Taking part in the videoconference were head of the Federal Taxation Service Mikhail Mishustin and Director of OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration Pascal Saint-Amans.
The OECD forum is attended by over 50 delegations representing the tax authorities of the OECD and G20 member states and other countries, as well as representatives of seven international organisations working in the tax and customs administration.
The forum's agenda includes such issues as improving the tax administration of the largest multinational corporations, co-ordination of international efforts to combat the erosion of the tax base and offshore tax evasion, as well as innovative development of tax administrations.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends, colleagues,
I am very pleased that you have chosen Moscow as a venue for your forum. Unfortunately, my schedule of meetings with international colleagues has taken me away from the Russian capital, but we take very seriously the work of the tax authorities and Mr Mishustin’s colleagues around the world.
Regrettably, your efforts are not praised in poems or songs, because not many people enjoy giving their money to the tax office, and it has been like that at all times. But this does not diminish the value of your services; on the contrary, in today's world, no modern state can exist without an efficient tax administration. Your governments’ economic policy largely depends on the way you organise your work. In the long run, the extent of the tax burden largely determines the investment climate and the final economic result.
Russia – as well as many other countries – has always had problems in this area and many of them still remain, but all the same, we are moving forward and improving our tax administration, including through the support of our colleagues from abroad. As you probably know, according to the World Bank, Russia has made good progress in tax administration and rose from 105th to 64th place in the world and has even surpassed many of our colleagues from OECD. Of the 34 OECD member states, we have overtaken 14 countries in terms of the tax administration quality.
Naturally, a great deal is still to be done. We are taking the necessary steps to remove the opportunities for tax evasion through offshore zones and for the legalisation of the proceeds from crime. I hasten to note that in all of these activities the Russian Government relies on the advice of our colleagues from the OECD, for which we are very grateful.
Other areas of our tax system are also developing, becoming more modern and more convenient for taxpayers. Many people are submitting their tax declarations in electronic form. Approximately 76% of companies already pay taxes electronically. A significant number of individuals, citizens of the Russian Federation, are doing the same using the opportunities presented by the Internet. Their number amounts to about two million people.
This autumn we will host the G20 summit in St Petersburg and we wish good luck and effective collaboration to all of you who met in Moscow today. It is very important for us to hear your recommendations and your suggestions for the St Petersburg G20 summit.
I note that we attach great importance to the cooperation of tax authorities. In this regard, let me remind you that we recently made the decision to share tax information at the request of other countries’ tax authorities. Colleagues, I hope that this position of the Russian leadership will meet with a positive response from our colleagues abroad and that our tax authorities can rely on your support should it become necessary.
In conclusion, I would like to ask Mr Pascal Saint-Amans to pass on to us any recommendations that the OECD or the participants of this forum in Moscow may have for the Russian Government on the eve of the upcoming G20 Summit in St Petersburg in September.
I want to wish all the meeting participants the best of luck, and I hope you will enjoy the professional and business-like discussion of all the core issues. I also hope you will have time for sightseeing in the Russian capital. I assure you that there is a lot to see in Moscow, and I hope you will have some free time to enjoy your stay here.
Thank you very much.