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The former structure of Danone in Russia is trying to challenge the additional assessment of 836 million rubles in taxes

Бывшая структура Danone в России пытается оспорить доначисление 836 млн рублей налогов

The Moscow Arbitration Court accepted the claim of H&N JSC (formerly Danone Russia) to invalidate the company's additional tax assessment in the amount of 836 million rubles, Vedomosti writes.

As follows from the file of arbitration cases, the defendant in the case is the Interregional Inspectorate of the Federal Tax Service of Russia for the largest taxpayers No. 1. The case materials say that the plaintiff is trying to challenge the tax decision of January 15, 2024 “in terms of additional assessment of tax on income received by a foreign organization in in the form of dividends from sources in the Russian Federation, for 2021 in the amount of 741.8 million rubles, tax on income received by a foreign organization as remuneration for services and reclassified as dividends from sources in the Russian Federation, for 2020-2021. in the amount of 41 million rubles. for 2020 and 52.9 million rubles. for 2021”, as well as penalties and fines.

In 2023, the revenue of H&N JSC decreased by 2% by 2022 to 91 billion rubles, according to SPARK-Interfax. The company's net profit amounted to 4.4 billion rubles. against 5.5 billion rubles. in 2022

As experts note, the upcoming legal dispute most likely concerns taxation issues when a Russian company pays dividends in favor of a foreign shareholder. Russian companies must withhold 15% income tax when paying dividends to foreign shareholders. But if there is a valid double taxation agreement (DTT) between Russia and the foreign jurisdiction of the shareholder company, then the Russian income tax rate can be reduced, for example, to 5 or 10%. To apply a reduced taxation tax rate, certain conditions must be met: for example, a foreign company must be the actual recipient of income, have a certain share of participation in a subsidiary, etc.

Also, the tax authority could recognize as dividends those amounts that a Russian company paid to a foreign parent structure (or, possibly, some foreign affiliated structures) for services rendered.

French Danone entered the Russian market in the 1990s. In October 2022, it transferred the local business to management and excluded these assets from the general reporting of the concern. At that time, Danone had 13 enterprises in Russia. On July 16, 2023, the shares of the Russian subsidiary of Danone were transferred by decree of the Russian President to the management of the Federal Property Management Agency. Then the agency received 83,000 and 85,000 ordinary shares of Danone Russia, owned by Produits Laitiers Frais Est Europe and Danone Trade.

In March 2024, the decision to transfer assets to the Federal Property Management Agency was canceled. In May, Danone announced that it had closed a deal to sell the Russian business of Vamin R LLC, owned by Vamin Tatarstan (99%) and Ruslan Alisultanov (1%).

The owner of Danone assets in Russia received the rights to the Rastishka and Danissimo brands

Danone closed the deal to sell Russian assets

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