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    MOSCOW, March 9, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - A single information system of the customs and tax services (the State Customs Committee and the Tax and Dues Ministry) will make it possible to cut budget losses from fictitious exports, first deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Andrei Sharonov said at a press conference on Tuesday.

    "This project will make it possible to cut the number of suspicious deals by 20% and save 39 billion roubles for the budget," said Sharonov.

    In his words, serious economic entities will also save up to 25 billion roubles. This will be possible due to the 90% cuts in the time of export deals acknowledgement.

    "The joint project of the customs and tax services is linked to the return of VAT in fictitious exports, which has turned into a criminal business and caused serious budget losses," said the first deputy minister.

    In his words, reimbursement sums are already exceeding the taxes collected by the budget.

    The joint project was launched in 2003 and envisages that information resources of the two departments be unified. Each exporter is to be provided with an electronic customs declaration, for instance, in the form of a plastic card. On the border, this declaration will be read within 10 seconds, transferred to the Customs Committee data processing centre and to the Tax and Dues Ministry, and finally to the local tax offices to be later returned to refund VAT to the exporters.

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