New tax measures to hit resources

Russia’s Finance Ministry will raise the gas extraction tax almost 61% already in 2011, with other natural resources also facing an increased tax burden as the government looks to rein in the budget deficit.

Kommersant reports the Ministry hopes to get additional 1.1 trillion roubles over 2011 – 2013 from the increased natural resource extraction taxes. According to Ilya Trunin, the head of the Finance Ministry's tax and customs tariff policy, the NRET for gas would be raised in subsequent years in line with inflation.

Following a 61% increase in gas extraction tax in 2011, it will rise a further 6% in 2012 and then another 5.4% in 2013, bringing in an additional 51.2, 60.4 and 69.1 billion roubles respectively.

Despite Russian resource companies objecting to the new plans, saying they will lead to reduced investment in the sector, it was announced that the tax rise will also include Gazprom and other oil companies from 2012. Export duties for nickel and copper will also rise, as will excises for tobacco, petrol and diesel fuel.

However, Sergey Shatalov, first deputy finance minister, said the body would offer concessions.

“A new mechanism should be created to help the work on new fields and provide tax breaks for them. The fields of Vankor and Talakan will be included on the list of those receiving tax breaks.
The oil sector will also feel some changes starting from 2012. Under the plan, oil extraction tax will be raised 6.5 per cent in 2012 and 5.4 per cent in 2013.”

Among the new duties, the state plans to hike petrol excise by a rouble per litre every year from 2011, with the Deputy Finance Minister telling drivers to get ready, but also adding that regional transport taxes could be halved.

“The decision has not yet been approved by the President. But still I'm sure most likely we will have to increase petrol excises and that will lead to growing prices, and cancel the transport tax that we have at the moment. This step will give additional financial resources that we can transfer to the development of the country's road system.”