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In 2003-2004, Russia's leading oil companies ceased using "gray" schemes for tax minimization
In 2003-2004, Russia's leading oil companies Lukoil, Sibneft and Yukos ceased using "gray" schemes for tax minimization, reports Audit Chamber auditor Vladimir Panskov, following the AD board's session on verifying the full volume and timeliness of these companies' tax payment. These companies, said Panskov, have abandoned schemes used in 2001-2002 for minimizing taxes by re-distribution of profits in favor of companies registered in soft taxation areas: Mordovia, Kalmykia and Baikonur. Since January 1, 2004, Russia has virtually lacked soft taxation zones, the so-called internal off-shores, with certain tax and customs preferences left only in the Kaliningrad and Magadan Regions. Panskov has also reported that the Audit Chamber will not apply to the Prosecutor-General's Office on the results of the audits, as is frequently the case. "We have not found any reason for this," said the auditor. He has not however ruled out the possibility of imposing some extra charges on their profit taxes calculated in 2001-2002. "But this is the competence of the tax service and has nothing to do with the prosecutor-general's office," specified the auditor. He noted that Sibneft had certain privileges in 2003 but they were enjoyed by organizations legally independent from Sibneft. Sibneft proper did not receive any benefits and the tax services cannot have any complaints against it. He believes that all the aforementioned organizations cannot be blamed because they received benefits in accordance with the law of the Chukotka district.
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