By Nick Butler

Olympic venues and hotels in Sochi will receive tax breaks in a bid to save them financially ©Getty ImagesVenues and hotels in Sochi used during the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been exempted from property tax in a move interpreted as a refection of the financial problems they are encountering.

According to the law, which came into force on May 6 but was only publicised by the Krasnodar regional Government today, all "Olympic buildings" will be absolved from corporate property tax until January 1 next year.

This will include sporting venues, in the Olympic Park as well as in the Mountain Clusters, along with the Olympic Village, the Main Press Centre and the Russian International Olympic University in Sochi, while transportation, engineering infrastructure and hotels built as part of the construction programme will also be exempt.

By lifting the tax, set locally at 2.2 per cent of the net value of a company's assets, it is thought the regional budget will miss out on some 4 billion rubles (£68 million/$114 million/€84 million) - money it hopes to get back from the federal budget.

But Ilya Volodka, chief executive of consultancy company MACON Reality, is among multiple analysts to have speculated the tax break is not really voluntary, because many of the facilities are so in debt they simply do not have the money to pay.

"Neither state-funded nor privately funded Olympic venues can generate income, so it would be impossible for them to pay the tax," he said, according to the Moscow Times.

"They would be subsidised by the Government in one way or another anyway."

Several schemes have been introduced in a bid to attract more visitors to the Olympic Park...but revenue is still thought to be low ©Getty ImagesSeveral schemes have been introduced in a bid to attract more visitors to the Olympic Park...but revenue is still thought to be low ©Getty Images

When infrastructure as well as Games-related costs are included, Sochi 2014 cost a total of 1.7 trillion rubles (£30 billion/$50 billion/€36 billion), a much greater total than initial projections.

Since the conclusion of the Games in March, it has been reported the resort is struggling to attract enough tourists to fill its hotels in the aftermath of the global event, despite huge publicity about the tourism boost for the region provided by the Games.

Several schemes have been introduced in a bid to attract more tourists, including plans to develop an Extreme Hotel in Krasnaya Polyana and the opening of a theme park, considered "Russia's Disneyland", adjacent to the Park. 

But there have also been setbacks for various legacy projects, including a U-turn on plans to turn the Iceberg Skating Palace, which hosted figure skating during the Games, into a cycling velodrome. 

Belief that the tax brief will help alleviate the pressure was reiterated by Nikolai Kazansky, managing partner at real estate firm Colliers International, who believes it would "lower significantly the tax burden on investors".

He added that the Government should apply the exemption only to those venues with the longest return on investment periods.

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