On January 1, 2015 the procedure for accreditation of foreign company branches and representative offices changed.
The change is connected with the entry into force, as of January 1, 2015 of Federal Law No. 106-FZ "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation" dated May 5, 2014 (the "Law"). The most important new developments are:
- A unified state register of accredited foreign company branches and representative offices was created on January 1, 2015 (the "Register"). The Federal Tax Service of Russia's Moscow Interdistrict Inspectorate No. 47 ("FTS Inspectorate No. 47") has been given the authority to maintain the Register and to accredit all branches and representative offices of business entities created in the Russian Federation (except representative offices of banks and credit institutions ).
- Accreditation is provided for an unlimited term and the previous limits of three years for representative offices and five years for branches are no longer in effect (except for those branches and representative offices that were created before the Law entered into force).
- Branches and representative offices that were created before the Law entered into force and whose accreditation does not expire before April 1, 2015 must communicate information about themselves to FTS Inspectorate No. 47 by April 1, 2015 and be entered in the Register. Then the existing accreditation will remain in effect until the end of the term for which it was issued. If this requirement is not met, then the accreditation of existing branches and representative offices expires on April 1, 2015.
- All branches and representative offices accredited before the Law entered into force (including those mentioned in item 4) may file with FTS Inspectorate No. 47 for unlimited accreditation in accordance with the new Law. The filing must be made within 30 days before the existing accreditation is due to expire (except for those whose accreditation expires in January 2015: they have a special time period to file for accreditation between February 1 and February 28, 2015).
- There is a requirement both in the case of entry in the Register as described in item 3, and in the case of accreditation as in item 4, to first certify information at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (the "Chamber of Commerce") on the number of foreign employees of the branch and representative office.
- The information contained in the Register is open and public and may be accessed by any interested party through the Internet (no charge) or at FTS Inspectorate No. 47 (for a fee).
- Upon entry in the Register, the branches and representative offices must apply to the Chamber of Commerce for the personal accreditation of its foreign employees.
Fees or duties in the following amounts are charged for these actions:
- for entering information in the Register (item 4) - no charge;
- for accreditation of branches and representative offices (item 5) - 120,000 rubles;
- for Chamber of Commerce certification of information on the number of foreign employees (item 6) - 5,000 rubles;
- for providing information from the Register (item 7) - 200 rubles.
The Register was created by analogy with the long-existing Unified State Register of Legal Entities (EGRUL) and it is anticipated that accreditation of branches and representative offices will be simpler and information about them will be more openly available. However, at the initial stage the creation of the Register causes certain difficulties and additional registration formalities for existing branches and representative offices. The legal meaning of the personal accreditation of foreign employees and its coordination with the work permit procedures are yet to be determined after February 2, 2015 (when the new accreditation procedures are to start working in practice).