Moreover, according to Mikhail Delyagin, a Russian economist and head of the Institute for Globalization Problems, at the beginning of this year Mikhail Mishustin who previously served as Director of the Federal Taxation Service from 2010 to 2020, was appointed Prime Minister for “legalizing” incomes of the Russians.
Mishustin's government will most likely use the “campaign for bringing the Russians’ revenues out into the open” as a pretext for checks on their incomes and bank accounts. The Federal Tax Service started carrying them out four times more often after the lockdown. At least a little earlier, this explanation of the situation was given by the Finance University under the Government of the Russian Federation.
The Russians’ Money is Counted Again
Anyway, there have been rumors for a long time that in the conditions of a protracted crisis, external pressure and regular shortage of funds in the budget for the implementation of certain projects, as well as the maintenance of the budgetary sector and the pension system, the federal center might again dive its hand into ordinary Russians’ pockets. Even the University of Finance under the Cabinet of Ministers is making attempts to justify to some extent what is happening. When speaking about the need to bring in people’s incomes from the cold, emphasis is placed on the fact that the campaign was supposed to begin in spring 2020, just after the end of the tax period for 2019. Additionally, it is stated that these plans of the authorities have failed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown it brought about.
At present, after the lifting of the strict quarantine, the tax authorities have a free hand, in fact, and the federal government is facing a serious lack of funds. Analysts from all sides are discussing the hole in the budget equal of several trln rubles. Therefore, the missing funds need to be taken somewhere. This “somewhere” has remained the same for the federal center in recent years. It means almost empty pockets and purses of ordinary Russians. Moreover, the prerequisites for the actions of this kind have appeared before. One of them is the notorious initiative to turn people’s savings, the legality of which cannot be proved, into the revenue of the Pension Fund.
“Russians Must Give All Money Away”
And so, the first reports about mass tax audits appeared in the media. The greatest skeptics and critics of the authorities are predicting very difficult times to the Russians because the money they manage to earn and accumulate might be taken away from them again. Even the Association of Russian Banks says that the number of tax audits of accounts of the Russians has quadrupled recently. Mikhail Delyagin, a Russian economist and head of the Institute for Globalization Problems, gave the most succinct explanation for what is happening. According to him, this situation was caused by the budget issue. So, he called it an attempt to “farm the people.”
“Taxmen’s attitude to the economy can be explained by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s words “You can die today – I'll die tomorrow,” said Delyagin. “There is a serious deficit in the federal budget. There is also a grave problem with the budget in some regions. It means that we have to “farm” the people until they are totally short of money. This is the core principle of the tax system.”
Moreover, according to Delyagin, at the beginning of this year Mikhail Mishustin who served as Director of the Federal Taxation Service from 2010 to 2020, was appointed the head of the government for this particular method of “legalizing” of incomes of the Russians.
“It was no accident that Mishustin became Prime Minister of Russia,” said Delyagin. “After all, he had previously headed the Federal Tax Service. This is the firm belief of the state that the Russians have to give away all the money they have and even more. We are watching how it is implemented in practice. For 10,000 rubles ($134.10) that people received as assistance, now they have to show deference and actively return these funds in the form of fines, utility bills and taxes.”