Residents are taxed on worldwide income. Nonresidents are taxed on Russian-source income only. Russian-source income includes, but is not limited to, income derived from work or services performed in the Russian Federation, capital gains derived from the disposal of property in the Russian Federation, interest from deposits held in the Russian Federation, rent from property located in the Russian Federation and dividends paid on shares of companies in the Russian Federation.
For tax purposes, individuals are considered resident if they are present in the country for 183 days or more in a period of 12 consecutive months. However, the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Tax Service take the position that an individual must spend at least 183 days in the Russian Federation in a calendar year to be considered tax resident for Russian tax purposes. This requirement is not stated in the Tax Code.
With respect to the counting of arrival and departure days for tax residency determination purposes, the current position of the tax authorities is that the days of both arrival and departure count as Russian for purposes of the Russian tax residency test.
Accordingly, nonresidents are individuals who do not meet the above test.
Income subject to tax. The taxation of various types of income is described below.
Employment income. Employment income consists of compensation whether received in cash or in kind, including, but not limited to, salary, bonuses and expatriate allowances. Residents are entitled to certain types of deductions from income (see Deductions).
Self-employment and business income. The income of individuals engaged in self-employment activities is subject to income tax.
Tax is levied on the individual’s annual self-employment income, which consists of gross income, less documented expenses associated with the performance of the work. Under certain circumstances, a simplified regime may apply.
Investment income. Dividends (both Russian and non-Russian source) received by residents are subject to tax at a rate of 13%. Russian-source received by nonresidents are subject to tax at a rate of 15%.
A tax rate of 35% applies to interest income on bank deposits held in the Russian Federation that exceeds the Central Bank’s refinancing rate on ruble deposits increased by five percentage points (or for foreign-currency deposits, interest that exceeds 9%), certain prizes and deemed income from certain loans extended at a rate of the lesser of 2/3 of the refinancing rate for ruble loans or 9% for loans denominated in foreign currency.
Taxation of employer-provided stock options. The taxation of employer stock options and other equity-based compensation is not dealt with specifically in the Tax Code. Historically, based on general tax principles and most common prevailing positions, an employee was required to recognize income equal to the excess of the fair market value of the stock over the exercise price at the time of exercise of an employer-provided stock option. However, a literal reading of the Tax Code and securities market regulations suggests that, effective from 1 January 2011, an equity award that at the time of grant is structured as an option contract may potentially trigger taxation of the individuals at the time of receipt of the option. At the moment, uncertainty continues to exist as to the taxability of option grants.
Capital gains. Capital gains are included in regular income. A separate capital gains tax does not apply. For additional details, see Property-related tax deductions.
Deductions. Deductions, which are available only to tax residents, are categorized as standard tax deductions, social tax deductions, property-related tax deductions, professional tax deductions and investment tax deductions.
Standard tax deductions. Each taxpayer is allowed a standard deduction for dependent children of RUB1,400 per month per child for the first and second child and RUB3,000 per month per child for the third and each additional child. This deduction phases out in the month in which the taxpayer’s year-to-date income taxable at a rate of 13% exceeds RUB350,000. In addition, a deduction of RUB500 or RUB3,000 per month is granted to certain disabled individuals, veterans and victims of natural disasters.
Social tax deductions. Social tax deductions include the following:
- Annual deductions for certain charitable contributions, up to 25% of income
- Education expenses for the taxpayer’s children, up to RUB50,000 per child
- Education expenses for the taxpayer
- Medical expenses for the taxpayer
- Expenses related to the taxpayer’s contributions to licensed Russian non-state pension funds
- Expenses related to the taxpayer’s supplemental state pension insurance contributions
The aggregate deduction for medical, non-state pension fund, state pension insurance and educational expenses (except for the taxpayer’s children’s educational expenses and certain medical expenses related to expensive medical treatments, as designated by the government) may not exceed RUB120,000 per tax year.
Property-related tax deductions. Income derived from the sale of property owned by the taxpayer for five years (three years in certain cases) or more is exempt from tax.
