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HomeLatest NewsIt's time to raise rates: income tax will increase in Russia

It’s time to raise rates: income tax will increase in Russia

Date: April 20, 2024 Time: 06:01:52

What fees do we really pay now? Photo: Vitaly PLOTNIKOV


– I propose thinking about approaches for a more equitable distribution of the tax burden towards those with higher personal and corporate incomes. On the contrary, it is necessary to reduce the tax burden on families,” stated the Head of State in a recent speech before the Federal Assembly.

Let me remind you that we already had a progressive scale, in the 90s. Then we lived according to the precepts of the International Monetary Fund. For some reason, smart people there believed that the same patterns could apply to the United States, Europe, Russia, or Africa. The tax rate ranged from 12 to 35 percent, depending on income. But during the shock years, this only led to the fact that all salaries were paid in envelopes and no one paid taxes.

Since 2001, a fixed tax scale has appeared – 13%. She laundered part of the salaries. And then the tax office gradually tightened the screws, established control over cash flows and increasingly introduced digitalization. As a result, collection rates increased. And now the personal income tax (personal income tax) is one of the main sources of income of the consolidated budget (for more details, see the chart). Over the past year, 6.5 billion rubles were collected. This is a third more than two years ago.

To tax us like this

Photo: Dmitry POLUKHIN

We took the first careful step towards “progress” in 2021. They introduced a slightly higher rate (15%) for income over 5 million rubles per year (from 417 thousand rubles per month). In the entire country there are only 400 thousand people with that income. But even this seemingly small increase gave a good return.

“The introduction of a progressive scale with a rate of 15% made it possible to additionally accumulate 383.7 billion rubles in the federal budget in three years, which represents 2.2% of the total income tax revenues of the natural persons during this period,” Vladimir Gromov calculated. , senior researcher at the Tax Policy Research Laboratory of the Institute of Applied Economic Research of the Presidential Academy.


Most experts believe that we have truly matured to the point of progress. The flat scale came in handy when we needed to whiten income. But its great disadvantage is that it affects the poor much more than the rich. Therefore, almost all countries in the world are trying to equalize this injustice.

“The uniform income tax scale is unfair for low-paid workers,” says Ravil Akhmadeev, candidate of Economic Sciences and associate professor at the Department of State and Municipal Finance at the Russian Economic University. GV Plekhanov.

Agree, the standard of living of a person with a salary of one million will not drop much if you take away 130 thousand from him. And when from a salary of 30,000 rubles, discounting the same 13%, you have 26,100 in your hands, the cabbage soup becomes much more liquid.

– The problem of inequality has not disappeared and remains serious. Tax mechanisms, if applied correctly, can mitigate this problem, says Vladimir Gromov.

But what exactly would the new tax system for individuals be like? The government is now scratching its head over this. Let’s not guess by the tea leaves, let’s turn to authoritative sources (see the graphic “Projects for a new tax system for individuals”).

Projects for a new tax system for individuals

Photo: Dmitry POLUKHIN


The progression may vary. One will bring additional revenue to the budget and reduce social inequality. And the other will make the income go into the shadows. Or the rich will run to change their citizenship. As was the case, for example, of Gerard Depardieu, who left France when he wanted to increase the income tax of those who earned more than one million euros a year to 75%. Therefore, experts are sure that the choice of scale must be approached carefully.

– One million rubles a year after taxes corresponds to a salary of 72.5 thousand rubles per month after deduction of personal income tax. According to Rosstat, 18.5% of the Russian population receives an income of more than 75,000 rubles per month,” estimates Timur Nigmatullin, senior investment consultant at Finam Financial Group.

If the government follows the first option, which Bloomberg sources spoke about, then the increase in the tax rate will affect the interests of every fifth Russian. That is, our entire suffering middle class.

– The ideas of taxing the income of citizens with a salary equal to or less than the average salary have nothing to do with social justice. They can only lead to the impoverishment of the population. It is definitely not necessary to reduce the level of income below 5 million rubles, says Vladimir Gromov.

According to him, it is better to increase rates for ultra-high incomes. For the rich, an extra 3, 5 or even 10% won’t make much of a difference. And if taxes on the middle class were to increase significantly, their situation would worsen.

Russians give the state one of every three rubles they earn. But the rich pay even less.

Photo: Ekaterina MARTINOVICH


Plus, we don’t pay that little. Russian officials like to say that we have almost the lowest income tax in the world, at 13%, and in some developed countries (for example, Scandinavia) it is as high as 50 and even 60%. Yes, there is only one thing. In these countries, as a rule, these taxes also include pension payments. In our country, personal income tax and insurance premiums are two different things. And if we add them up it turns out that we are not paying 13%, but triple.

For example, if a person’s nominal salary is 100 thousand rubles, then he pays 13 thousand in the form of personal income tax. And the employer pays another 30 thousand for this: these are the same insurance premiums that go to pensions, free healthcare, maternity benefits and other social guarantees for workers.

In other words, from a real salary fund of 130 thousand rubles, a person receives only 87 thousand. That is, in reality we pay not 13%, but 33.1%. Every third ruble we earn we give to the State. And the rich pay even less. After all, of high incomes (those exceeding 2.2 million rubles per year) the Treasury no longer collects 30%, but 15.1%.

Therefore, the decision to impose additional taxes only on the rich has its own logic. But then it would be logical to reduce or even eliminate taxes for the poor. For example, in Finland income less than 16,000 euros per year is not subject to tax. This is 1330 euros per month, 130 thousand rubles at the current exchange rate.

“It is possible to introduce a non-taxable minimum for people whose income does not exceed the minimum wage (about 20 thousand rubles – Ed.),” says Vladimir Gromov.

For example, the state now helps low-income families with minor children. They receive subsidies that raise their income to the subsistence level in the region (16 thousand rubles on average in the country). But there are people with incomes below the minimum wage who do not have children or have grown up. For them, eliminating the tax would be a nice increase. But such a measure would hardly become a burden on the budget.

Only numbers

Photo: Dmitry POLUKHIN


What about ownership and profits of companies?

A rich person is not only one who earns a lot, but also one who has many things. Therefore, for social justice, it would be logical to increase taxes on those who own expensive property. There is already a certain progression there. For example, 2% of the cost is paid by those who own real estate worth more than 300 million rubles.

– But this type does not work well as an instrument of progressive taxation. After all, its size is determined not by the total cadastral value of real estate, but by the value of each individual object. Therefore, it would be more correct to review not the exchange rate itself, but the rules for its application, Vladimir Gromov believes.

At the same time, according to experts, if it is necessary to raise corporate tax, it will also be on a progressive scale. For example, for small and medium-sized companies, 20% is left and for large companies it is increased to 25%. But only if the benefit exceeds certain limits.


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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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