Tax service will get unlimited access to banking secrets of Russians

Tax service will get unlimited access to banking secrets of Russians
Tax service will get unlimited access to banking secrets of Russians
1 October 2020, 14:41EconomyPhoto: Михаил Терещенко / АГН "Москва"
The government of the Russian Federation submitted to the State Duma a bill expanding the capabilities of the Federal Tax Service. The document assumes that the Federal Tax Service will receive additional powers to request information on bank accounts of individuals.

According to RBC, a new wave of "strengthening tax control" will begin with the adoption of the Government's Guidelines for Fiscal and Tax Policy. According to the authors of the reform, the innovation will help "whitewash" the economy, but at the same time should not affect the interests of conscientious taxpayers.

The current article 86 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation already obliges Russian banks to transmit to the FTS data on the opening or closing of accounts and deposits of individual clients, individual entrepreneurs and companies. In addition, the tax office receives information about the opening or closing of electronic wallets. At the request of the tax authorities, banks are obliged to provide them with certificates of the availability of any client's accounts, deposits, as well as balances on them or operations for certain periods.

“The plans to expand the powers of the Federal Tax Service can be interpreted as a desire to give the tax authorities the opportunity to receive bank data of individual clients outside of tax audits”, quotes Nadezhda Orlova, a partner at FBK Legal.

The publication notes that a similar initiative was already discussed in Russia two years ago, but then it was not supported by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank. Representatives of these departments considered that the abandonment of banking secrecy carries significant risks, since it can undermine citizens' confidence in the banking system. However, now the government has revised its position on this issue and itself has proposed to legislate the possibility of data exchange between the Bank of Russia and the Federal Tax Service.

In this case, both departments will have absolutely legal access to both banking and tax secrets. Recently, in various regions of the country, scandals have arisen with enviable regularity related to the unauthorized disclosure of official information, which constitutes the tax and banking secrets of clients.

So, in April last year in Kostroma, two employees of the tax inspection were put on trial for bribes and trade in official secrets. The former head of the department of desk inspections was suspected of committing four cases of receiving a bribe. Another former employee of the tax inspectorate was accused of three facts of mediation in bribery.

As the prosecutor's office found out, one of the employees of the Federal Tax Service, having access to information constituting tax and official secrets, from January to April 2017 conveyed to her friend, the head of a commercial organization, information about the financial condition of a number of organizations, for which she received money from him. According to the investigation, the official provided the transfer of official insider information both orally and by copying it onto an electronic medium.

In March of this year, the court sentenced the ex-head of the tax inspection department to a fine of 1.7 million rubles and deprived of the right to hold positions in the state and municipal service for a period of five years. Her accomplice did not live to see the trial, and the case against her was dropped. At the same time, the bribe-giver managed to avoid punishment “in connection with active repentance”.

As the partner of the legal Paragon Advice Group, Alexander Zakharov, told reporters, the Federal Tax Service has been trying to get unlimited access to bank secrets since the early 2000s. "Acting Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin at that time already worked in the Ministry of Taxes and Duties, he knows this topic very well", - he explained.

As soon as the FTS receives more data on citizens from banks, tax authorities will be able to analyze data on cash flows, identify specific groups of taxpayers and conduct spot checks. The FTS already applies a similar approach to legal entities.

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