Property purchase expenses on the construction or acquisition of living premises in the Russian Federation (up to RUB2 million), increased by amounts of mortgage interest or certain other bank interest paid on a loan to fund such an acquisition or construction, are deductible. A property deduction in the amount of RUB2 million can be applied to several property items until the whole amount of deduction is used. The amount of deductible mortgage interest is limited to RUB3 million. If a residential property is owned by several individuals (so-called shared ownership), each individual can claim the property tax deduction in the amount of RUB2 million.
The first RUB1 million of income from the disposal of immovable property that has been owned by the taxpayer for less than three years is fully deductible against the sale proceeds (alternatively, the taxpayer can elect to pay tax on the actual taxable gain, which equals gross proceeds less documented expenses).
The first RUB250,000 of income from the disposal of movable property (except securities) that has been owned by the taxpayer for less than three years is fully deductible against the sale proceeds (alternatively, the taxpayer can elect to pay tax on the actual taxable gain, which equals gross proceeds less documented expenses).
Deduction for property-purchase expenses, expenses related to pension insurance contributions to Russian non-state pension funds and professional tax deductions can be obtained through the payroll (that is, tax withholding ceases for a period until a deduction is fully taken).
Income derived from the sale of securities is subject to special rules.
Professional tax deductions. Individual entrepreneurs and other individuals performing work or services on a contractual basis may deduct associated business expenses. Property tax paid by these taxpayers is deductible if the property is directly used in carrying out entrepreneurial activities. Taxpayers who cannot document expenses incurred in connection with their entrepreneurial activities are allowed a standard professional tax deduction at a rate of 20% of total income received from entrepreneurial activities.
Investment tax deductions. The following are the three types of investment tax deductions:
- The amount of the capital gain from the sale or redemption of securities circulating on a Russian stock exchange that were owned more than three years and acquired after 1 January 2014 (certain limits on the amount of deduction apply)
- The amount of funds deposited into an individual investment account (special type of account opened by a Russian broker or fiduciary), capped at RUB400,000 per year, subject to certain terms and conditions
- The amount of income from transactions involving the use of an individual investment account
A taxpayer must choose between the second and third investment tax deductions above; they cannot be applied simultaneously.
Rates. Four flat tax rates of 13%, 15%, 30% and 35% apply to different baskets of income.
A flat rate of 13% applies to all income for which another rate is not specified, including salary, dividends and other income earned by tax-resident individuals and earnings received by foreign individuals who qualify as Highly Qualified Specialists (HQSs) for immigration purposes (see Section J) for performance of work and services in this capacity.
A flat rate of 15% applies to Russian-source dividend income received by individuals who are not tax residents.
A flat rate of 30% applies to all taxable income (other than dividend income) received by individuals who are not tax residents, except earnings of HQSs.
A flat rate of 35% applies to interest income on bank deposits exceeding the Central Bank’s refinancing rate increased by 5 percentage points (or interest income on non-ruble deposits exceeding 9%), certain insurance payouts, certain prizes, and deemed income from certain low- or zero-interest loans.
Relief for losses. Business losses of a self-employed person may not be carried forward to future years.
Net worth tax and estate and gift tax are not levied in the Russian Federation.
In 2016, the following rates of social contributions are established for all categories of payers (except those who are entitled to the beneficial social security regime).
|Individual cumulative year-to-date
income subject to
|Up to 711,000||22||2.9*||5.1||30|
|Up to 796,000||22||0||5.1||27.1|
* The rate is 1.8% for expatriate employees holding standard work permits.
Payments made with respect to expatriate employees temporarily staying in the Russian Federation who have concluded employment agreements for a period not exceeding six months, and with respect to expatriate employees who hold the immigration status of HQS (see Section J), are not subject to accrual of social contributions (except for workplace accident insurance). Payments with respect to expatriate employees holding standard work permits are subject to accrual of contributions to the Social Insurance Fund at a 1.8% rate. After the first six months of accrual of these contributions, these expatriate employees are eligible for social insurance (for example, payment for the period of a sick leave).
Payments made with respect to other categories of expatriate employees (for example, those who hold temporary or permanent resident permits) are subject to accrual of social contributions in accordance with the special provisions envisaged for each category of employees.
