Warsaw, 8 April 2020
The companies that decided to continue their operation in Russia have nothing to do with “the social responsibility of the business” And what does their fair CIT settlement in Poland look like?
REPORT OF THE UNION OF ENTREPRENEURS AND EMPLOYERS
The disgusting and unjustified Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to widespread ostracism and consumer boycotts. The broad scope of the sanctions meant that some companies had limited choice as far staying in Russia goes. Companies in the banking, energy or high-tech sectors have had to submit to decisions ordering to halt the trade immediately. The only companies that had a say in all of this were the ones of the retail and manufacturing sectors. Most of them have made this decision on their own – and in the eyes of the ZPP the only right decision there is – to leave this country. But not all of them.
ZPP has made a decision to look into the companies that have chosen to stay in Russia. Continuing our series of publications on how some multinational corporations go about their tax settlement, we have turned our attention to entities that have decided to continue doing business in the Russian Federation. In the course of the analysis it turned out that a significant number of these entities pay marginal income tax in Poland – in many cases, in relation to their revenues and the scale of their activity, multiple times lower than in Russia.
– Companies like to boast about their social responsibility, but the real value of these declarations is verified in moments of trial, when basic decency has to be demonstrated – says Jakub Bińkowski, member of the board and director of the Law and Legislation Department at ZPP.
– Maintaining the decision to continue operating in Russia feeds the aggressor’s budget and generates funds for the war-related activities. This is difficult to understand, all the more so since doing business in the country now involves gigantic risks and the purchasing power of Russian consumers is consistently decreasing. We are not particularly surprised that those who have decided to continue operating in this country, despite everything that’s happening, pay almost symbolic CIT in Poland. However, this is an additional reason why urgent reform of the tax system is necessary. Especially since the same entities pay much higher sums to the Russian budget – adds Jakub Bińkowski.
However, the information presented in the report is also a reminder of the extent to which companies remaining on the Russian market contribute to the country’s budget, also by paying corporate income tax. They are thus becoming sponsors of Vladimir Putin’s regime and, indirectly, of the ongoing war-related activities.
Leaving aside the current context, this phenomenon once again shows how inefficient the Polish tax system is, particularly in the area of tax paid by capital companies. We have repeatedly argued that CIT is de facto voluntary, as it is paid only by those entities that do not engage in tax optimisation.
Companies cited in the report include Makro Cash&Carry, Auchan, Astrazeneca Pharma, Decathlon, Leroy Merlin, but also Rockwool, Bonduelle, Total Polska (Totalenergies Group), Glaxosmithkline Pharmaceuticals and Schneider Electric. It turns out that these companies have not only decided to stay in Russia, but also systematically pay CIT at a fraction of a percent of revenue.
– We went a step further in our analysis and checked what the tax practice of the same companies looks like on the territory of the Russian Federation – says Kamila Sotomska, deputy director of the Law and Legislation Department of the ZPP.
– Logically, the same entities that do not pay CIT in Poland would not pay it in Russia in order to maximise global profit. Well, apparently not. Let’s take Leroy Merlin – in 2020 alone it paid almost three times as much tax in Russia as it did for nine years in Poland. Auchan paid five times more to the Russian budget in 2020 than to the Polish tax in 2012-2021 – she stresses.
More details in our report: How much CIT do companies that stayed in Russia pay in Poland?