. For these types of products the VAT rate is 10%. Among them there are frozen and non-frozen seafood products. The limits for simplified tax system were changed from January 1: to go to a simplified tax system in 2021, the income of the organization for the first 9 months of 2020, should not exceed 112.5 million rubles. Since September 1, there are fines for selling unmarked products. It ranges from 50 to 100 thousand rubles for organizations.  

In connection with the introduction of labeling there are special requirements for fiscal storage devices. They must generate requests for a labeling code, notifications of the sale of labeled goods, receive responses and receipts. Retailers must independently verify the accuracy of the marking code and transmit the results to the cash register equipment. The government approved a regulation on the system of traceable goods and their list. It is valid from July 8, 2021. 

Participants in turnover are now obliged to complete primary documents in a new way and submit additional reports and notifications. For example, they must inform the Federal Tax Service of the balances of traceable goods and reflect the consignment number and other traceability details on the invoice form.

The Federal Tax Service still pays attention to formal transactions concluded with "technical" companies for the purpose of tax optimization. Among the signs that the Federal Tax Service and arbitration courts consider confirming the status of a fly-by-night company are: 

- Refined tax returns with incorrect adjustment numbers; 

- the heads of the legal entity, individual entrepreneurs evade appearances at the interrogations (more than twice);  

- interrogations are held in the presence of representatives (lawyers);  

- the heads of the legal entity, individual entrepreneurs do not reside at the place of registration;  

- powers of attorney were issued to representatives from other constituent entities of the Russian Federation;  

- creation of the organization shortly before the start of work with the organization;  

- submission of "zero" statements;  

- the amount of income reflected in the tax returns is close to the amount of expenses; 

- the share of tax deductions for VAT is more than 89%;  

- the organizations are not located at the address of registration, and the lease agreements with the owners of the premises have not been concluded; 

- the average number of employees is 1 person, or there is no such person;  

- the head of the organization does not receive income from it;  

- the taxpayers change their place of registration;  

- information about the change of the head of the organization was entered shortly before the reporting;  

- there are no operations on the settlement accounts for three months from the date of establishment (registration) of the organization;  

- settlement accounts are closed;  

- numerous settlement accounts were opened (closed) (more than 10);  

- cash flows from settlement accounts are of "transitory" nature; 

- Current accounts are opened in banks other than the place of registration of the organization; 

- cash-out" of the funds was established, the discrepancies of the previous periods were not eliminated;  

- information about unreliability of information about the address, the head, the founder of the organization was entered into the Unified State Register of Legal Entities;  

- the head (founder) is not a resident of the Russian Federation.

The ASK VAT-2 system helps tax authorities identify sham transactions with "technical" companies. It allows to find "gaps" in VAT in real time in the supply chain or performance of works.   When at any link the system does not see the reflection of VAT in the declaration, the tax authorities work out all the previous participants in the chain up to the final beneficiary. 

In the course of a tax audit it may be found that the counterparty does not actually conduct activities, and its customer will be imputed the cashing of funds. To protect your business and to be sure that you cooperate with a bona fide counterparty, it is necessary to perform the procedure of commercial due diligence:  

- Find out the address where the counterparty's office, manufacturing and storage facilities are located; 

- Request copies of documents confirming the availability of material, technical and human resources required by the counterparty to fulfill the transaction; 

- Request licenses, permits, certificates of membership in SRO, if the nature of work and services requires their presence; 

- Know the procedure for selecting a counterparty (by recommendation, through an Internet search, counterparty initiative, etc.); 

- Discuss the terms of the contract with the counterparty's manager or his managers. Proof of negotiations may be required for verification (correspondence, confirmation of meetings, etc.); 

- Analyze information about the counterparty from public sources, including the FTS website. If there is no information about the counterparty in the public domain - this is a risk factor; 

- Approve the contract with the state body or municipality, if required by law; 

- Conclude the contract in accordance with the internal regulations. There must not be any exceptions for any counterparty; 

- Do not include untypical commercial terms in the contract: too low a price or a long delay of payment; 

- Draw up documents specific to a particular type of transaction, in accordance with the requirements of industry law; 

- Not to make mistakes and contradictions in contracts and primary documents, so that the inspectors will not suspect that they have been made retrospectively; 

- not to accept a knowingly "unrealistic" payment such as illiquid bills of exchange, rights of claim from the debtor, the execution of which is unlikely; 

- To conduct claim work in case of violations by the counterparty, to take measures to recover debts in court.


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