Invisible reform, or why the government refuses to change SFS

Submitted by bashun on Thu, 01/18/2018 - 16:58

Ukrainian business, the US Treasury, the VR and the Cabinet. Who of them can really influence the reform of the SFS?

"It's a ridiculous reform," says Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman during a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on Thursday, commenting on the reform of the tax authorities. After that, the government canceled the decision of March 11, 2017 "On the concept of reforming the tax and customs policy agencies," the decision of 19 July 2017 "On the reorganization of territorial bodies of the SFS", that is, decided not to change the State Fiscal Service at all, the IMF demanded in March last year .

With the decision of the chairman, the whole Cabinet does not agree. In particular, the head of the Ministry of Finance, which manages the SFS Oleksandr Danyliuk "such a decision of the Cabinet is concerned." According to him, the decisions were canceled by experts of the Ministry of Finance on the basis of the recommendations of the IMF, the European Commission and the US Treasury. Documents were needed for the VR and the Cabinet to coordinate their work on changes in the SFS, and "international donors" were more willing to give money to more sophisticated fiscal bodies. Although, according to Hroisman, no government regulations and concepts are needed at all for reforming the SFS. And SFS under the leadership of Myroslav Prodan works "excellent".

The director of economic programs of the analytical center "Ukrainian Institute of the Future" (UIF) Anatolii Amelin says that the SFS has the glory of "one of the most corrupt and inefficient state institutions" Ukraine both among Ukrainian businesses and foreign investors. Therefore, "Western partners are very much expected to change the fiscal bodies." For the time being, they are restrainingly reacting to the government's decision not to reform the SFS system. For example, the press service of the Ministry of Finance on January 14 said that US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin "is ready to continue supporting his colleague Oleksandr Danilyuk in carrying out reforms."

Simplicity of taxes vs local interests

Anatolii Amelin says that the Finance Ministry wanted to qualitatively change the structure of the SFS. In particular, the regional departments of the SFS should have been deprived of the status of a legal entity, that is, a controller for paying taxes by local entrepreneurs. Businessmen had to come there, only to pass their tax reports, to the fiscal counterpart of the "Gotovo" centers. At the same time, all 100% of the tax reporting would like to be allowed to be filed electronically. The tax consultant Oleksandra Tomashevska says that now both small and large businesses can submit their cash records only in paper form. Individual entrepreneurs, including farmers, submit their tax returns to the Individual Income Book. Such a book can be filled only in paper form, although such a service is available online even through Privat24.

The next step in the reform of the SFS according to the concept of the Ministry of Finance, Amelin continues, is that since January 1, 2018, the regional customs and SFS offices had to be liquidated as separate structures and consolidated into a single Interregional Main Department. Therefore, all information about business and payment of taxes should be transferred immediately to the central office in Kiev. According to Amelin, such a reform should reduce the number of staff of the SFS and the cost of its work. For entrepreneurs it is needed to simplify communication with the fiscal authorities, filing tax reports and paying taxes. Also to protect the business from problems due to the fact that the fiscal somewhere "lost" information about the company and the payment of taxes.

The press service of the Finance Ministry adds that after such a reform the SFS should have lost any opportunity to "horrify" the business because of "underpaid" taxes. The work of all fiscal units should be translated into uniform performance standards. After that, tax specialists could not interpret the Tax Code in their own way, and so create another reason to "press" the business. At the same time, the fiscal officials should independently monitor how the business perceives the rate of change in the structures of the SFS.

The ministry says that for the next stage of the reform, customs officers had to switch to unified standards for determining the customs value of goods. Also, to begin to exchange information with the customs administrations of neighboring countries. Such innovation should deprive exporters of any problems with fiscal measures because of the possible "understatement" of the value of goods.

The above-described changes in the structure of the SFS were prevented by "regional groups of influence," says Oleksandr Danyliuk. According to him, such groups control in particular the distribution of posts in the regional customs and regional departments of the SFS. "By controlling the regional bodies of the SFS, local " princes " and their friends in Kyiv are cashing in on business, kickbacks, smuggling and in fact hamper the economic development of our country. In addition, it is these interest groups that are now trying to prevent change. This time there was not enough courage to break these ties and implement the changes, "- says the head of the Ministry of Finance.

Reforming or bureaucratization?

12 January acting the head of the SFS Myroslav Prodan said that the reform of the SFS will still be carried out. But by its own concept of fiscal. First, the SFS will create a Project Office for IT projects. Such an office is needed so that it is finally possible to file all tax reports online, in particular through mobile applications. Also to equip computers with all jobs of customs officers and taxes. In addition, for customs, they form their analogue to the tax police, or "customs guard". In order to overcome corruption in the structure of the SFS, an electronic system for the analysis of corruption risks will be launched. And for the staff of the institution will introduce performance criteria and a system of bonuses for quality work.
And that the business had a real interest to get out of the shadows and voluntarily pay taxes, the GFS will create a separate subdivision. His employees will follow the "compliance with the requirements of tax and customs legislation" tax authorities, commented the head of the GFS.
In addition to changes in the structure of fiscal bodies, the SFS will also change the system of tax collection. For example, all business fees and payments are paid on a single account. Theoretically, the tax on the withdrawn capital will not be introduced until 2019. But the fiscal year 2018 will learn how to properly collect it. Myroslav Prodan claims that the decision to reform the SFS exactly this way was made six months ago. And the strategy was supported by the IMF, the US Treasury and the EU Delegation in Ukraine. "Representatives of donors and international partners gave positive feedback on a clear system approach in reforming the service with specific deadlines," says the head of the SFS.

First, changing taxes, then changing the taxmen 

Oleksandr Danyliuk said that he would seek reform of the fiscal service precisely in accordance with the concept of the Ministry of Finance. That is, to change the structure of the SFS so as to simplify the payment of taxes for business. The Minister of Finance says he has already secured the support of the reform of the SFS from Prime Minister Hroisman. In principle, the same business does not care which model the fiscal services will change, says the director of economic programs UIF. According to him, "Ukrainian business increasingly relies on changes in Ukraine", and "the request for a change of power is growing".

According to the tax consultant Oleksandra Tomashevska, a full-fledged reform in the structures of the GFS is impossible without legislative changes. For example, all 100% of tax reporting can be submitted online, it is not enough to develop the necessary software, including mobile applications. Such applications still have to resolve the Tax Code, which can only be changed by the VR.

The chairman of the expert-analytical council of the Ukrainian analytical center Borys Kushniruk agrees with this opinion. He adds that real changes in the structure and work of the SFS will become possible after the government and the VR as a whole change the tax system in Ukraine. For example, at last they will refuse to charge the profit tax and replace it with a tax on capital withdrawn. And installment of payment of VAT for the import of resources and equipment for production in Ukraine will be made permanent. Recall that from January 1, 2018 to January 1, 2020, the VR allowed installments to pay import VAT when importing equipment, in particular for the food industry.

The expert reasons that if BP goes to such changes in the tax system, at least a third of the current state of the SFS will become unnecessary. Then the fiscals will simply have to fire the "extra" workers. After this SFS there will be exactly so many employees that on the ground only had time to take tax reports. And the control functions and work with the tax debt will have to be transferred to the level of the regional offices and the central office of the GFS in Kiev. Therefore, as Kushniruk notes, if the business wants changes in the work of fiscal bodies and simple payment of taxes, then it must demand changes in the tax policy in Ukraine from the parliament and the Cabinet.



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