Russia acceded to CRS Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (CRS MCAA)

On May 12, 2016 the representatives of the Federal Tax Service on behalf of the Russian Federation signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement. This important event took place in Beijing at the Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the Tax Administration.

Common Reporting Standard (CRS) was endorsed in early 2014 within the framework of G20 and approved by the OECD Council in July 2014. The CRS Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (CRS MCAA) was signed by 51 jurisdictions in October 2014. Already 80 countries have joined the Agreement, among them are such known offshores as Belize, BVI, Bermuda and the Seychelles, the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, Isle of Man, as well as Gibraltar, Cyprus, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The exchange of information will be carried out in electronic form and will start for Russia since 2018 in relation to the data for 2017. 

The basis of information in the framework of exchange should be maid of taxpayers' incomes earned from funds on bank accounts, data on remaining balance on accounts, as well as on payments from these accounts. The Russian tax authorities will be able to obtain such information on Russian taxpayers from overseas banks, depositories, brokers, investment funds, as well as from some insurance companies. 

Currently, such exchange of information is carried out only at the specific request. The Federal Tax Service, according to its own data, exchanged information with the relevant authorities of 58 foreign countries in 2015. The volume of this exchange amounted to more than 10 million units.  

According to the data of the Information and analytical system Globas-i®, there are more than 15 700 active Russian legal entities with companies – co-owners in Cyprus, in British Virgin Islands -  more than 5 200 companies, in the Seychelles – more than 4 100 companies, as well as in Belize - more than 2 100, and in Switzerland – more than 1 500. For comparison it can be given the same data on Russian legal entities with co-owners in the countries - Europe's largest foreign business partners of Russia: in Germany - more than 3 500, in Finland – more than 1 000, in France – more than 950. The amount of companies with co-owners in China is more than 1 100. 

In view of the termination of the so-called capital amnesty in June 2016 the Federal Tax Service highly recommends Russian businessmen even now to use almost the last opportunity to declare voluntarily the foreign assets and accounts in foreign banks.

Development of National Payment Card System

Currently the third stage of establishment and development of the National Payment Card System (NSPK) is taking place in Russia. It is planned that in 2016-2017 more and more banks will join the payment card issue. As a result NPSK will gain traction and become nationwide.

The previous stage covered the issue of the Russian payment card «Mir». The NSPK was entitled to registration of this trade mark. By the end of 2015 the first banks were to issue the cards and start conducting transactions. At the moment 59 members participate in the payment system «Mir». 

The Central Bank of Russia allowed the banks time till the end of the first half of 2016 for preparation to issue the bank card «Mir» and for opening the cards acceptance network. Nowadays about 200 000 payment cards were produced for all the country and still nobody has ordered great volumes of them. The only bank that has made a big order is the Russian National Commercial Bank (RNCB) operating in the Crimea and being under sanctions. In April the bank was to be given 300 000 «Mir» cards.

The Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) has already fined the sellers which don’t accept the «Mir» card. The detailed information on these cases is presented in section «Supreme Arbitration Court data» in the Information and Analytical System Globas-i. The companies in Arkhangelsk, Karachai-Cherkess Republic, Kemerovo, Nizhny Tagil were subjected to fine. In the whole only 4 cases have been found, the examination procedure of which was commenced in 2015.

The National financial market council (NSFR) has made a request to Mega-regulator to extend the deadline to October 1st, 2016, when the banks are to be ready to provide the acceptance of «Mir» cards and to supply them to state employees. However, according to the Central Bank the allocated time was enough. 

Under current conditions, a number of banks finally found the way to comply with the requirements at a stated time till July 1st, 2016. In particular, they decided to attach two cards to accounts of Russians - «Mir» and one of the leading international payment systems card (Visa or MasterCard). The plans of attaching «Mir» to Visa and MasterCard were stated by VTB 24, MDM Bank, Promsvyazbank, Avangard, Soyuz, Levoberezhny, SDM-Bank, Asian-Pacific Bank, SKB-Bank, Genbank, Rosgosstrakh Bank, Chelyabinvestbank.

Among other events related to development of NSPK, in the 1st quarter of 2016 the following ones are stated:

  • four banks joined the rules of the National Payment System: Ak Bars, Surgutneftegazbank, partners of Uralsib bank (Garant-Invest and Pervomaisky);
  • MegaFon became the first mobile operator who started cooperation with the Russian payment system «Mir»;
  • The NSPK entrusted the protection of its «Mir» cards to international payment system Visa due to failure to get license to use 3D-Secure technology;
  • The Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB) plans to convert the NSPK and banks to the Russian cryptography;
  • The NSPK considers a possibility to introduce the «Mir» card to payment services of ApplePay и SamsungPay systems;
  • In 2016 the systems JCB, ChinaUnionPay and AmericanExpress are to switch to the NSPK.

As a part of the NSPK development the work on promotion of the Russian payment system abroad should start in 2016-2017. As a commencement of the work the co-badging programs will be implemented jointly with international systems. According to the co-badging programs the cards will be accepted in Russia as the cards of the Russian payment systems and when going abroad they will be accepted through for example MasterCard payment system network due to the second so-called international application provided in the chip.  

Reference information

The net profit of the NSPK for 2015 amounted to 1,2 billion RUB. The biggest income was brought by maintenance of Visa and MasterCard which gave it its traffic in the sum of 2,8 billion RUB. A year earlier the NSPK had a loss of 90 million RUB. In the following accounting periods the growth of the NSPK annual income from maintenance of payment systems is expected.