Under the social security system, additional pension contributions must be paid by organizations that have employees eligible for early retirement (that is, employees working in unsafe and hazardous conditions). Based on the results of a procedure for the special evaluation of working conditions, certain job positions may be classified as work performed in unsafe and/or hazardous conditions. In this case, the employer must accrue and pay additional pension contributions due on employment income of these special categories of employees. Depending on the class of professional risk assigned to employees, the employers are required to pay additional pension contributions at a rate ranging from 2% to 8%.
The legislation also stipulates certain categories of organizations entitled to apply lower rates of social contributions. These are organizations conducting specific types of economic activities including, but not limited to, the following:
- Certain types of information technology companies
- Certain types of mass media companies
- Participants in the Skolkovo project
- Companies rendering engineering services
Information on accrued and paid medical and pension contributions, as well as individual reporting with respect to the amount of income delivered to individuals, must be submitted to the Pension Fund. Information on accrued and paid social insurance contributions must be reported by employers to the Social Insurance Fund.
The above-mentioned reporting must be submitted on a quarterly basis (the reporting periods are the first quarter, six months, nine months and full calendar year). In addition, beginning in 2016, employers must submit monthly individual reporting to the Pension Fund. According to the current requirements, the respective types of reporting should be submitted to the authorities electronically if the number of individuals with respect to whom social contributions were paid (that is, insured persons) exceeds 50.
In addition to the above social contributions, workplace accident contributions are due on all payments to all employees (Russian nationals and foreigners), including HQSs. The contributions are without a cap. The rate is generally 0.2% for most employers that predominantly or only employ office workers.
Tax filing and payment procedures
The tax year in the Russian Federation is the calendar year.
Entrepreneurs, attorneys, notaries and private detectives must file both preliminary and final tax returns. These categories of taxpayers must submit a preliminary tax return within one month and five days after they first receive income from their activities, and no later than 30 April in each subsequent year in which they plan to conduct professional activities in the Russian Federation. Preliminary tax equals 100% of the tax payable on the estimated income. Payment for January through June is due by 15 July; for July through September, by 15 October; and for October through December, by 15 January of the following year.
For most taxpayers, tax is payable through withholding at source. Individuals who receive income subject to tax in the Russian Federation but not subject to tax withholding must file a tax return.
An individual may also file a tax return on a voluntary basis even if a filing is not required. A tax filing may be required to claim certain tax deductions that cannot be granted through the payroll, to claim a refund of overwithheld tax as a result of a change of a tax residency status or to obtain a Russian tax clearance certificate.
Annual tax returns are due on 30 April of the year following the reporting calendar year; the corresponding tax self-assessed in the declaration must be paid by 15 July of such year. Foreign nationals permanently leaving the Russian Federation are required to file a tax return one month before their permanent departure and pay the corresponding tax within 15 days after filing the return.
A penalty of 5% of the tax due for each full or partial month of delay is imposed for the late submission of a tax declaration after the deadline. The penalty is capped at 30% of the tax due and cannot be less than RUB1,000. Criminal sanctions can also be applied in rare cases. The late payment of tax is subject to interest at a rate of 1/300 of the annual refinancing rate of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation for each day of late payment (11% as of 18 April 2016).
Underpayment or incomplete payment of tax results in the imposition of a 20% fine (40% for a deliberate violation) on the respective amount of tax due.
Under immigration rules, a foreign citizen is not allowed to enter the Russian Federation if he or she evaded a tax payment or an administrative fine during a previous stay in the Russian Federation. The entry ban lasts until the foreign citizen fully pays the respective tax or administrative fine.
Double tax relief and tax treaties
Taxpayers may be either exempt from the payment of Russian tax or foreign tax paid may be credited against Russian tax payable, but the foreign tax credit may not exceed the Russian tax payable on the same income. Under new rules in force from 2016, to apply for an exemption, a taxpayer must present a certificate of residency from a country with which the Russian Federation has a double tax treaty (the tax authorities may request additional supporting documents). The foreign tax credit may be claimed in a tax return within three years of the receipt of income. The taxpayer must enclose documents supporting the amount of income received and tax paid with the tax return.
