How to Register as an Individual Entrepreneur in Russia
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The largest country in the world spans more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, stretches through eleven time zones and holds some of the most beautiful and unspoiled natural areas.
One cannot but be in awe, overcome by the vastness and potential of such a great power, its economy and global presence ever increasing. Therefore, if you are looking to start a business as an individual entrepreneur in Russia, this article is for you.
Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.
Who is an individual entrepreneur in Russia?
The individual entrepreneur (individualny predprinimatel) is the simplest way of starting a business in Russia. There are no minimum requirements for a share capital or management structure to function so they resemble independent contractors.
The individual entrepreneur is not considered a legal entity according to the Russian authorities, but must be registered for taxation purposes. Furthermore, they retain all profits except tax, and are personally liable for their own debts and obligations. In conducting business, they make their own decisions, at their own risk and for their own benefit.
How to establish an individual entrepreneurship in Russia?
There are no conditions as to who can be an individual entrepreneur in Russia, as long as they can obtain or prove their residence in the country. Bear in mind, that in case of expiration of the document confirming the right of a foreign citizen or stateless person to reside in the Russian Federation, their state registration as an individual entrepreneur will automatically cease to be in force, from the date of expiry of the document.
The registration process is fairly straightforward. It consists of preparing a set of required documents and submitting them to the authorities. These documents are as follows:
- A copy of the document certifying your identity as a foreign citizen or stateless person. For most expats, that is the passport;
- A copy of the document confirming your right of temporary or permanent residence in the Russian Federation.;
- The original and a copy of the document confirming the address of your residence in the Russian Federation;
- Documentation certifying the payment of state taxes in the amount of 800 RUR or 10.44 USD;
- Criminal Record document;
- The package of documents for state registration, with application for a simplified tax system (form 26.2-1);
- The application form for state registration (form R21001).
These documents must all be certified by a notary, unless you submit them personally, in which case you would need a passable knowledge of the language. All documents are completed in (and issued) in Russian only.
They will be returned to you when the registration authority issues notice of the documents receipt.
Within five working days since the receipt of the documents the registering authority should examine the documents submitted and make their decision. If everything is in order they will make appropriate records in the State Register and on the date they appoint you will receive:
- Your State Registration Certificate, defining you as an individual entrepreneur;
- The Tax Certificate;
- Extract from the Common State Register of Individual Entrepreneurs.
After receiving these documents, your activities as an individual entrepreneur can start. Being registered as an individual entrepreneur you have the right to make your business stamp, which is quite common in Russia.
Taxes for individual entrepreneurs
Registration of an individual entrepreneur is a one-stop procedure following which the registering authority not only makes a business registration, but also registers a person for taxation purposes, sending the data electronically to extra-budgetary funds and the statistical agency. The tax situation in Russia is quite complex. The ordinary income tax is 15%, yet there is also a simplified one of 6%, especially aimed at foreign investors. However, to see which tax rate is applicable to you specifically, check the Federal Tax Service.
According to the Russian Federal Tax Office, these are the VAT rates, as of 2020:
- The new standard rate which is now set at 20% (from the previous 18%);
- The reduced 16.67% rate for various foodstuff, medical and pharmaceutical products and for foreign e-service providers;
- The 0% rate is also in place for certain goods and services sold in Russia, such as rail transport and exports.
With a certificate of registration and a stamp, you are entitled to open an account in any bank of your choice. Within seven days (from the date of opening a bank account), you must notify your tax authority of the bank account details. The account should be encoded as an IE account.