The procedure for the accreditation of branches/representative offices of foreign companies (“Branches/ROs”) in Russia, as well as for obtaining the personal accreditation of foreign employees of such Branches/ROs, was effectively changed by Federal Law No. 106-FZ “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation”, which was signed by President Putin on May 5, 2014 and entered into force on January 1, 2015. Foreign companies operating in Russia by means of a Branch or RO will need to quickly adjust to, and comply with, this new procedure.
As of January 1, 2015:
- a unified state register for Branches/ROs (the ”Register”) was created and is now kept by the Federal Tax Service of the Russian Federation (in Russian: Федеральная налоговая служба) (the “Tax Service”);
- the accreditation of the Branches/ROs of foreign companies will be carried out by the Tax Service (in particular, by Tax Inspectorate No. 47) instead of the State Registration Chamber (in Russian:Государственная регистрационная палата) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (in Russian: Торгово-промышленная палата) (the “CCI”). An RO of a foreign company operating in the civil aviation sphere (the “Aviation RO”) will be still accredited by the Federal Air Transport Agency (the “Rosaviation”), and it is Rosaviation that will automatically register such RO with the Tax Service. Moreover, a Branch/RO of a foreign credit/bank organization (the “Bank RO/Branch”) will continue to be accredited by the Central Bank, with the Central Bank also automatically registering such Branch/RO with the Tax Service;
- the term of accreditation for Branches/ROs, newly accredited by the Tax Service after April 1, 2015, will be unlimited;
- the personal accreditation of foreign employees of Branches/ROs will be carried out by the CCI. The personal accreditation of foreign employees of an Aviation RO and a Bank RO/Branch will be carried out by Rosaviation and the Central Bank, respectively;
- branches/ROs with valid accreditation as of April 1, 2015 must confirm such accreditation by sending an application to the Tax Service by April 1, 2015. The application should be accompanied with a set of required documents, including a certification from the CCI in respect of the accredited foreign employees of the Branch/RO. The accreditation of such Branches/ROs will remain in force until the end of the term for which such Branches/ROs were accredited prior to April 1, 2015;
- the accreditation of branches/ROs will no longer have any effect (i.e. such Branches/ROs will be unable to carry out their activities within the territory of the Russian Federation) after April 1, 2015 if such branches/ROs fail to confirm their accreditation by April 1, 2015; and
- once the accreditation of the Branch/RO is confirmed with the Tax Service, the Branch/RO will obtain from the CCI the new personal accreditation for its foreign employees.
Fees and duties in the amounts displayed below are charged for the following actions pursuant to complying with the new procedure:
- for entering information into the Register (for the purposes of confirming accreditation) - free;
- for (newly) accrediting the Branch/RO - RUB 120,000;
- for receiving a certification from the CCI on the information in respect of the number of foreign employees - from RUB 5,000 – 15,000 (depending on the number of foreign employees); and
- for obtaining information from the Register – RUB 200.