Depending on the particular situation, a taxpayer must submit the following:
- A certificate issued by the tax authorities of the treaty state indicating the type and amount of income, calendar year of receipt, amount of tax paid and date of payment
- A copy of the tax return submitted in the foreign state and a copy of the tax payment confirmation
- A document issued by a tax withholding agent containing information on income per month and tax withheld
All supporting documents must be submitted to the Russian tax authorities together with a notarized Russian translation.
The Russian Federation has entered into tax treaties with the following countries.
Albania India Philippines
Algeria Indonesia Poland
Argentina Iran Portugal
Armenia Ireland Qatar
Australia Israel Romania
Austria Italy Saudi Arabia
Azerbaijan Kazakhstan Serbia
Belarus Korea (North) Singapore
Belgium Korea (South) Slovak Republic
Botswana Kuwait Slovenia
Brazil* Kyrgyzstan South Africa
Bulgaria Latvia Spain
Canada Lebanon Sri Lanka
Chile Lithuania Sweden
China Luxembourg Switzerland
Croatia Macedonia Syria
Cuba Malaysia Tajikistan
Cyprus Mali Thailand
Czech Republic Mexico Turkey
Denmark Moldova Turkmenistan
Egypt Mongolia Ukraine
Finland Montenegro United Kingdom
France Morocco United States
Germany Namibia Uzbekistan
Greece Netherlands Venezuela
Hungary New Zealand Vietnam
* The double tax treaty between the Russian Federation and Brazil was signed but has not entered into effect.
In addition, the Russian Federation currently honors the tax treaty entered into by the USSR with Japan.
Visas are issued by diplomatic missions or consulates of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Internal Affairs (directly or by proxy) on the basis of any of the following:
- An invitation from an organization registered with bodies of the Federal Migration Service
- A decision adopted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a consulate or diplomatic mission
- A decision of a territorial body of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to issue a temporary residence permit
Visas can be single-entry, double-entry or multiple-entry.
Foreign citizens from most Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and those who are permanent or temporary residents of the Russian Federation do not need entry visas; they must present identification documents and/or their permanent or temporary residence permit on entry.
The following categories of visas are available in the Russian Federation:
- Temporary residence
Ordinary visas are divided into private, business, tourist, study, work, humanitarian, and entry visas for persons seeking asylum.
Ordinary business visas support business trips to the Russian Federation. In general, they may be single-entry or double-entry for up to three months, or multiple-entry for up to one year. A foreign citizen with a multiple-entry business visa may not be present in the Russian Federation for more than 90 days within each 180-day period. Ordinary work visas are issued to those who perform labor activities in the Russian Federation. Initially, ordinary work visas are issued for up to three months and are valid for a single entry. However, on the individual entering the Russian Federation, the visa may be extended by bodies of the Federal Migration Service or the foreign citizen’s place of stay through the issuance of a multiple-entry visa for the term of the labor agreement, limited to one year for the initial visa and for each subsequent multi-entry visa.
For information on the special work permit and work visa regime for HQSs, see Section J.
Work permits, patents and residence permits are discussed in Sections G, H and I, respectively.
Effective from 1 January 2015, foreign nationals who apply for a work permit, patent, temporary residence permit or permanent residence permit are required to present a certificate confirming their knowledge of Russian language, history and basics of Russian law. This requirement does not apply to the processing of work permits and permanent residence permits for HQSs.
In general, any foreign citizen who works in the Russian Federation must hold a work permit or patent, and the employer or purchaser of work (services) of such foreign citizen must hold a valid employer permit to engage such an individual (when applicable).
The Russian Federation has entered into treaties simplifying the Russian work permit application process with France and Korea (South).
It is never necessary to obtain a work permit or patent, and permit for the engagement and use of foreign workers with respect to certain workers, including the following:
- Citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan
- Temporary residents of the Russian Federation
- Permanent residents of the Russian Federation
- Employees of diplomatic missions, consulates and international organizations (with respect to their work for such organizations)
- Employees of foreign legal entities engaged in the installation, installation supervision, servicing, warranty servicing and after-guarantee repairs of installed equipment manufactured or supplied by those foreign legal entities
- Journalists accredited in the Russian Federation
The procedure applicable for individuals who are not HQSs and who require a visa to enter the Russian Federation is discussed below.
