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Consensus reached on lower threshold for tax-free online purchases

January 27, 2014, 19:03 UTC+3 DAVOS

The government is currently developing measures for more rigorous control on Internet transactions

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DAVOS, January 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Reducing the level of tax-exempt Internet purchases to 150 euros is a consensus proposal, Russia’s Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told Itar-Tass on Monday.

“I consider that 150 euros is an agreed figure,” he said. “There have been other, more radical, proposals from the Finance Ministry. But we agreed on 150 euros. This is a consensus proposal.”

The government is currently developing measures for more rigorous control on Internet transactions. Today, Russian customers can receive an order from a foreign country worth up to 1,000 euro tax-free. The Federal Customs Service proposed initially to lower the level of tax-exempt Internet purchases to 200 euros.

At the end of 2013, Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov suggested reducing the level from 1,000 euros to 150 euros.

The Ministry of Economic Development also supported limits but considered 150 euros too low. Deputy head Alexei Likhachev said duty-free purchases for Russian citizens should be limited to “several hundred euros”.

It also opposed lowering the current 30% customs duty on imported good exceeding the limit and suggested harmonizing these restrictions in all countries of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to avoid illegal trade flows.

In January, the Head of the Federal Customs Service Andrei Belyaninov told journalists that online shopping limits remained under discussion. Besides lowering the duty-free purchase level to150 euros, it was proposed to limit the weight of imported goods to 10 kilograms and the possibility of effecting such transactions no more than once a month.

At the end of last week, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told Itar-Tass Russia’s government would consolidate its position on tougher control of online shopping in foreign stores, bringing in tighter tax rules.

“We have been ordered to discuss the issue within the government until February 11,” he said. “Then we will make some sort of a roundup.”

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