The Moscow Arbitration Court satisfied the claim of Ralph Ringer JSC, which demanded that the recovery of almost 1.5 billion rubles be recognized. taxes, insurance premiums, fines and penalties by the metropolitan tax inspections No. 15 and 18 illegal. This decision was made on January 16, follows from the case file. It follows from it that the defendants exceeded the deadlines for issuing a decision on the on-site inspection by almost two years. It took place back in 2017 and its results were supposed to be summed up in 2019, but the inspections did this only in 2021.
The Federal Tax Service did not respond to Vedomosti’s request. The owner of Ralf Ringer Andrey Berezhnoy declined to comment, citing the fact that the proceedings had not yet been completed. It follows from the file of the case that the inspectorates have already filed a complaint with the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal, its consideration is scheduled for January 30.
Ralf Ringer (formerly Belka trading house) is a Russian manufacturer and retailer of women’s, men’s and children’s shoes under the same brand, as well as under the Piranha and Riveri brands. The company has existed since 1996. The retailer’s production facilities are located in Moscow, Moscow region, Zaraysk and Vladimir. The network includes more than 1,500 stores, including franchised ones, according to the Ralf Ringer website. The revenue of all companies of the group, according to SPARK-Interfax, in 2021 exceeded 9.5 billion rubles.
Tax authorities based on the results of an on-site audit of a retailer for the period 2014–2016. made a decision on additional taxes, fines and penalties in the amount of 3.2 billion rubles, Ralf Ringer spokesman said earlier. According to him, the inspection considered that the sole supplier of the manufacturer was affiliated with the group and imported fewer materials and components across the border than shoes were produced in the end. The tax authority effectively concluded that there were no deliveries at all, and Ralf Ringer’s deductible costs excluded the costs and VAT deductions for all materials purchased during the three audited years. The shoe manufacturer in 2022 was able to reduce the amount of claims to 1.5 billion rubles, and after the tax inspectorates began to enforce the debt collection, Ralf Ringer challenged their actions in court.
Ralf Ringer’s dispute with the tax service is somewhat unique, since it concerns a backbone enterprise included in the list of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, says Yury Schastlivy, head of the Tax Disputes practice at Lemchik, Krupsky and Partners (representing the interests of the retailer in court). According to him, the group includes four own factories, which employ about 2,000 people. He recalls that the tax authority began to recover from the company the property that was used in the production of the company’s shoes, despite the fact that the end of this case has not yet been put.
Tax lawyers interviewed by Vedomosti say that the tax authorities quite often make decisions on the results of audits with a significant delay. This is especially true for large companies, when there is a possibility of collecting a large tax arrears, says Nikolai Andreev, head of the digital law practice at Taxology law firm.
Evgeny Timofeev, managing partner of the law firm Timofeev, Gusev & Partners, adds that in practice, the courts look at non-compliance with the deadlines “through their fingers”. But in the case of Ralf Ringer, the tax authorities managed to delay the fully completed case for more than two years, he notes. According to Timofeev, in this situation, the court’s decision is quite justified. Although in general, according to Andreev, judicial practice is not in favor of taxpayers. Quite often the appeal and cassation rule in favor of the tax authorities, even if the first instance was on the side of the taxpayer, he notes.
Ralf Ringer is not the first retailer to sue the tax authorities. Earlier, Interdistrict Tax Inspectorate No. 13 for the Vladimir Region accused Zenden chains of receiving unjustified benefits of 867 million rubles. by artificially splitting the group into 22 IPs. The owner of the retailer Andrey Pavlov insisted that all these persons are franchisees. Now the decision on additional taxation is being challenged in court.