Tax Law Oil and Gas Is Currently Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Tax Law

Oil and Gas is currently at the core of Russia's economy, even though there has been talk at the head of the Russian federation of intentions to attempt to move the economy from one which is based solely in these natural resources, to one which is based on rapidly evolving technology. Of course it will be at least a decade before movements and developments in this fashion are able to unfold with real significance. However, given the strong presence and foundation of the oil and gas sector in Russia's economy, it is natural that the bulk of the regulatory law is founded around these pillars.

Excise Tax

Excise taxes in Russia refer to taxes which need to be paid out on certain goods in Russia, such as raw and refined alcohol, alcoholic drinks which are stronger than 1.5% by volume, cars and motorcycles with engines that have horsepower greater than 150, along with tobacco products and various forms of fuels, oils and gas (Gola, 2013). "The Russia law regulates strict licensing rules for oil refineries and alcohol distillers. Rates are set progressively increasing until 2010 fiscal years. By 2010 share of excise taxes in retail price of a typical cigarette pack will reach 15-30% - still less than its European counterpart. Cigarettes are taxed based on a percentage of manufacturer's suggested retail price. The excise duties in Russia are also lower than in EU" (Gola, 2013). Thus, these taxes are necessary and are in place, and largely operated upon, but they're still considered more lenient when compared to the rest of the nation.

When it comes to tax on oil in particular, there is a tax on the extraction of mineral resources, something which has to be paid by all oil companies. Thus, the determination of a tax rate for oil is thus delegated to the government whereas rates placed on other mineral resources are set in Russian law as a set portion of their market value, ranging from 3.8% to 17.5% for substances like potassium salts to gas condensate (Gola, 2013). Other substances have a fixed ruble amount per volume, for things like natural gas which is built up and then paid monthly (Gola, 2013). Essentially, excise tax is payable on the sale (within the nation) of particular goods developed in Russia -- like the named alcohol and tobacco taxes, and of course the mentioned taxes on petrol, diesel and motor oil. It's important to acknowledge that there is a significant variability between the rates. Thus, for example, things like imported alcohol and tobacco are cleared via customs only if these goods have things like excise stamps on them; furthermore, while there are some exceptions, export sales are free from excise tax (ey.com, 2011).

The United Kingdom is a place which also has excise taxes on fuel as well, though their difference is that Britain has the highest rate of excise taxes of any nation in the world. "In Britain the excise tax on gasoline is about $2.80 per U.S. gallon (50 pence per liter), nearly three times the 2001 wholesale price, while in the United States federal and state taxes together amount to about $0.40/gal" (Parry & Small, 2012). There are three basic lines of defense that the British government uses to defend high gasoline taxes: reduction of pollutants, reduction of traffic, and governmental revenue (Parry & Small, 2012). The rationale for the importance of these decisions is transparent: by placing a penalty on the consumption of gasoline, the taxes reaped couldn't help but minimize the amounts of carbon dioxide and other local air pollutants that were caused (Parry & Small, 2012). Furthermore, by taking gasoline heavily it made many middle class citizens, who were the bulk of the population anyway; look for alternative methods of transport, and mass transit, thus minimizing both accidents and traffic. And obviously, the final reason was a strong justification for virtually any government, as revenue is essential for virtually any organized ruling body. For instance, "in the UK, motor fuel revenue is nearly one-fourth as large as the entire revenue from personal income taxes (Chennells et al. 2000). This third argument finds an intellectual basis in Ramsey's (1927) insight that taxes for raising revenue should be higher on goods with smaller price elasticities. Gasoline taxes have also been defended on other grounds, such as a user fee for the road network (its primary role in the U.S.) and as a means to reduce dependence on oil supplies from the Middle East" (Parry & Small, 2012). This demonstrates a common way in which excise taxes are often used: they're used to manipulate and influence the behaviors of people in society. Government leaders often use forms of taxation to help influence the behavior of citizens so that they'll engage in habits considered healthier and more ideal for society at large.

