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26 Nov 2018

Plans to ease taxation, reduce tax burden on business in Belarus in 2019

Plans to ease taxation, reduce tax burden on business in Belarus in 2019

MINSK, 26 November (BelTA) – The new version of the Belarusian Tax Code is to come into force on 1 January 2019, Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich told reporters following a meeting with the Belarusian president on 16 November, BelTA has learned.

According to the minister, the proposed revised version of the Tax Code generated the most heated debate during the meeting. Maksim Yermolovich told the president that the document will bring about many positive changes; therefore, it is important to enforce it on 1 January 2019. The head of state approved the draft code in essence. At the same time, he instructed the government, the both houses of the parliament and the president administration to scrutinize the document once again, so that the document will be well-crafted and carefully worded before it is forwarded to the parliament.

“Within two weeks, the code will be finalized and submitted for scrutiny to MPs. We hope that it will come into force on 1 January,” Maksim Yermolovich told reporters.

He informed that a special working group was involved in fine-tuning the Tax Code. This group incorporated government members, business people, representatives of audit firms and major companies. Over 70 issues were considered and decisions were taken on all of them.

The Tax Code will be streamlined in three ways. First of all, the tax administration will be made easier by aligning bookkeeping and taxation. “This will make accounting considerably simpler and will help avoid errors in tax payments,” the finance minister noted. Plans are in place to expand the scope of application of the simplified system of taxation. Substantial adjustments will apply to cost-accounting of enterprises. “Accounting costs, real costs of an enterprise and expenses taken into account in taxation are converging. This difference is substantially reducing,” the minister said.

Secondly, tax administration is getting more polished. The tax authorities are changing their style and methods of work. Restrictions are imposed on the application of fines and penalties for violations of tax legislation. “The amount of all penalties and fines cannot exceed the amount the taxpayer underpaid under his tax obligations,” Maksim Yermolovich noted.

Thirdly, Belarus will reduce the tax burden on businesses, which will make the country more investment attractive. “We addressed this task proceeding from the requirement of the head of state to make sure these tax system improvements should not affect budget revenues. We have reduced the tax burden on unfinished construction projects and recommissioned facilities. In addition, tax deduction for investment has been increased 1.5 times which will, consequently, reduce the overall tax burden on fledgling businesses,” the minister noted.

All these changes in the tax laws, according to Maksim Yermolovich, will give an additional impetus to the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

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