Apple, other companies to be taxed on digital sales in Russia starting in 2017

Taxes on digital sales by Apple, Google Play and Netflix has been approved by the Russian government and is expected to be implemented as of 2017, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The article says that President Vladimir Putin ordered that relevant state agencies prepare changes to the country's legislation aimed to "ensure equal conditions for online companies' operation in Russia" by September 2016. Russian online video services complained that foreign companies selling digital content in Russia have an unfair advantage since don't pay VAT (value-added tax), which in Russia amounts to 18%.

An exemption from VAT was originally adopted in Russia for foreign software developers and was subsequently applied to software sales on Apple's AppStore and Google Play and later to sales of movies and music on iTunes, Google Play Music and Netflix.