January 29, 2023

Keep Your Taxes to Yourself


Keep Your Taxes to Yourself
Legislator flicking through papers. Website of the Russian State Duma

The Russian parliament has passed a bill that allows legislators to not disclose their tax returns to the public (otherwise known as their employers).

After Russia invaded Ukraine, many branches of the Russian government blocked access to data on their work and finances, and not just military-related bodies. As part of this trend, members of parliament were exempted from disclosing their monetary gains in 2022.

On January 25, the State Duma announced that it would not publish members' tax information. Pavel Krasheninnikov, Chairman of the Committee of the State Duma on State Building and Legislation, who co-authored the bill, made it clear that the only information that would be provided is an overall statistic of all members' financial information.

The State Duma website quotes Krasheninniknov, saying that the law is meant to protect legislators' data. However, in the same article, the motive behind concealing information is attributed to "typos, misprints, or errors [that] turn into the reason for the loss of [legislators'] authority." When discussing the legislation with Komsomolskaya Pravda, Krasheninnikov changed his tune: "Not everyone is interested in this(...) It's laziness."

Of course, transparent tax information, some would argue, is a helpful safeguard against corruption.

The law will take effect on March 1.

 

 

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