For instance, this has recently been done in Russia as a means of adapting and changing the ways that Russians consume alcohol and the frequency that they consume alcohol. "Alcohol consumption in Russia is down 13% this year, but growing drug use among young people and poor drinking habits have health officials concerned, Kommersant reported Friday. Recent figures from the Health Ministry show that 13.5 liters of alcohol are consumed annually per person, a reduction over previous years" (MoscowTimes, 2013). The reduction is undeniably a result of the fact that the government has long has a well-administrated anti-alcohol policy which revolves around a bolstered excise tax on alcohol. This tax cannot improve unhealthy habits in their entirety, but aggressive excise taxes can influence human behavior and change habits, along with public service messages and changes in how the media portrays alcohol consumption (MoscowTimes, 2013).

However, recently in Russia there has been a movement and a collective decision to not raise further excise taxes on the production of crude oil, due to a concern regarding a drop in output (Korsunskaya, 2013). This is largely as a result of the government of Russia, the largest producer of crude oil in the world, engaging in a balancing act between the necessity in replenishing its coffers and anxieties about turning away investment into projects that would bolster the production of oil and gas, as taxes placed on the energy industry already add up to half of what is placed on the nation (Korsunskaya, 2013). Thus the balancing act has been composed in a reduction on taxes in mineral extraction and fuel oil, with excise tax rises; though earlier this year, the ministry proclaimed that increased energy taxes, even if they took the form of excise fees was necessary for upgrades in infrastructure which are absolutely crucial for long-term development (Korsunskaya, 2013). One of the major problems that this increase is causing is among oil companies who said that the resulting tax burden would hurt their productivity in present and future, ultimately leading to a drop in state revenues: "Tweaks to the tax system in recent years have reduced the marginal tax rate on each barrel of crude exported to 82% from around 87%, although some experts say that is still too high to create an incentive to invest" (Korsunskaya, 2013). Ultimately, the intentions of the Finance Ministry to increase the excise tax on fuel did not receive approval and will eventually be a more gradual increase, as the government has explained (Korsunskaya, 2013). At its core, the excise tax for low level Euro II fuel hits at 10,100 roubles per ton, which roughly breaks down to $320 per ton, whereas the fees applied to higher grades of Euro V is at 5.143 roubles (Korunskaya, 2013).

However, despite these movements towards the future, when it comes to taxes on fuels, the UK remains the most highest taxed country in the European Union: "Sixty per cent of the price of unleaded petrol and 58 per cent of the cost of diesel is made up of duties and VAT in Britain, the highest percentages in the European Union…The figures show that the soaring tax take has made overall diesel pump prices in Britain the highest in the EU, while the price of unleaded petrol is the eighth highest. The mid-January price for diesel in the UK was 141.3p a litre. But without tax and duties, it would be only 59.8p. Unleaded petrol cost 132.9p, although without tax and duties it would be a much more manageable 52.8p" (Martin, 2012). These figures demonstrate quite clearly the intensive taxes on fuels that the UK is forced to confront; for example, tax percentages on France are only at 47%, and in Germany, they're at 48%, with the country in the EU with the lowest fuel tax rates is Luxembourg at 38% (Martin, 2012).

Below is a table, courtesy of Korsunskaya of Reuters, which shows the figures of fuel tax in Russia, as given the figures provided by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

2014 gasoline 2014 diesel

Euro II 11,110 Euro II 6,446

Euro III 10,725 Euro III 6,446

Euro IV 9,916…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Cfe-eutax.org. (2013). Excise duties in Russia. Retrieved from cfe-eutax.org: http://www.cfe-eutax.org/taxation/excise-duties/russia

Deloitte.com. (2012). Tax and Legal Guide. Retrieved from Deloitte.com: http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-Russia/Local%20Assets/Documents/Energy%20and%20Resources/dttl_Guide-to-the-Russian-Oil-Gas-Sector_03092012.pdf

EY.com. (2011). Doing Business in the Russian Federation. Retrieved from EY.com: http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Doing-business-in-the-Russian-Federation-2011/$FILE/Doing-business-in-the-Russian-Federation-2011.pdf

GFC. (2010). Reducing Carbon Emissions Through Transport Taxation. Retrieved from greenfiscalcommission.org.uk: http://www.greenfiscalcommission.org.uk/images/uploads/gfcBriefing6_PDF_ISBN_v7.pdf

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