For some reason, OFAC included an announcement of this update on the same Recent Actions page as the Wells Fargo Enforcement action (post to come on that later today) – they updated Russia-related Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) 1118:
1118. As of December 2022, the Government of the Russian Federation may require a so-called “exit tax” payment prior to the divestment of assets located in the Russian Federation, potentially requiring transactions involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. Do U.S. sanctions prohibit the payment of this so-called “exit tax”? Does Russia-related General License (GL) 13D authorize transactions that involve the payment of this exit tax?
The Russia-related Directive 4 under Executive Order 14024 (Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive) prohibits the following activities by U.S. persons: any transaction involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, including any transfer of assets to such entities or any foreign exchange transaction for or on behalf of such entities (collectively, Russia-related Directive 4 Entities). As noted in FAQ 1002, this includes both direct and indirect transactions.
OFAC issued the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive with the explicit aim of preventing the Government of the Russian Federation from leveraging these institutions and their holdings of international reserves in ways that would undermine the impact of U.S. sanctions. Information currently available to OFAC suggests so-called “exit taxes” imposed by the Government of the Russian Federation involve payments to Russia-related Directive 4 Entities. Consequently, U.S. persons whose divestment from the Russian Federation will involve the payment of such an exit tax require a license from OFAC prior to the payment of such tax, unless otherwise authorized by OFAC.
GL 13D authorizes U.S. persons, or entities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a U.S. person, to pay taxes, fees, or import duties, and purchase or receive permits, licenses, registrations, or certifications involving Russia-related Directive 4 Entities that would otherwise be prohibited by the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive, provided such transactions are ordinarily incident and necessary to such persons’ day-to-day operations in the Russian Federation. Payment of exit taxes is not considered ordinarily incident and necessary to day-to-day operations in the Russian Federation and, thus, is not authorized under GL 13D.
Therefore, U.S. persons whose divestment of assets in the Russian Federation will involve a payment of such an “exit tax” should seek a specific license from OFAC. Such persons may submit a request for a specific license with OFAC’s Licensing Division online at http://www.home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/ofac-license-application-page. License applications related to these payments should include information regarding the amount of the exit tax, the amount of ongoing taxes that would otherwise be paid to the Government of the Russian Federation should divestment not occur, the impact of a failure to pay the tax on the employees of the exiting company, the specific economic activity in Russia of the exiting company, and the impact on the Russian Federation of the divestment. OFAC will expedite its review of such requests, which will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
While OFAC is aware that the Commission established by the Russian Federation to review such divestments may include individuals from entities subject to the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive or individuals listed on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, U.S. persons do not need to seek authorization from OFAC for their Russian buyers to submit an application to the Commission regarding a divestment transaction.
Date Updated: March 30, 2023
February 24, 2023Frequently Asked Questions 1118
Categories: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Guidance OFAC Updates Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions
Leave a Reply