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TV Interviews on the NTV Channel

16 December 2011

Today we have learned that the TaxFree System will start in Russia since the new year. Our compatriots who make purchases abroad like the system very much. Now foreigners coming to Moscow will also enjoy such an opportunity. They will be able to refund the VAT before leaving the RF after buying down scarves, Russian dolls (matrioshkas) and jewellery.

Besides Moscow, next year Petersburg and Sochi, and then other cities will join the project. The authors of the idea think that it will help to sell our domestic goods more efficiently. To tell the truth, as the NTV correspondent Ivan Trushkin found out neither shops nor airports are ready to realise this initiative.

Indonesian Ahmet arrived in Moscow for his holidays and bought a colourful hat. Has paid much for it and expected to refund a part of the money, but failed. It is not Europe.

However at beginning of the new year the system should start in Russia and it will work as in the European countries. For example, a foreigner bought a Russian doll (matrioshka) in the Moscow shop for 20 thousand rubles, 18 % of its price is VAT, the value-added tax. In order to refund the VAT, the tourist should fill in special documents at a counter, stamp them in the same place at the airport and drop them in a special box just before the flight. The money will soon come on the tourist’s account.

Valentine Enina, the representative of the VAT refund project developing company says, “We think that the compensation of our company will make about 2 %. The other sum from the tax which should be withheld will be returned to the foreign buyer.”

But only those who buy lots of things can expect such a refund. In Europe where the TaxFree System is widely known you have to make purchases for the certain sum just in one shop. So in Italy it makes EU150, in France – EU 175. There are also smaller rates, so in Austria it makes EU 75, in Netherlands - EU 50, and in Germany it makes EU 25. Comparing to them our minimum of 10 thousand rubles, that is EU 250, is rather high.

The procedure of the VAT refund will be long. The documents arrangement will take three months. It is twice and even thrice longer than in Rome or Madrid. The thing is that we have no special laws for rates in Russia. Everything is done within the framework of the tax code. Juristically it is rather difficult, but as they say the game is not worth the candle, tourists will leave more money in Russia.

Olga Maksimova, the representative of the VAT refund project developing company says, “According to the researches of our foreign colleagues, entering the TaxFree System the receipts of the sops grow up to 30 %. That means that customers from shops which do not use this system come to TaxFree System shops. Besides when seeing a discount, customers made up their mind to buy more.

However no one has hear about the introduction of the TaxFree System in large shopping centers of Moscow. Also they say that they will not be able to get ready for it by the beginning of the year even if they try much. Besides that the airports where tourists will stamp the cheques are not ready yet either.

Yaroslav Kabakov, financial analyst says, “I think, that from January, 1 nothing will start. However, some TaxFree shops will appear. In the near future some luxury shops are likely to appear and render the given service.”

One way or another TaxFree System will start working in Russia. But the details are not clear. How many shops will there be and when will they receive all necessary documents? Therefore if your foreign friends come to you for the New Year's holidays, do not encourage them. They will hardly be able to refund a part of money spent on Russian dolls and down scarves.

Reference: http: // www.ntv.ru/novosti/251300/video/

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