Representing an IT-company, a subsidiary of the largest telecom operator and IT-solutions developer of the Southern and North Caucasian Federal Districts, in a dispute with the tax inspectorate
The client appealed to the arbitration court with a claim to the tax authority to invalidate the decision made on the basis of the field tax audit. The basis for the accrual of additional taxes, penalties and fines served as the basis for the conclusions of the tax authority that the Client received a tax benefit in the relationship with several counterparties, which, as telecommunications operators, could not provide services for traffic transit in connection with the fact that they had signs of organizations that do not perform real financial and economic activities. A particular difficulty in proving the case lies in the fact that the "traffic service" is not tangible and can not be visualized, so it was very difficult to collect evidence of the reality of transmitting traffic. As the result of legal efforts and well-designed defense strategy the court of the first instance partially rendered a judgment in favor of the Client. In this case the court saw an opportunity to interpret the concept of "due diligence" in favor of telecom companies. This approach (if supported by higher courts) can be used by other recipients of similar services (in particular, telecommunications companies), both at the stage of selecting counterparties, and when defending against claims of tax authorities.
Tax Compliance team managed to defend around 50% of additional tax charges (in terms of corporate income tax, the client's claims were recognized as legitimate). This dispute is unique and constitutes positive arbitration practice for the entire telecommunications industry.
Mikhail Begunov, Denis Kozhevnikov, Andrey Solomyany
Legal defense of Russia's largest distributor of household chemicals, personal care products, perfumes, decorative cosmetics and other consumer goods.
The Client petitioned the court to suspend the tax authorities' decision based on the results of an on-site tax audit according to which the tax authorities had charged substantial amounts of additional tax and VAT as well as penalties and fines totaling over 3 billion rubles. Most of the claims were related to expenses for logistics services because the tax authority suspected that they were of a fictitious nature. The lawyers worked out a legal position on the expediency of suspension of the tax authority's decision. As part of the litigation we provided documents confirming the movement of goods from the Client's suppliers to the end buyer with the participation of logistics companies, as well as with the help of experts, confirmed the market value of services. Cash write-offs from company accounts were converted, allowing the Client to continue business operations and avoid significant financial losses.
Thanks to position developed by lawyers and provided evidence, the court took interim measures and actually suspended the tax authorities' decision. An important precedent was created and positive arbitration practice on cancellation of tax authorities' decisions was formed. Judicial practice has developed an approach according to which a taxpayer should not be held liable for the actions of third parties. According to independent experts, the case may be of importance for the practice of application of Article 54.1 of the Tax Code (interaction with technical participants in transactions solely for the purpose of reducing tax liabilities) in general and, in particular, for large taxpayers who make extensive use of the services of third-party transportation and logistics companies, such as in the FMCG industry.
Mikhail Begunov, Denis Kozhevnikov
Judicial protection of the interests of a major pharmaceutical company in challenging the claims of transactions with "unfair" counterparties
According to the results of the second field tax audit in connection with the violation of the rules of Art. 54.1 of the Tax Code, the company was charged a significant amount of additional taxes and penalties in terms of transactions for the supply of raw materials concluded with several counterparties. During the trial, the court was presented with evidence of the uniqueness of the raw materials purchased from the disputed counterparties and their actual use in production, the circumstances of the conclusion and execution of transactions by the disputed counterparties, as well as the availability of material and labor resources in sufficient volume.
The legal position developed by our experts allowed the court of first instance to appeal against the additional charges for several counterparties totaling 117 million rubles.
Representing a major distributor in court on the issue of interim measures and suspension of the tax authority's decision
The client, with the support of Tax Compliance, applied to court for suspension of the tax authority's decision based on the results of an on-site tax audit. Enforcement of that decision could have caused considerable damage to the company and paralyzed its activity, taking into consideration the substantial amount of tax charges that could have been critical for the client's business.
We managed to work out a convincing legal position, based on which the court took interim measures. Representatives of the tax authority appealed the interim measures, but thanks to the efforts of our lawyers the court ruling was upheld, despite the fact that according to statistics less than 37% of applications for interim measures are satisfied by the courts.
Mikhail Begunov, Denis Kozhevnikov
Defended the interests of the largest supplier of household appliances in arbitration court in a case of additional taxation of imported goods with the participation of the chain of resellers.
With regard to the client, a tax audit was carried out, as a result of which the tax authority provides evidence that the audited entity actually purchased the disputed products directly from the importer bypassing the chain of suppliers. One of the evidence of fictitiousness was the protocol of inspection of warehouse and office premises, which the tax authority established the absence of this counterparty at the addresses and concluded that the supplier could not store the goods. The lawyers collected the information proving the falsification of the evidence submitted by the tax authority.
In the course of the court proceedings, the tax authority excluded this evidence, which initially formed the basis for the tax audit decision, from its position.