Termination of customs restrictions on disposing of fixed production assets imported duty-free before 01 July 2010

15.07.2015

Legal update No 525

GBLP advises that 02 July 2015 saw termination of customs restrictions on disposing of fixed production assets imported duty-free before 01 July 2010 as a contribution to authorised capital. 

The right to duty-free importation, which was most often exercised by companies with foreign involvement for importing industrial equipment, was established by Russian Government Resolution No. 883 dated 23 July 1996. 

Such goods were subject to sale and disposal restrictions, which were supplemented on 18 August 2011 by additional ones on leasing them out and on foreign entities withdrawing from the founders (Clause 4 of the customs duty exemption Procedure approved by Resolution of the Customs Union Commission No. 728 dated 15 July 2011). 

Pursuant to the Customs Union Customs Code (hereinafter the "CUCC") (Sub-clause 2, Clause 2, Article 211), the obligation to pay import duties and taxes with respect to such goods terminates 5 years from the goods being released for domestic consumption. 

According to the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation (Letter No. 05-13/39454 dated 12 August 2010), supported in 2012 by the Supreme Commercial Court (Ruling No. ВАС-5423/12 dated 09 July 2012 on case No. А56-14344/2011), the five-year period for goods imported before the CUCC came into force (01 July 2010) has been running since 02 July 2010. 

Hence, for goods imported before 01 July 2010, the five-year period has expired and the obligation to pay customs duties has terminated by virtue of law. Pursuant to Clauses 4 and 5, Article 200 of the CUCC, the said goods are now exempt from any restrictions on their use and disposal and their status has changed from foreign goods to Customs Union goods.

Furthermore, the Russian Constitutional Court has come to a decision regarding the additional customs restrictions imposed by the Customs Union Commission from 18 August 2011 (Ruling of the Russian Constitutional Court No. 417-O dated 03 March 2015) with respect to goods imported as a contribution to authorised capital.

The Russian Constitutional Court has called on competent authorities and officials not to apply these customs restrictions to goods imported under the "old" rules (Russian Government Resolution No. 883 dated 23 July 1996), i.e., between 06 August 1996 and 18 August 2011, and, as stated in Russian Constitutional Court Resolution dated 23 April 2015, "to avoid reviewing the legal regime for their use (termination) established when such benefits were granted".

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