Russian Citizens Apparently So Rich They’ll Pay Internet Taxes for Google
Russian citizens will pay Google’s taxes — since the government doesn’t care where the money comes from. Notably, it’ll come directly from the population of the country, not from Google head office in the U.S. How can you perform such a “patriotic” tax trick? Let’s find out.
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Tax Tricks Make Google, Russian Government Richer, Russian Citizens Poorer
In Q1 2019, Internet censorship in Russia experienced a new “upgrade”. Since 2014, people have experienced troubles gaining access to relevant technology and politics related information on the web. But now they will experience an added financial burden by funding Google campaigns and such, because the government of Russia, as well as Google itself, are entities that urgently need more money.
While reading the report by RosKomSvoboda, Bitsonline found that the Russian state budget has acquired more than 12 billion rubles (~$185,000 USD) from Google via value-added tax in first three months of 2019. This is equal to the sum of VAT taxes gained during the 2018 fiscal year from all Internet commerce giants.
According to Mikhail Mishustin, head of Russia’s Federal Tax Service:
“Since January 2019, foreign virtual service providers are paying the VAT to the Russian budget irrespective of who is the buyer – a private person or a legal entity. The sum of tax that was acquired by the government is 12 billion. Just to compare, the same sum – 12.2 billion – was gained from foreign Internet-companies during the 2018 fiscal year.”
The tax service head noted that 70 percent of the tax income came from giants like Google, Apple, Facebook, Booking.com, and others. Per Mishustin:
“We have a total of 1580 foreign companies who already have an official registration and will pay tax according to the Russian laws.”
Yeah, But The Law Says You Can Send the Horse Poop Back to the Sender
The law created on 1st January 2017, says that “Foreign Internet companies who offer virtual or physical services to the citizens of Russia must pay fees to the Russian government”. Sure, why create your own Google, Facebook, Booking.com or even Tesla Motors alike companies, and tax them, when you simply can place obligations on the American originals instead?
But, when dealing with corporations like Google, you must understand that they already need to pay taxes in their homelands. Which is not Russia, obviously. Also, if you’re a small entrepreneur, you may know how it is hard to pay all the taxes and resist temptation to pass those tax costs on to your customers.
So Google, as well the others on the list, have changed their User Agreements and included “Internet service” taxes in the price of the services.
Do you remember one of the most controversial crypto-related projects from the good old days of Bitcoin, Shitexpress.com?
The “service” offered to send horse poop to your enemies or neighbors in a box with a greeting card. You paid in Bitcoin for the horse poop and the delivery. Well, looks like in case of Russia, you can send the poop back and be happy again!
Patriots Won’t Believe They Pay for Google, So It’s OK
As a survival habit, Russian officials keep telling rich folk from Moscow, as well as less-sophisticated people from the extremely poor regions of the country, that they fight western capitalism for the better future of Russia. They like to pick old-school rhetoric based on anti-intellectualism and patriotism to claim that they charge America — the “biggest enemy of Russian independence” — to help the homeland with its budget.
In fact, they charge those same poor people who work hard to pay for the very expensive Google ad campaigns, not the “evil US capitalists”. These top officials are making Russia’s “elite” and Western multinational corporations richer from year to year, leaving small business people in… deep horse poop. At the same time, they force locals to use TOR, VNN and VPN to access the most relevant content on the web — including those suggested by Google in its search results.
Is it good that Google becomes a tax scheme simplifier for governments worldwide? Share your opinions in the comments below.
Images by Jeff Fawkes, Shitexpress