In February, the Presidium of the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation (the “SCC”) reviewed a case that has once again drawn attention to the necessity of justifying the financial features of a transaction.

Specifically, the tax inspectorate found the expenses paid as an agency fee to a foreign company (to search for customers) to be unfounded, stating that the only reason for the taxpayer’s signing the agency agreement was to decrease its obligations. However, the courts of the first three instances supported the taxpayer, indicating that as a result of the foreign agent’s having provided the services, the taxpayer concluded a contract for the delivery of goods produced by the taxpayer itself.

The tax inspectorate, however, insisted that the relationship between the taxpayer and the counterparty for the delivery of goods had existed since 1998. The SCC supported the position of the tax inspectorate, noting that it was not clear from the documents submitted what legal and other actions had been produced by the foreign agent for the purpose of selling goods.

[Decree No. 12093/11 of the Presidium of the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation, dated 14 February 2012, has not yet been made public; Ruling No. SCC-12093/11of the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation, dated 18 November 2011]