Valentina Koryazina’s tax empire to collapse soon? 

Valentina Koryazina’s tax empire to collapse soon?
Head of the Federal Tax Service of St. Petersburg Valentina Koryazinoa has little chances to save her post Photo: The CrimeRussia

There have long been talks about the resignation of the Head of the Tax Service of St. Petersburg. Allegedly, in Moscow, a global rearrangement is being already prepared, since it is believed that Valentina Koryazina’s methods in the existing realities cause reputational damage to the agency. And this year, these methods have not yielded the promised income as well.

Dissatisfaction of the Federal Tax Service central office with the work of the Head of the St. Petersburg office, Valentina Koryazina, has been growing since 2012, after the failure of the introduction of the so-called zone of risk for companies. From that moment, her VAT-empire began. Valentina Koryazina and her deputy Alexander Semchukov invented a new way to control the VAT refund. The gist of it was that the Federal Customs Service has created a kind of information program, which included organizations that somehow did not satisfy the requirements of the tax authorities. These organizations (included in the risk zone) are regularly subjected to various checks by the local tax agencies. The actions of tax officers were supervised by the so-called Task Force. The goal was simple: to prevent the VAT refunds to entities included in the risk zone at any cost. It seems as a right initiative with the aim to fill the treasury. But the devil, as we know, is in the detail. The thing was that Koryazina could alone both include the organization to this risk zone, and exclude it from it, allowing to compensate the VAT.

Businesses that for their misfortune were placed on this black list had a very hard time. They were subjected to enhanced scrutiny, not only by the tax authorities. In order to pressure them, both the police, and even the Prosecutor's Office in St. Petersburg were involved. The security agencies were quick to appreciate Koryazina’s new managerial capabilities. As the CrimeRussia has already reported, the secret order of the tax authorities to not to give the enterprises and firms a penny from the budget forced the businesses en masse to defend their rights in commercial courts. The necessary organizations, on the other hand, quite successfully solved their problems with VAT.

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Valentina Koryazina graduated from the Leningrad Finance and Economics Institute named after N.A. Voznesensky. Since 1990, she has been working for the tax authorities of St. Petersburg. In April 2006, she was appointed the Deputy Head of the Federal Customs Service of Russia in St. Petersburg. In July 2008, she entered the office as the Chief of the Interregional Inspectorate of the Russian Federal Customs Service for Major Taxpayers No. 10. From September 2009, she was the Head of the Federal Customs Service in St. Petersburg. Koryazina is an honored economist of the Russian Federation.

This state of affairs after a while started causing trouble to local inspections. It is no secret that the illegal VAT refund schemes on decisions of the commercial courts did exist. Koryazina requested to study carefully all these suspicious rulings and to make a special selection. According to some reports, a whole team of specialists on her order started collecting information, compromising dishonest judges and analyzing the arbitration practice. This analysis was carried out by the tax audit department and the legal department of the Federal Customs Service in St. Petersburg. For two years, from 2010 to 2012, a pile of different documents was collected. Meanwhile, the Inspections were also busy identifying judgments, according to which the courts unequivocally overturned the district tax offices’ decisions and, consequently, VAT was supposed to be refunded on the companies’ accounts.

Корязина

Head of St. Petersburg Federal Tax Service Valentina Koryazina holds personal appointment

As a result of this artful game, Valentina got interesting information about the commercial judges as well. On how this information was conveyed to the commercial courts, history is silent. But after a while the district inspections got new orders: "There is no need to litigate, pay legal costs and pay interest on cases to be clearly lost." Now only Koryazina herself decided who was worthy to receive the benefits required under the law and who was not. And if the company tried to resist, it immediately fell into the danger zone and the "carousel", which often ended with criminal charges, began.

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The fact that companies stopped litigating against the Federal Customs Service in St. Petersburg is also proven by figures. According to the same Federal Customs Service, in 2014, taxpayers of St. Petersburg were less likely to appeal the actions of a tax authority: during the 1st quarter, the special appeal commission on pre-trial dispute resolution received 213 complaints, but only 46 of them (21.5%) the fiscal agency considered justified (in the past year 28% of claims were satisfied).

The exporting companies began to per respects to her. Thus, the "Queen of VAT" redirected financial flows out of the pockets of dishonest judges in her own pocket. The necessary organizations received everything on time. Terrorizing the largest taxpayers with audits, the tax authorities did not hesitate to pry into trade secrets.

In order to weasel out of such strange decisions, the regional inspectorates, despite the fact that the organizations complied with the provisions of Articles 169, 172 and 171 of the Tax Code, Valentina Koryazina started imposing functional audits of heads and deputies of the inspections, for allegedly "not fully conducted complex of tax control measures." Knowledgeable people have described this period as "hopeless." Local officials were simply forced to rely on already existing vicious practice. In May 2013, Valentina Koryazina completely banned VAT refund to the organizations accounts. Any organization and any funds. Thus, developers, factories, exporters lost their legitimate benefits. As a result, on the effectiveness, the Federal Customs Service in St. Petersburg took 34th place in the interagency ranking, having raised from the ground.

The victims of this practice became, of course, the valuable employees. A team of professionals formed by the three previous leaders, to date, almost en masse. There is even a kind of a letter addressed to the Minister Siluanov No. MMB-18-5-567 of 05.29.2013, which states that in 2013 the Federal Customs Service in St. Petersburg 1422 resigned man.

Силуанов

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov at the expanded board meeting of the Federal Tax Service

Periodic change of the staff take place nowadays as well. "Unworthy" heads of departments and inter inspections simply do not get their contracts renewed, get unscheduled relocations from a district to district. The result of such a policy was not slow in coming: in 2014, Valentina Koryazina has become one of the most influential women in St. Petersburg, and all of the power structures of the city were forced to reckon with it. This is evidenced by the successfully jammed story regarding her son and drugs.

Today we can say that her next service contract Valentina is likely not to get. Scandals with individuals, once part of her inner circle, were too public. In addition, investigations of illegal VAT refunds are on now. Meanwhile, the city's budget begins to experience a cash shortage.

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Proceeds to the budget of St. Petersburg from the largest taxpayers in 2015 fell by 15% - up to 36 billion rubles, whereas in January – the decrease was 500 million (33%).

There is very little time until the end of 2016, and it will be surprising to see a positive trend. After all, both traders, and individuals will soon have absolutely nothing to pay during crisis and current fiscal realities. Valentina Koryazina also understands that. It is no coincidence that last year she proposed to seriously tackle rented apartments. As a honey cake for the owners, a simplified system of tax payment is proposed. In fact, all private entrepreneurs in the eyes of Valentina Koryazina are offenders, who should be used to fill up the substantially melting budget. Now, the fiscal agency urgently requires an appropriate "understanding" from the law enforcement agencies. In Valentina Koryazina’s opinion (repeatedly voiced in the media), control over pensioners and old people who rent out their homes, could "prevent illegal migration and the terrorist threat."

At that, apparently, an open confrontation between the tax authorities and the exporting companies is not a threat to the city. Criminal cases of fraud against the companies with preferential taxation, are reduced to ruin the companies suffering under the burden of court costs. The essence of these bankruptcies is a good example for other taxpayers who, horrified, must abandon their tax claims. However, this whole non-return of VAT, and the actions of the tax authorities in respect of the companies is, after all, a one big bubble, which from day to day will burst. At that, Valentina Koryazina’s chance to hold her ground is very little. It seems that her labor contract has already expired, and no one is in a hurry to renew it: they are looking for someone to replace her.

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