MOSCOW, July 1 (RAPSI) - The Russian Authors Society has filed an appeal with the Supreme Commercial Court against a lower court ruling that backed around 90% of a 560.102 million rubles ($17.1 million) tax claim, the court told RAPSI on Monday.

On May 31, the Moscow Commercial Court's ruling which backed the tax claim was upheld by cassation instance. The precise amount the society was ordered to pay is unknown because the appeals hearings were held behind closed doors.

It was reported earlier that the Federal Tax Service's inspectorate in Moscow ordered the society to transfer nearly 560 million rubles to the tax service in additional charges for VAT, profit tax, tax on income derived by a foreign company from sources in Russia, penalties and fees.

The additional charges arose from overdue accounts payable.

The society said earlier that it collected 2.7 billion rubles ($82.5 million), of which it paid only 2.27 billion rubles ($69.4 million) to copyright owners. The money transferred into its accounts does not belong to the society and is meant to be distributed between the copyright owners, the society said in court.

The interest it deducts is fully spent to cover the costs of collecting, distributing and paying royalties as stipulated by its annually approved estimate. Therefore, the foreclosure on these accounts would violate copyright owners' rights.

The society said in court that charging it over 560 million rubles would infringe upon the rights of more than 26,000 copyright owners who would not receive their royalties in full. Their average monthly royalties total 109.644 million rubles ($3.35 million). 

The Russian Authors Society represents the interests of nearly 2 million foreign copyright holders in the music sphere in Russia.