«For the sake of business, I sold the apartment, but they broke my life and took away the future.»
The story of one ruin
Elena Digoyeva thought that after the death of her husband, nothing that would make her cry, will not happen. A strong woman, she was able to create her own business in the construction industry, provide 50 employees with work and raise a son. But at one point, everything changed: suppliers, with whom she had not worked for a long time, were in the register of pseudo-entrepreneurs. When the tax check exposed the amount that was too heavy for her company, Elena burst into tears. For the first time since the death of her husband.
The urge to build a Minsk woman since childhood. Her grandfather was a deserved builder of the USSR, he headed the design institute in Moscow. Granddaughter decided to follow in his footsteps and entered the Minsk Polytechnic Institute (now BNTU) for the specialty «Industrial and civil construction».
— In the times of the students, my grandfather always told me: «Lenochka, you remember for the rest of your life: a builder is the only profession that carries criminal responsibility for life. Your objects are your face, and it depends on you, it will be crooked or beautiful, «Elena recalled. She is petting a small doggie of Jack and holding a thick folder with papers.
«I sold the car, I took a lot of risk, but I believed in myself»
After university she decided to work in school. She received a pedagogical education and taught music for six years. At this time, she married. Her husband owned a firm for the sale of building materials and periodically asked her for help in business.
— In 2001 he was killed. He went on a business trip to Moscow and disappeared. I’ve been trying to find him for six months. As a result, my mother-in-law, a resident of North Ossetia, got in touch with the local president. The body of her husband was found under Ramensky, — the entrepreneur wipes tears.
You know, he always called me into business. I then thought: where am I, and where is the business. But some time after his death still decided to try.
PUE Unikumservice Elena registered in 2005. Company profile — finishing work. Minchanka calls finishing the queen of construction works and says that this sphere has always attracted her.
— It was insanely hard. I had to sell the car to start, — she says. — A lot of preparatory work has been done: get a license (yes, the requirements were then more stringent), purchase tools, find qualified people. In general, they risked very much, but there was no particular fear at that time. I believed that everything depends on me, I believed that I could.
At Elena worked 50 people, to take more she did not risk. She says she never suffered from gigantomania. The staff was young, with burning eyes: the chief engineer, the estimator, the accountant, and the workers-all the owners of the business only praised them.
The first object «Unikumservis» did in Postavy. The city was preparing for the day of writing. Elena came to the chairman of the local district executive committee and offered her finishing services. She says she was very skeptical: not only was the company private, nobody especially not known, so the director was also a woman in it. The male directors only smirked when they saw her surname in the contracts.
— I said that I will work without an advance, on my word of honor. I remember, I promise, but I myself think: «And if something breaks?» But she kept herself from these thoughts, «she says. — We worked a month. We were looked at — and offered to conclude several more contracts, already on general grounds. As a result, our company landscaped almost all Postavy, then we were invited to Glubokoe. And then my contacts began to be transmitted via word of mouth, recommending as a reliable company. We reconstructed the cinema in Ostrovets, we were able to do everything in 150 days.
In Turov they made a hotel. Even Sergei Rumas worked. I can boast without boasting: according to my firm, there were never any complaints. After working at the state objects a month later, as a rule, there was always a check of the State Audit Office. And never problems arose.
The inspectors sometimes told me: «Why did you not have a percentage point of 1.5 meters, because you could have taken more money?» As for me, it was better to get less money than then the State Audit Office would blame us for counting the excess.
«When I saw the results of the tax audit, I almost turned gray»
The first scheduled inspection of Unicumservice took place in 2009. Elena says that there were no special remarks, despite the big turn. Further the situation on the market is changing: in 2011 there is a crisis, the volumes are falling. In order not to lose business, Elena sells an apartment bought on credit, and with her son moves to live with her mother. It contributes to the company as a loan.
