Russia’s National Goods Traceability System Creates New Level of Measures to Counter Illegal Goods Trafficking

With the entry into force of Federal Law No. 371-FZ* (dated 9 November 2020) on 1 July 2021, Russia is introducing a national system of traceability of goods.

Previously, the traceability system operated in the experimental mode and was voluntary: individual entrepreneurs and companies importing certain types of goods in Russia that are subject to traceability under Russian Government Decree No. 807* dated 25 June 2019 had the option of joining.

After the entry into force of the Federal Law, participation in the traceability system becomes mandatory for businesses, and taxpayers will be required to report transactions with traceable goods to tax authorities.

Essence of the changes

The traceability system is designed as a system of counteractions against the illegal import and circulation of goods. The centralised database of the Federal Tax Service (FTS) will enable it to monitor operations with traceable goods from the moment of their entry into Russian territory until their withdrawal from circulation.

The traceability system does not provide for the marking of goods. Tracking is based on a special goods traceability registration number, which is assigned to a consignment of goods as soon as it is imported into Russia and declared.

Traceability details, including the traceability registration number assigned to the consignment, “follow” the goods during their subsequent sale. These details are indicated in the shipping documents for the goods, and also in the taxpayer’s VAT reporting.

Electronic document flow between taxpayers is an integral part of the traceability system. When selling traceable goods, all organisations and individual entrepreneurs must ensure the possibility of issuing and receiving invoices electronically. Paper invoices are provided only when selling goods to end consumers (for needs not related to business activities), re-exporting goods, or exporting traceable goods to another member state of the Eurasian Economic Union.

If any discrepancies are identified between the information available to the FTS on transactions with traceable goods and reports provided by the taxpayer or counterparties, the FTS has the right to request that a taxpayer provide VAT invoices, primary documents and any other documents in relation to traceable goods as part of an on-site audit.

Traceable goods

The Russian government has approved the list of goods subject to traceability. This list (with the corresponding TN VED and OKPD-2 codes) can now be seen on the basis of the Decree adopted within the experiment of the introduction of the traceability system.

The list of goods subject to traceability as of writing comprises:

  • refrigerators, freezers, other types of refrigeration and freezer equipment and heat pumps;
  • forklift trucks and other forklifts, tractors used in railroad stations;
  • bulldozers, graders, self-propelled levellers, rammers and road rollers, front end loaders with one bucket, excavators;
  • household or laundry washing machines, dryers and certain types of laundry equipment;
  • monitors and projectors that are used in automatic data processing systems, television receivers, monitors and projectors without built-in television reception equipment;
  • baby strollers and child safety seats; and
  • electronic integrated circuits and electronic storage devices.

In connection with the introduction of the traceability system on a permanent basis, the Russian government is expected to approve an updated list of traceable goods.

The Russian government has already developed the relevant draft decree*, but it has not yet been adopted. The updated list of traceable goods is largely identical to the list in Decree No. 807, but a new type of item has been added to the above list: cut flowers and buds suitable for making bouquets or for decorative purposes.

New obligations for taxpayers

Taxpayers must report to the Federal Tax Service and provide documents containing traceability details not only for the importation of goods into Russia, but also for the sale or removal of traceable goods from circulation. For example, this applies to the resale of traceable goods to another taxpayer, the sale of goods to an end consumer, exports from Russia or recycling.

The recommended reporting forms for each type of transaction with traceable goods for the respective category of taxpayers are contained in the FTS’s Letter No. ЕА-4-15/5042@* of 14 April 2021. In the future, a special order will approve the respective form of a report on transactions with traceable goods and documents containing traceability details (together with the procedure for completing them). At the moment, however, the document has not yet been adopted and is under development.

Taxpayers exempt from the obligation to pay VAT or that apply special tax regimes must also report on transactions with traceable goods. In these cases, the taxpayer must submit a quarterly report to the FTS using a special form. Instead of an electronic VAT invoice, they must issue the counterparty with a universal transfer act in electronic form containing traceability details.

Taxpayers who have acquired goods subject to traceability before 1 July 2021, but intend to sell them after that date as part of their commercial activities, must also notify the FTS on the traceable goods they have in stock.

Comments

The traceability system is expected to considerably reduce the share of illegal goods circulation within Russia and should positively impact economic development in general. Nevertheless, the introduction of a new mechanism of control over transactions with certain categories of goods will inevitably increase the administrative burden of many businesses.

In light of the planned changes, taxpayers should clearly assess whether they have an obligation to report on transactions with traceable goods, taking into account the products imported or sold by them as approved by the Russian government.

Even if the taxpayer is not a direct importer of traceable goods, the new rules may still apply if it purchases these goods in a commercial activity or has already purchased traceable goods before 1 July 2021.

In addition, all companies and individual entrepreneurs carrying out transactions with traceable goods must ensure electronic submission of reports and issuance of invoices to counterparties in electronic form. Subsequently, care should be taken when choosing the appropriate electronic document management operator.

If you have any questions on this eAlert, do not hesitate to contact CMS Russia experts Hayk Safaryan, Igor Ershov, Anna Osmakova or your regular contact at CMS Russia

* In Russian