The reporting year for companies generally follows the calendar year. The exception is for qualified agricultural manufacturers (other than on simplified [unified] tax), whose reporting period starts from 1 July of the current reporting year and ends on 30 June of the next reporting year.
Tax returns for CIT should generally be submitted on a quarterly basis, but some taxpayers will have to submit them annually (newly established, agricultural producers, and taxpayers with prior year annual income equal to or less than UAH 40 million net of indirect taxes).
Monthly returns (e.g. VAT) must be filed within 20 calendar days following the end of the respective reporting month.
Quarterly returns are due within 40 calendar days following the last day of the reporting quarter. However, the deadline for submitting a fourth quarter CIT return (on a quarterly reporting period basis) is 60 calendar days after the reporting year-end; this term also applies for other annual returns (including CIT returns on a yearly reporting period basis).
Taxpayers also have to submit financial statements to the tax authorities.
Resident companies and non-resident entities with a PE in Ukraine must keep records that comply with the tax rules.
Payment of tax
Taxes payable assessed on the basis of tax returns are due within ten calendar days following the deadline for filing the relevant tax returns.
Starting from 1 January 2021, a unified tax account will be enabled. It will be possible to pay CIT, PIT, and USC through a unified tax account as well as other payments, the control of which is entrusted to the State Tax Service. Please note, such account will not be used for payments of VAT and excise tax on fuel and alcohol.
The use of a unified tax account starts on the next business day after the submission of the notification on the use of such tax account. If the taxpayer intends to stop usage of the unified tax account, it will be terminated starting from 1 January of the following calendar year.
Once in a year, the taxpayer has the right to notify (via electronic cabinet) of the choice either to use or terminate a unified tax account.
The tax authorities will charge significant penalties for late filing, late payment, or understating tax liabilities.
Late payment of tax may result in a penalty in the amount of 10% of the underpaid amount for delays of up to 30 calendar days (20% if the delay exceeds this).
If the tax liabilities are understated, the amount of penalty depends on the frequency of violations (i.e. understatement of CIT and VAT liabilities, overstatement of VAT refunds) during a period of 1,095 consecutive calendar days. In particular: 25% for the first violation, 50% for the second violation and each subsequent violation related to the same taxes.
In addition to the abovementioned penalties, late payment interest (LPI) is calculated based on 100%/120% of the prime rate of the National Bank of Ukraine. The rules for calculation of LPI are vaguely worded and are open to interpretation.
If a taxpayer fails to withhold tax when required, a penalty of up to 75% of the deficient tax is imposed.
If the taxpayer fails to register VAT invoices, penalties are up to 50% of the VAT amount (100% if the customer complains). If the taxpayer fails to register excise tax invoices, penalties are up to 40% of the excise tax amount due on the supply of the respective excisable goods.
Potential criminal responsibility could be claimed against the taxpayer’s management if the total amount of additional tax liabilities assessed by the tax authorities during the tax audit exceeds 3,000 times the amount that is equal to 50% of the statutory subsistence minimum for able-bodied individuals (i.e. UAH 3,153,000 of additional tax liabilities for 2020). There are several options to close such criminal proceedings (the procedure should be properly managed from the legal perspective).
If the taxpayer identifies and self-adjusts understated tax liabilities, such taxpayer is required to self-assess penalties of 3% or 5%, depending on the way in which the adjustment was made.
Non-resident legal entity that conducts activities in Ukraine through a separate business unit (including a PE) without registering with Ukrainian tax authorities will be charged with penalties of UAH 100,000.
As a part of tax measures related to COVID-19, taxpayers are exempted from penalties (with certain exceptions) and late payment interest for the period starting from 1 March 2020 and until the last day of the month in which the quarantine period ends.
Starting from 1 January 2021, the following major amendments to tax legislation in terms of penalties will take effect:
- Changes in penalty rates and, introduction of new penalty rates.
- Introduction of the concept of taxpayer’s guilt for violation of tax rules, as well as the definition of circumstances mitigating such guilt.
- Penalty rate will depend on the presence of taxpayer’s guilt (intent), as well as the circumstances mitigating the guilt.