— When I saw the results, I almost turned gray, — Elena recalls. — No special comments on accounting, but … The tax found 40 of my counterparts, who were in the register of pseudo-entrepreneurial structures. These are the suppliers of materials with which I worked from 2010 to 2013. We begin to look at this register. 18 counterparties fell off immediately, because they were simply registered not according to the jurisdiction.
The remaining 22, according to the tax, still engaged in pseudo-entrepreneurial activities. What did this mean for Elena? This meant that all invoices for which the company worked were recognized as invalid. According to Presidential Decree No. 488 «On some measures to prevent illegal minimization of amounts of tax liabilities,» she was additionally assessed taxes (VAT and income) in the amount of 52.4 thousand rubles. In addition, they counted a fine of 50.58 thousand. The total businesswoman had to pay 103 thousand rubles. The firm had no such money.
«To say that I was outraged is not to say anything,» adds the woman. — Firstly, we found out that counterparties were on the list of pseudo-entrepreneurial structures after working with Unikumservis. They supplied materials during the period from 2010 to 2013, and the register was hit only later — from 2013 to 2015. The decree came into force in 2013 — why is it applied to the relations that existed before that time?
Secondly, we have a construction firm, not wholesale trade, where you can not track the reality of the goods. For budgetary objects, materials are purchased from no one else. I’ll explain the scheme. It is necessary to take an invoice, submit it for agreement to the customer. The customer signs it, prices are checked by the accounting department and the economic department. Only after that I can buy materials. And only at that enterprise which has passed the certain procedure.
But that’s not all. Materials are delivered, certificates come with them. They are obligatory, they are put under the executive documentation. When the object is handed over, the technical supervision checks the conformity of certificates, invoices, it is all stamped, filed and stored by the customer. In addition, when the material is delivered to the customer’s site, it is controlled by technical supervision.
«Is it my fault that for some reason my partner proved to be unreliable?»
Elena calmed down and tried to find out everything in her district tax. I thought, maybe the inspector formally approached his work. The tax office said that everything is correct. Like, as a rule, in such cases, construction materials are supplied at low prices or materials in general can be stolen.
«But if we are serious about these accusations, and not at the level of the saleswomen from Komarovka, then if I stole something or underestimated the price, evading taxes, prove that I did it.» But this was not, because I did not steal and did not evade payment. This time, — Elena is indignant. — The companies I worked with had certificates, invoices, settlement accounts and were not at that time in the register of pseudo-entrepreneurs. It’s two. I painted everything for the tax where every nail was spent. Well, I did not make plaster from the air! It’s three.
It would seem that it’s easy to check everything: go to the objects that we did, talk to the technical supervision, the state control, who checked everything. Would not he have found violations? And then is it my fault that for some reason my partner proved to be unreliable? Is it my task to check them?
Elena tried to write complaints about the tax decision, but in vain: in satisfaction she was refused. Meanwhile, the firm’s accounts were arrested. All the money went to pay off the debt to the tax inspectorate.
«I was actually deprived of the opportunity to work: I could not pay workers a salary, nor buy materials,» she said. — In order to pay salaries for those facilities that have already been implemented, I took a loan as an individual (almost 10 thousand rubles) and paid off with employees, and then sued the tax.
Already in the economic court of Minsk it became clear that the directors of Elena’s counterparties were dummy. On their behalf, other people worked with her, there were no warehouses for the addresses indicated in the invoices. In addition, many companies did not provide documents for tax audit, and also allowed other violations. All this testified to the fact that suppliers are pseudo-entrepreneurial structures. The court also acknowledged that the tax office could apply Decree No. 488 to the relations that arose before it entered into force. As a result, the tax decision was left unchanged. The Supreme Court also agreed with the decision of the Economic Court.
— All the dividends that I received, invested in the development of business, — explains the woman. «People have apartments, cottages, cars, people, but I did not have that. But I worked for days: I went to the objects, after that I was engaged in my director’s work, I came home at ten o’clock in the evening.
The planned tax audit for 2010-2015 was held in early 2016. Elena did not even twitch. The accountant worried a bit, correcting some flaws, but in general the company was calm.
