On December 23, a draft law on media is scheduled to be considered by the relevant committee of the Verkhovna Rada. As it was previously reported, this draft law is intended to equate bloggers with the media and oblidge them to pay taxes.
How innovation can affect the industry and why bloggers happened to be under the gun sights,you can read in the article of Lawyer at ESQUIRES Law Firm Victor Zalotin.
Earlier, the head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko (former head of “1 + 1″of Igor Kolomoisky) announced that he had previously considered the variant of taxing such a new profession as a “blogger”, but in the concept of the draft law posted on the website of committee there are no explicit mention of this.
At the same time, the project adopts the criteria for determining the media to which bloggers belong. The criteria may later be used to tax the blogers: location of information users, their audience, place of payment or advertising, language of dissemination, purpose and content, etc.
In addition, the project proposes to introduce the registration of bloggers as online media, but on a voluntary basis. Such users are offered to oblige to indicate only the name and contact details. However, no one knows how to control the relevance of this information. Meanwhile, licensing for this category of users is not provided.
The proposition of the authors of the document to blog in the Ukrainian language is somewhat utopian, because the document does not provide the control of this issue.
In general, this project recognizes only the existence of online media, and any interaction with regulatory bodies is not foreseen for in the document. Therefore, the norms of this bill are not likely to gain practical implementation if adopted.
About monetizing of the area
At the same time, the volume of the activities of bloggers can be analyzed, in particular, on the example of the Instagram network. According to rough estimates, about 11 million of Ukrainians are registered in it. You can select at least 100,000 people who make a profit by maintaining their own account on this network. Moreover, tens of thousands of users can make significant profits.
In accordance with the legislation of Ukraine, the advertising services must be provided on a contractual basis and be taxed, among other things, income from entrepreneurial activity is also taxed.
The basic income tax rate is 18%, the value added tax is 20%. Ukrainian bloggers, popular on Instagram, receive from 4000 to 10000 UAH or more for one advertising post, there can be more than a dozen such posts per day.
Thus, according to rough estimates, the state budget does not receive hundreds of millions of hryvnias of taxes only from the activities of bloggers on Instagram due to lack control.
How to control finances
Today, the State Tax Service (STS) controls the tax payments in Ukraine.
However, practical supervision of tax payments by bloggers raises questions. The bloggers are not obliged to register their activities, in particular, in the form of individual entrepreneurs (IE). In this situation, the tax authorities cannot control what bloggers pay taxes from, because their profit is also not recorded.
Financial monitoring bodies (for example, banks) are also not entitled to identify the sources of funds, because usually the amount of income on the accounts of bloggers can exceed price of such monitoring.
It remains only to look through terabytes of content in order to search for ads in it and to require confirmation of payment of taxes. However, if the blogger does not interact and does not indicate enough data in the profile, it is impossible to find out from whom to demand payment.
About foreign experience
Control over the activities of bloggers was introduced in Russia. Since 2014 there has been a registry of bloggers in the country, with more than 3,000 users subscribed to it. The purpose of this control was to verify content, not taxation. Discussions about the introduction of the taxation has not still finished yet.
In the United States, tax payments are controlled via annual tax declarations. This document should be submitted to the regulatory bodies of the state by every working citizen, and it must indicate even the smallest incomes, in particular from the blog. Professional bloggers pay taxes as entrepreneurs for advertising, gifts from sponsors, etc. A similar system works in Norway.
In the UK, taxes are not paid if the blog has earned up to £ 1,000 a year.
Given the above, it is impossible to oblige bloggers to pay taxes without introducing a common commitment. Therefore, the reform of the legislation shall include the creation of a mechanism for such taxation.
To do this, it is enough to implement the following steps:
- Introduce special tax rates for individual entrepreneurs bloggers and their obligatory registration, for example, if such a blogger makes a profit of more than 10,000 UAH per year. In order to tax them, you can consider the number of subscribers.
- The introduction of subsidiary tax liability between bloggers and social networks. Such responsibility involves the delegation of obligations to pay tax to a social network if it does not oblige its users to provide information in accordance with the draft law, or does not provide such information upon request. So, large companies will be interested to cooperate with tax authorities in order to avoid overpaying.
- Since there are more than 70 tasks assigned to the STS, an additional obligation to control bloggers will deplete tax specialists and take a lot of time. Therefore, the task of monitoring the content can be replaced with a monetary reward for users for providing information about “doubtful advertisers” on the network.
Increasing the state budget revenues with the help of a new article on taxation of bloggers will allow to direct funds to various state programs, and so on.
The main thing is not to transform the taxation into the means of pressure and restriction of freedom of speech in Ukraine.