If no exemption applies, the company must submit a forecast to the local Interdepartmental Committee setting out the company’s expectations for the number and profile of foreign employees needed in the following year. If the company fails to complete this submission or properly include in it a foreign employee for whom it will apply for a work permit, a refusal to issue a work permit may result. The deadline for submitting a forecast application varies by region.
A list of positions that do not require a forecast (quota) approved upfront also exists.
The following are the steps for obtaining employer and employee permits with respect to citizens of countries requiring visas to enter the Russian Federation:
- Applying for a conclusion on the expediency of the engagement of foreign labor from the Federal Employment Service
- Applying for a permit for the engagement of foreign labor from the Federal Migration Service
- Applying for a work permit for a foreign employee from the Federal Migration Service
Completion of the above steps can take four or more months. As a result, it is critical to begin the application process as early as possible.
Effective from 1 January 2015, foreign nationals who do not require a visa to enter the Russian Federation (CIS countries) for work purposes must apply for a patent instead of a work permit to perform a labor activity for organizations or individuals. The quota system is abolished for these foreign nationals who come from non-visa countries.
Under the patent system, a foreign national must make fixed advance tax payments to maintain the validity of the patent. The monthly amount of such tax payments varies by region.
The amount of such payments is subject to an adjustment for the deflator coefficient set for the corresponding calendar year. Failure to make advance payments leads to an annulment of the patent.
A patent is issued to a foreign national for the duration of one month with the possibility of further renewal for a period of up to 12 months, provided that a signed employment or civil contract exists.
The following essential documents are required for an application for a patent:
- A voluntary medical insurance policy
- Medical certificates on the absence of drug abuse and infectious diseases
- Certificate of Russian language proficiency, and knowledge of the history and basics of Russian law
Foreign citizens in Russia may have one of the following three statuses:
- Persons temporarily located in the Russian Federation
- Temporary residents (those who hold temporary residence permits)
- Permanent residents (those who hold permanent residence permits)
The first status, which is the default status if one does not apply for and obtain a residence permit, is by far the most common status of expatriates working in the Russian Federation.
Temporary residence permits are issued within quotas established by the government on an annual basis and are valid for three years.
A permanent residence permit may be issued to a foreign individual on the basis of a valid temporary residence permit no later than six months before the expiration of the temporary residence permit. A permanent residence permit may be issued to an HQS (see Section J) based on an HQS work permit only (it is not necessary to first apply for a temporary residence permit). A permanent residence permit is issued for five years and may be extended for the same period an unlimited number of times.
Special regime for Highly Qualified Specialists
A beneficial immigration regime is available for highly qualified foreign nationals working in the Russian Federation who are employed by Russian companies or Russian branches and representative offices of foreign companies. These individuals are referred to as HQSs. For this purpose, an HQS is a person who receives earnings not less than RUB167,000 per month for work performed in the Russian Federation. A simplified quota-free, one-step application procedure for work permits and visas is established for HQSs intending to work in the Russian Federation. HQSs may apply for work permits and work visas that are valid for three years with the opportunity to extend their validity for subsequent three-year periods, as compared to one-year work permits and visas received by other foreigners.
The following are some of the advantages of the simplified procedure for obtaining a work visa and work permit for an HQS:
- The employer need not receive a conclusion on the expediency of engaging foreign labor.
- A corporate permit is not required to employ an HQS.
- A work permit and work visa for an HQS are issued within 14 work days after the submission of documents.
- A work permit for an HQS can be valid for multiple regions of the Russian Federation. Under ordinary procedures, a separate work permit must be obtained in each region in which the individual would work.
HQSs and their accompanying family members (if any) must have private medical insurance valid in the Russian Federation, which can be arranged either by HQSs or their employers. The immigration law also contains a requirement for employers engaging HQSs to submit quarterly reports to the immigration authorities on salaries and remuneration paid to HQSs.
