The previously announced plans of the Russian government to combine the Federal Tax Service and the Federal Customs Service into a single fiscal authority have been recently supported by first practical steps.

On 31 August 2015, it was publicly announced, based on information received from high-level government officials, that the Federal Tax Service and the Federal Customs Service are currently jointly developing a unified automatic information system which would aggregate data received from tax and customs authorities for the purposes of fiscal control. This information system will become the first step towards the unified administration of tax and customs matters in Russia and will be followed in the future by the merger of tax and customs authorities into a single fiscal authority subordinated to the Russian Ministry of Finance.

Impact and affected entities

The unified information system will facilitate exchange of data between the Federal Tax Service and Federal Customs Service. Both fiscal authorities will be able to access this information system to monitor transactions, control proper payment of taxes and customs duties, and combat understatement of customs value of imported goods and use of fly-by-night companies for tax avoidance.

The representatives of the Federal Tax Service also stated that the unified information system will help the exporters to prove the fact that goods were actually exported from Russia for purposes of claiming zero VAT rate and input VAT refunds.