— Out of the hall of the Supreme Court, I was shocked. I got into the car, and I had sinful thoughts — right up to swallowing the pills. You know, when you’ve done nothing wrong in your whole life … — Elena furtively sheds tears. — I was just a little ashamed. It turns out, of me, a working man, just made some kind of thief.
During the time of the courts and proceedings with the tax officials of Unikumservis they left. Elena does not even have money to rent an office, her papers are now kept with friends. Accounts are still under arrest: a woman must pay more than 50,000 rubles in fine. Where to get such money, she does not know.
«I thought that I needed the state, but the feeling is that there is not»
There is practically no chance that the decision of the Supreme Court will be reconsidered. Lawyers say that supervisory complaints are very rarely satisfied. One night Elena woke up and sat down to write to the president. She said she did not dare for a long time, but then she poured water. Has sent the letter, now waits for the answer.
She went to the reception to the Deputy Minister for Taxes and Levies. She was advised to ask the Minsk city executive committee to cancel the fine. The entrepreneur still thinks: will not such a petition be a confession of guilt?
— I asked my accountant to calculate how many taxes I paid for all this time. For 11 years of work, I paid $ 998 thousand only in the form of taxes. This is slightly more than $ 90 thousand per year. Moreover, I worked 50 people, for which I made contributions to the FSZN, they provided their families, and the state did not have to think about where to arrange them, «she says. — The son said to me: «Mom, I’m proud of you. You are one of the few who did not just agree and quietly paid, you are fighting. » But those who quietly paid, now they work, but I stayed at the broken trough.
The son is sure that I am a good fellow. And I, in my 50 years, feel that I have been ruined all my life, took away the future. And how to live on, I can not imagine. Even if they cancel the decision, even if they return the money, I can hardly risk again and resume business. You know, a citizen should always understand and know that he needs the state, is important and valuable. I always thought that I needed, but the feeling is that there is not.
Expert opinion: «This is not an isolated problem, dozens of entrepreneurs have come across it»
The business unions have already voiced concern with the pseudo-entrepreneurial structures. According to statistics for April last year, out of 7609 business entities more than 5 thousand fell into the register of unreliable ones only because they were not at their legal address.
— The question is actually very urgent, — explains the head of the Business Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers named after Kunyavsky Zhanna Tarasevich. — Especially seriously the enterprises faced it in 2016. And it seems that the tax authorities are working on the rolling scheme described in the article. Very many organizations were in exactly the same situation. The only thing that many have silently paid and do not talk about it. But when we interviewed members of our union, we found out that a large number of completely conscientious organizations that work «in the dark» had to pay taxes because their counterparts were on the list of unreliable.
What are the problems in this regard? First, a big question with the primary documents. Unfortunately, if an enterprise or an entrepreneur falls into the register of pseudo-entrepreneurial structures, all primary documents are automatically recognized as invalid. And, in fact, the second party does not have the right to defend in court, because the regulatory framework is so structured that you simply can not do it. The court will take a decision based on Decree No. 488 and explanations to it.
At the moment, an interdepartmental working group has been established with the participation of experts of the Council for the Development of Entrepreneurship. I know that two meetings have passed and that the issues discussed above have been discussed. There are several proposals for changes to Decree No. 488.
First, documents are declared invalid only after the date when the pseudo-entrepreneurial structure is included in the register. In this case, every entrepreneur will know and understand all the risks and consequences of working with similar structures.
Secondly, we propose to give the business entity the right to prove that the deal was still, even though the business was recognized as a pseudo-entrepreneurial one. Similarly, the investigative bodies that will conduct the investigation must prove that the transactions were fictitious.
And thirdly, the organization will have the right to appeal the tax decision in court and prove its case by providing some or other evidence that the transaction took place. How these proposals will flow into the draft decree, I do not know. But the working group works in any case, and by the end of February the first version of the draft changes to Decree No. 488 should be ready.