Tax audit process
The tax authorities may carry out scheduled audits once a year. Taxpayers must be notified of the audit in writing at least ten days in advance. The State Tax Service is required to release a schedule of planned audits for the following year on its official website by 25 December of the year preceding the year when such audits are to be conducted. Taxpayers added to the schedule during the first quarter of the year can be audited not earlier than 1 July of that year. Taxpayers added to the schedule during the second quarter of the year can be audited not earlier than 1 October of that year. In addition, the tax authorities may perform out-of-schedule audits in certain circumstances (e.g. if a taxpayer does not file tax returns on a timely basis, it is reorganised or liquidated, during the counter-check it fails to provide the tax office with all documents specified in the request).
A desk audit of a tax return or adjusted tax return may be conducted within 30 calendar days following the deadline for its submission; if such documents have been filed after such deadline, the 30-day term will be calculated starting from the date of submission.
A desk audit of a tax return from March 2020 to May 2020 or adjusted tax return which were submitted during period from March 2020 to May 2020 may be conducted within 60 calendar days following the deadline for its submission; if such documents have been filed after such deadline, the 60-day term will be calculated starting from the date of submission.
The tax authorities have the right to audit a taxpayer’s accounting, correctness, and completeness of the calculation of NPBT according to the Ukrainian statutory or IFRS rules.
Transfer pricing audits are conducted on a separate basis.
Starting from 1 July 2020, the periods already covered by the tax authorities’ documentary tax audit may be reopened for additional tax audit if Ukrainian tax authorities obtain information from foreign tax authorities indicating that the taxpayer violated tax rules for the respective periods. In this case, Ukrainian tax authorities will be allowed to conduct additional tax audit only in respect of those issues that are related to information obtained from foreign tax authorities.
From 18 March 2020 to the last day of the month in which the quarantine restrictions end a moratorium on tax audits has been established (except tax audits conducted at the request of the taxpayer, out-of-schedule audits related to the reorganization/ liquidation/ bankruptcy of legal entities/ private entrepreneurs and value added tax matters, in certain circumstances actual audits are also allowed).
Statute of limitations
Under Ukrainian tax legislation, a three year statute of limitations applies (1,095 days) on any outstanding Ukrainian tax liability, starting from the date a tax return is due to be filed and/or the date the tax is due to be paid, if assessed by the tax authorities. There is no limit on the statute of limitations in which an assessment may be made if a taxpayer has deliberately evaded taxation (if proven in court) or when a taxpayer fails to file a return.
The statute of limitations for transfer pricing controlled operations is seven years (2,555 days).
Starting from 1 January 2021, the statute of limitation of seven years (2,555 days) will also apply to tax agents who are required to withhold PIT and military tax from payments made to individuals under labour relationships.
As a part of tax measures related to COVID-19, the statute of limitations is suspended for the period starting from 18 March 2020 and until the end of the quarantine period.
The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine is authorised to issue summarising tax consultations in cases of inconsistency among various tax law provisions. Additionally, tax advice may be sought from the tax authorities, who are required to issue such clarifications.
Tax advice is not legally binding and may be challenged in court. A taxpayer may use the tax advice as guidance on the methodology to be applied by the taxpayer. In practice, the tax advice often does not provide solid protection against future assessment of tax, but does protect from penalties.
A unified database of individual tax consultations was established in 2017 and administered by the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine with free unobstructed access to its records. All individual tax consultations issued by the tax authorities from 1 April 2017 and further on are to be entered into the database.
Topics of focus for tax authorities
Currently tax authorities are focusing on the following areas:
- Proper calculation of taxable profits as per accounting records (including timely documenting of expenses and their proper allocation between the periods), and correct application of tax differences, prescribed by the Tax Code.
- Compliance with beneficial ownership requirements for the purposes of CIT and WHT.
- Compliance with transfer pricing rules and reporting requirements.
- Analysis of taxpayer’s rights for recognition of input VAT.
Electronic taxpayer’s cabinet
An electronic taxpayer’s cabinet features the following functions:
- Access to the taxpayers’ information, which was collected and accumulated by tax authorities.
- Ability to reconcile tax payments made to the state and local treasuries by obtaining the reconciliation statements.
- Ability to manage overpaid or mistakenly paid monetary obligations and penalties.
- Electronic submission of tax returns and other reporting, registration of VAT, and excise invoices.
- Access to the electronic system of VAT administration.
- Informs taxpayers on scheduled audits, ability to file administrative appeals against decisions taken by the tax authorities.
- Ability to receive requests, tax audit reports and tax assessment notices from the tax authorities.
- Informs on status of counterparties using information supplied by publicly available information sources maintained by the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, other registries and databases that are maintained according to the Tax Code of Ukraine, etc.
- Exchange of documents between the taxpayer and the tax authorities.