Posted 21 ноября 2022,, 08:13

Published 21 ноября 2022,, 08:13

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Begged for poverty: the largest shopping malls received significant benefits

Begged for poverty: the largest shopping malls received significant benefits

21 ноября 2022, 08:13
In the fall, the Russian Council of Shopping Centers said that shopping and entertainment centers need help: the situation is worse than during the pandemic years of downtime. The largest regions of the country decided to help the merchants and approved them tax breaks for two years.

Yekaterina Maksimova

Against the background of the announcement of partial mobilization, representatives of the mall said that they could not cope with the problems. “Attendance is falling (to a level of 20% or more compared to the same period in 2021), and the vacancy of retail space is also increasing to an abnormal value, which today can be up to 25-30% of the amount of leasable space”, - the president of the Russian Council of Shopping Centers said at the time. Dmitry Moskalenko. The fall in rental income, according to businessmen, is 35-45% (representatives of the mall compared the data with the pre-pandemic 2019).

The management of the Russian Council of Shopping Centers then advised its representatives to seek help from the regional authorities and insist on tax breaks. Market participants asked not to accrue or levy taxes on real estate and land tax from them until September 2024. Or reduce the coefficients used in calculating taxes by 50%.

The plan worked, but with a twist

And now, a month later, the regions, one after another, decide to provide tax preferences to retail facilities.

Recently, deputies of the Legislative Assembly of the Sverdlovsk Region supported the regional law "On Amendments to Certain Laws of the Sverdlovsk Region". Owners of administrative, business and shopping centers with an area of more than 5,000 square meters have their property tax payments reduced by 50% in 2023 and by 25% in 2024.

On November 11, deputies of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg also voted for similar relaxations for the shopping and entertainment center, who supported the law “On Amendments to Certain Laws of St. Petersburg on Taxes and Fees”. Did not offend "big" trade and the Moscow City Duma.

It is noteworthy that in all legislative acts that list tax benefits for the next year, retail facilities occupy a modest last or penultimate place.

“The Moscow City Duma accepts so many tax benefits for those who are engaged in business that you can already lose count. They are so numerous and so intricate! They are brought together with some benefits either to the circus or to social facilities. Moreover, this is done on purpose and it always happens - all in one heap in order to smuggle benefits to business. Social objects become "locomotives" in such bills. I always say that this practice should be finished. And I regularly protest against it. This is unnatural ”, - said Yelena Shuvalova, deputy of the Moscow City Duma.

Let's explain. For example, in the Sverdlovsk region, SEC beneficiaries were included in the bill along with organizations from the Museum Activities group. The explanatory note to the bill clarifies that the amount of lost revenues of the regional budget from property tax can be about 1.2 billion rubles. There is no detailed breakdown, but museums clearly fall short of billions in tax deductions. In the northern capital, the tax preferences of the mall were also discussed along with educational institutions, cultural institutions and other socially significant structures.

Are benefits needed?

Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Sverdlovsk Region, member of the Committee for Infrastructure Development and Housing Policy Oleg Gordeyev could not clarify what arguments and figures were given by the beneficiaries in Yekaterinburg. The parliamentarian admitted that before the adoption of the law, the business community was not heard.

But in defense of the decision, he noted that representatives of trade will be able to maintain the number of employees. “In fact, by supporting them, we also support employees and their level of wages. We see that traffic in all the malls has now fallen. In this situation, it is necessary to support business as well”, - Oleg Gordeyev believes.

Deputy of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg Boris Vishnevsky also said that reducing the tax burden is a justified measure. And not just because of the threat of job cuts. “And also because it increases consumer demand, respectively, reduces the price and increases competition. Yes, I think it's useful, but don't limit yourself to just these. It is necessary to provide tax incentives for small and medium-sized businesses. And we adopted such laws”, - the deputy Vishnevsky said.

The Deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Sverdlovsk Region Alexander Ivachev supported the initiative of the regions with some reservations.

“Of course, it is strange to classify cultural institutions and shopping centers under the same umbrella, but in the current situation, shopping centers, and this can be seen with the naked eye, have big problems. Therefore, in principle, there are reasons to give them tax breaks. Another thing is that not only shopping and entertainment centers should receive them, but also many other market participants,” the Sverdlovsk deputy believes.

Yelena Shuvalova did not support her fellow legislators.

“I understand that now is a difficult time, one by one the stores in the mall are closing. And they close not only because brands leave and the business burns out, but also because traffic drops. Men are horrified, realizing what awaits them in the trenches, let's call it that. But nevertheless, I am outraged that even in peacetime, even during the NWO, they still care, as a rule, about large businesses, and not about medium and small ones. And business cannot be taken care of out of thin air. This concern is at the expense of ordinary people, at the expense of personal income tax. All this will fall on the shoulders of ordinary citizens, we must clearly understand this. And I can't support it. Oligarchs, in my opinion, always end up in chocolate”, - summed up the Moscow City Duma deputy Yelena Shuvalova.

A request was sent to the Russian Council of Shopping Centers, but they declined to comment. Novye Izvestia reported that in October, a standard letter was posted on the official website of the Russian Council of Shopping Centers, which representatives of the mall could send to the governors of the regions.

The authors of the appeal from the first lines should remind the heads of subjects about the "profound changes taking place within the retail and services market", and that shopping centers are experiencing significant problems.

“On behalf of the community of shopping centers in the region, we express our respect to you and suggest that you consider the possibility of implementing the following measures to support the retail real estate industry at the regional level”, - the sample appeal says. Market participants insisted not only on tax preferences, but also offered to reduce their utility costs.

It's worth reminding that there are more than 2,000 large shopping centers in Russia. The absolute leaders in terms of the number of shopping and entertainment centers are Moscow and the Moscow region, where more than 500 shopping facilities of this format are concentrated. Followed by St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.