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Putin approves special tax zones for foreign companies

Special administrative zones will be set up on islands

MOSCOW, August 3. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a package of laws establishing special taxation zones for foreign companies on the Russky Island in the Far East and the Oktyabrsky Island in the Kaliningrad Region. Documents were posted on the official web-portal of legal information.

Special administrative zones will appear on islands. Explanatory notes to the paper say that the law provides for "a more flexible legal regime, in terms of tax and currency regulation in particular."

Foreign legal entities with their office or other facilities located on the islands and Russian companies can become international companies registered in special areas. The law does not apply to credit and non-credit financial institutions and operators of payment system. Other companies will acquire a special status along with the state registration if they assume formal commitments to make investments in the Russian territory, with the minimum tag of 50 mln rubles ($790,600) within six months from the registration date.

Management companies to be established by Russian constituencies will be vested with responsibilities to support functioning of special administrative areas.

Special taxation regime

A special taxation regime is stipulated for international companies - residents of special areas. A zero taxation rate will apply to dividend gains of companies on condition that when a decision to pay dividends is taken, a company holds for a year already and an at least 15% contribution into an authorized capital of a dividend payer or depositary receipts entitling to receive dividends. The rate of 5% applies to gains received by foreign entities from shares of international holding companies being public companies as of the dividend payment date.

Amendments to merchant shipping code

Amendments to the Russian merchant shipping code are introduced in terms of establishing a Russian open register of ships. The register is anticipated for registration of marine vessels (excluding fishing ones) owned by foreign individuals and legal entities. "Sport, sailing, pleasure and small craft used in commercial and noncommercial operations" can be included into this list. Marine vessels filed into the open register will be granted a right to wear Russian flag colors.