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Surrender of dreams

My friend Svetlana is 53 years old. She became a small entrepreneur in 2007, when the President established a new professional holiday – Day of Russian Entrepreneurship. For 9 years she has been renting 64 square meters and selling industrial goods. She has a preferential rental rate – only 20 thousand rubles a month. Anyone familiar with the situation on the rental market will sigh enviously. But preferential rent does not save.

The last two years, Svetlana has not quit her job just because the situation is hopeless, like riding a bicycle. Just stop pedaling – you fall into poverty, debt and the complete absence of the future. Entrepreneurship for Svetlana has ceased to be free – she is his captive and therefore hates her business.

“In 2007, I was tired of working“ for my uncle ”as a deputy director, listening to tantrums, coming home at 10 in the evening and not seeing my family and children,” says Svetlana. It seemed to me that my own small trading business in a narrow commodity segment would allow me to gain freedom and decent earnings. At first, that was how it turned out. Before the crisis of 2008, my annual income was about 600 thousand rubles, I had ideas, passion, I was eager to overtake my competitors, everything worked out for me. In 2008, the situation deteriorated sharply and has not straightened out.

The reason for this is not only the macroeconomic situation, the double growth of the dollar or sanctions, but also the very “greenhouse conditions” that power creates for small businesses with such efforts.

Judge for yourself, the single tax on imputed income (UTII) for the past 9 festive years has grown for Svetlana from 15.800 rubles a year to 49.700 rubles a quarter. The Pension Fund takes about 16.600 rubles. But this is not the largest expense item. Every month you have to pay 20 thousand rubles to the hired seller plus deductions from his salary to the Pension Fund and compulsory medical insurance – this is about 6 thousand rubles. If you work most 6 days a week – hard labor is almost around the clock, because then you have to work with suppliers and financial documents at night. Family, children and leisure also go sideways. Protection – 3.800 rubles per month. Theft or spoilage of goods also happen.

The purchasing power of the population, which was hardly restored in 2013, at the end of 2014 fell completely and has not yet recovered. Suppliers raised purchase prices twice; large specialized trade networks came to the regional center. Svetlana’s own income fell to 300 thousand a year. By this time, attempts to earn at least something, to bring new goods did not lead to new incomes, but to an increased credit burden on the business. Monthly loan repayments amount to approximately 12 thousand rubles.

It’s impossible not to take loans for working capital replenishment – then in the season you are left with empty counters and you earn nothing at all. That is, the basis of the middle Russian class – a small businessman – earns a month a little more than his employee. Moreover, all responsibility lies with him. An alarm went off at night in the store – and you fly on the call of the security and police to understand. The seller got sick or wanted to go on vacation, on a day off, on the weekend – the entrepreneur has no days off, no days off, no rest.

The worst thing is the feeling of inferiority. As an entrepreneur with UTII, I do not have the right to tax deductions. Deductions for a child, for education, for paid medical services – not for me. My pension will be minimal, and in my years I can’t get a normal job. They cannot help me with housing subsidies. You can’t be ill at all, because taxes are charged regardless of your state of health.

Fortunately, if an employee turns out to be at least conscientious, and does not drag goods, this is also an eternal curse on Russian businessmen. Their hired employees steal more than buyers – this is evidenced by all marketing research in Russian retail chains.

There really were few checks. Only firefighters regularly come, but they establish order and leave. Since UTII, and no products, SES and tax do not bother. You pay UTII – and thank God. A simplified taxation system could actually reduce tax payments, but would increase the costs of bookkeeping and the operation of cash registers. So “simplified” is not sweeter than UTII.

“I am infinitely tired and ready to sell this“ business ”even tomorrow, but nobody needs it for nothing,” Svetlana complains. “Trading equipment, when it’s new, is expensive, but when you sell it, it’s worthless.” Commodity balances also agree to pick up for such a penny that even repayment of loans is not enough. But the worst thing is the feeling of inferiority. As an entrepreneur with UTII, I do not have the right to tax deductions, which everyone seems to be entitled to: the poor, state employees, large families, and disabled people.

Deductions for a child, for education, for paid medical services – not for me. My pension will be minimal, and in my years I won’t get a normal job.

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