Earnings of HQSs for their work in such capacity are subject to tax at a rate of 13%, regardless of the duration of the stay of the HQSs in the Russian Federation. In accordance with the current position of the Ministry of Finance, employment income of HQSs (to which a 13% tax rate is applied) is limited to base salary, bonuses or remuneration received under Russian employment or civil agreements from the employer sponsoring the HQS work permit. Consequently, the authorities may challenge the taxation at a 13% rate of other types of employment income received or income received by tax nonresident HQSs from another employer (for example, from outside the Russian Federation for work and services performed by an HQS in the Russian Federation).
Family and personal considerations
Family members. Non-working family members of expatriates may receive accompanying family member visas, but applications must be filed separately. The providing of apostilled marriage and birth certificates is required for visa applications. Family members must have separate work permits if they plan to work in the Russian Federation.
Driver’s permits. In general, foreign nationals can drive legally in the Russian Federation with their home country driver’s licenses and international driver’s licenses, accompanied by a notarized translation.
The Russian Federation does not have driver’s license reciprocity with any other country.
A foreign national who expects to work in the Russian Federation as a professional driver must obtain a local Russian driver’s license.
To obtain a local Russian driver’s license, an applicant must take a written exam, a medical exam and a practical driving test.
Enrollment. The enrollment procedure involves the responsible hosting party notifying the respective territorial office of the Federal Migration Service within seven business days of a foreign citizen’s arrival at the place of his or her stay in the Russian Federation, or arrival at a new location in the Russian Federation where this individual will stay for seven days or more.
The enrollment procedure for citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan should be performed within 30 days after entering the Russian Federation. The enrollment procedure for citizens of Ukraine, except for those who work in the Russian Federation, should be performed within 90 days after entering the Russian Federation.
HQSs and their accompanying family members may enter and stay in the Russian Federation without having to enroll within 90 calendar days after entering the Russian Federation. In addition, under the regulations, they are not required to enroll if they travel to other regions of the Russian Federation different from the one in which they are enrolled, provided that the period of stay in this other region does not exceed 30 calendar days. After the 90-day period expires, HQSs must enroll within 7 business days.
The responsible hosting party is generally the hotel if the foreign citizen is staying at a hotel, landlord of an apartment in which the foreign citizen is staying or the employer.
HQSs who own an accommodation in the Russian Federation may act as a hosting party for their accompanying family members.
The de-enrollment procedure is completed either at the Russian border when a foreign citizen leaves the Russian Federation or when a foreign citizen is enrolled at a new place of stay in the Russian Federation.
Submission of foreign labor needs forecasts (quota applications). Under the regulations, companies must report annually before a specified date (1 July for Moscow-located companies) the number of foreign employees (including both actual employees and civil or legal contractors, but excluding HQSs and CIS citizens) they anticipate needing to engage in the following calendar year, including the precise positions and citizenships of these anticipated foreign employees. This effectively constitutes an application for a quota. A quota must first be obtained before it is possible to submit a work permit application for any foreigner who is not one of the following:
- An HQS
- CIS citizen
- An individual who will occupy one of a limited number of specific quota-free job positions
The deadline for filing the quota application varies by region.
Notifications. Companies are required to notify the immigration authorities of the conclusion or termination of an employment or civil or legal agreement with a foreign national within three business days after the date of the event.
Sanctions for non-compliance with the immigration legislation Russian legislation contains severe sanctions for companies, their executives and foreign citizens for non-compliance with the immigration legislation. The upper end of financial sanctions applied to a company can reach RUB1 million (per foreign individual per violation). The worst-case scenario can include deportation of the individual from the country for up to 10 years and/ or suspension of the employer’s business activities for up to 90 days and/or a company being banned from engaging any foreigners under the HQS regime for up to two years. Financial sanctions and even deportations have been increasingly applied. In addition, a foreign citizen may not be allowed to enter the Russian Federation if he or she was held liable for an administrative offense in the Russian Federation two or more times within three years or has unsettled tax in the Russian Federation. The entry ban lasts for three years from the date when the last decision on the imposition of administrative sanctions entered into force.
Punishment measures for violations incurred in the cities of federal significance (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Moscow Region and Leningrad Region) have become even tougher.