For the first time during the YES international forum, we heard so many positive messages about Ukraine from the most reputable politicians, businessmen, and bankers of the world.
The subjects of the Ukrainian reforms concerned, one way or another, most of the participants in the official and non-official conversations.
Thus, Suma Chakrabarti, the EBRD President, noted that according to the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, currently there are more investments and investors in Ukraine than ever. Nevertheless, the banker advises to direct more efforts to carrying out the reforms, because reforms and investments move side by side. Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland, said that Ukraine changed in three years. This politician understands the price of the reforms better than anyone else. After all, it is the reform experience of Poland and the Baltic countries that is closest to us in terms of time and spirit. Despite the positive trends, the world community is waiting for better results of modernisation of the country. After all, Ukraine cannot lose its historic chance to become a modern country.
Definitely positive messages can be found in the research conducted by the European Business Association. Thus, 86% of the Ukrainian companies are awaiting positive dynamics of business growth in 2018, and 57% of businesses are planning to expand the staff.
Moving from global expressions to specifics, I would like to examine in detail the real opportunities and security tools which businesses received over the past several years. Since 2014, a new institution of the Business Ombudsman has been operating in Ukraine. The GOLAW Law Firm has repeatedly engaged it in the protection of our clients’ businesses in tax disputes, in particular, in cases involving the unjustified assessment of taxes. Having successfully resolved such disputes, we saved our clients millions of hryvnias, which were used for the development and modernization of enterprises.
Finally, the VAT refund procedure has been substantially simplified and automated: one register with one waiting list was established at the legislative level (Paragraph 200.7.1 of the Tax Code of Ukraine). Applications for VAT refund are now automatically entered into the register in chronological order. Our lawyers, who monitor the activities of lawsuits, immediately noticed the significant reduction in the number of judicial proceedings on these issues.
Soon, new procedural codes will become effective in Ukraine. The procedural legislation reform will significantly simplify judicial procedures. You will be able to file a lawsuit in electronic form using your electronic digital signature. Soon, you will not need to go to the judicial institution to get any documents, because you will have electronic access to cases, and you can already receive a subpoena as an SMS. The GOLAW Law Firm undoubtedly approves of such innovations, as our lawyers will be able to concentrate on real legal practice, but not on bureaucracy.
It is planned to introduce a full-fledged electronic cabinet of a taxpayer (Article 42-1 of the Tax Code of Ukraine). Soon, it will be possible to submit tax invoices, declarations, and reports online.The possibility to conduct unscheduled inspections based on the resolutions of law enforcement agencies (Paragraph 78.1.11 of the Tax Code of Ukraine) was abolished. The schedule of inspections of enterprises for 2018 has become public (Paragraph 77.1 of the Tax Code of Ukraine). These norms should significantly reduce the pressure on businesses.
The norm, which exempted non-residents from taxation of interest on income received from government securities and dividends was extended. Now, other income from these paid by the central executive bodies (Paragraph 141.4.10 of the Tax Code of Ukraine) is not subject to tax.
As the GDP grows, the economic activities are being animated. The banking sector, which has significantly increased its liquidity, is beginning to issue more loans with good interest rates for business development. An increase in the money quantity in Ukraine provides foreign investors with the opportunity to not just use Ukraine as a production base, but also sell their goods in the domestic market.
Positive changes contribute to the entry of new businesses into the Ukrainian market. Provided the pace of the reform is preserved, the emergence of new players can become a trend. It is no doubt that reforms in Ukraine, in particular those of the legal field, will go on. There is only a question regarding the speed of the implementation of reforms and the achievement of their effect. Indeed, most of the reforms aimed at the real sector of the economy will show their results only in the medium-term perspective. However, the basis for the future economic growth is already laid down. To date, we have already received a number of new tools and methods for business protection, which are actively used in the legal practice.
Sergiy Oberkovych, Senior Partner, Attorney at the GOLAW Law Firm
The article was published in magazine Novoe Vremia №34, 22 of September 2017