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    RUSSIA'S GOVERNMENT TO DECIDE ON SOCIAL TAX IN

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    MOSCOW, February 4. /RIA Novosti correspondent/ -- Russia's Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref said that in February the government would take the final decision on changing the Single Social Tax (SST).

    Gref deems transformation of the SST in conditions of the beginning of the accumulative pension system to be exceedingly important. "It is exceedingly important to bring wages and salaries onto the legal level", he stated in his speech at the fifth annual investment conference held by the US Chamber of Commerce in Russia. He also counts on completion of all the tax innovations in the course of the State Duma's spring session.

    Gref declared to be for the necessity to improve the administration of the value-added tax (VAT). He noted that "criminal business to return VAT has reached a dangerous scale, and serious measures should be taken to improve the administration of this tax". According to Gref, both business and the government are gravely concerned over this problem.

    In February Russia's Ministry of Economic Development and Trade intends to discuss this problem again with representatives of the business community, and to take a decision on possible introduction of VAT-accounts and alternative measures to administer VAT, Gref said.

    He also expressed hope that the Water and Forrest Codes would be adopted in a new edition in the course of the spring session, while the law on mineral resources would pass its first reading and be adopted by the autumn session.

    "This will exhaust the medium-term change (of the tax system) so that the tax conditions would be predictable for business", Gref said in conclusion.

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