08.04.2016 — Information on Notarial Acts Will Be Available Online

Government of the Russian Federation has approved the bill on implementation of a 24 hour free-of-charge online access to information on all notarized powers of attorney. It will now be possible to validate a power of attorney in case of doubt without personally addressing the certifying notary. The bill is planned to enter into force on July 1, 2017.

Basic details of notarized powers of attorney will be available publicly, in particular the information on the notary who certified it, the date of certification, the registration number, and date and time of enlistment on the register of cancelled powers of attorney. The power of attorney’s contents themselves, including information on the attorneys and the scope of their powers, will only be accessible by government authorities and their subordinate institutions.

It is proposed to broaden this list of authorized persons so as to allow access to the contents of powers of attorney to all individuals and companies who have the notarized document in question at their disposal.

07.04.2016 — Federal Tax Service Budges Before Taxpayers

Court disputes between Federal Tax Service of the Russian Federation and the taxpayers have been increasingly settled amicably. Concluding amicable settlement not only allows taxpayers to reduce the additionally accrued tax, but also significantly reduces the judicial expenses and makes it possible to avoid reputation risks.

At the end of march, a major dispute between Federal Tax Service and the Russian subsidiary of Inchcape on thin capitalization with over 10 million rubles in additionally accrued tax in question was solved amicably (case no. A-40-25939/15). Concluding the amicable settlement made it possible for the company to reduce the amount of Federal Tax Service’s initial demands.

Earlier, Federal Tax Service only compromised with taxpayers during the pre-judicial stage of the proceedings in order to reduce the risks of taxpayers’ winning in court and to avoid establishing negative court practice not in the Federal Tax Service’s favor. Currently, the general trend in this respect is gradually changing, and the tax service is prepared to make concessions with taxpayers, including at the stage of court proceedings.

06.04.2016 — Russian Audit Chamber Reports Inefficacy of Special Economic Zones

The Audit Chamber has made public the inspection results regarding effectiveness of using the federal budgetary funds allocated for the development of special economic zones (SEZ). The results turned out unsatisfactory. The federal spending on the matter is close to 200 billion rubles. At the same time, SEZ as of January 1, 2015 only amounted to 0.2 % of the gross regional product in respective regions, and created only about 18 000 workplaces in the last 10 years.

The Audit Chamber considers that SEZ failure to become the national economy’s new driver of development after 10 years of existence is connected to a significant non-performance of regional budgets’ obligations (the sum of such failed obligations reaches up to 45 billion rubles), to the insufficient pace of SEZ infrastructural development (at this time infrastructure in all SEZ is being built with time limit breaches), as well as to inefficient spending of monies by SEZ managing companies.

In the Audit Chamber’s opinion, some of the facts revealed during the investigation will need to be inspected by expert authorities. For instance, the spending for consultative and marketing researches in one of the SEZ amounted to 113 million rubles. The documents on this fact are supposed to be transferred to the Prosecutor General.

05.04.2016 — Federal Migration Service’s and Federal Drug Control Service’s Powers Transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs

By virtue of the presidential decree dated  April 5, 2016, FMS and FDCS will be abrogated and their powers will be transferred to the MIA, while FMS’s staff will be reduced by 30%. The amendments came into force on April 5, 2016 and the reforming must be completed by July 1, 2016.

It is established that the FDCS’s existing territorial bodies will be retained in the MIA’s system. The FDCS’s staff, if they express a desire to join the police, will be accepted as a transfer without probation and re-certification (a lump-sum benefit upon termination of service will not be paid).

04.04.2016 — Regulating the Centralized Development of Villa Communities

On March 28, 2016 a bill was introduced to the State Duma, which contains a list of amendments to the Housing and City Development Codes of the Russian Federation. According to the amendments, building houses will be possible without conducting an expertise of project documentation. Apart from that, it will be possible to receive one construction permit and one commissioning permit for all objects at once, as well as acquire separate permits with regard to each of the objects under development.

From the point of view of managing housing communities, the legislator proposes a model analogous to one existing in apartment buildings. At the same time, the developer will be obliged to ensure the conditions necessary for managing the community (choose a management company, transfer the communal facilities). Implementation of such regulations is essentially the legislator’s first attempt to arrange the relationship between owners of houses in isolated settlements. However, the question of remedies available to owners of existing villa communities remains unresolved.