MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Finance Ministry has proposed raising and differentiating the extraction tax on natural gas following price liberalization on the domestic market, a deputy minister said Thursday.
Sergei Shatalov said the intention is to make gas producers pay more and possibly ease the tax burden on consumers.
"The underlying logic is simple and understandable, but it is too soon to cite any figures," he said, adding that tax rates should also be differentiated depending on the location of a particular gas field, its reserves, depletion rate, and so on.
He said that even a substantial increase in the gas extraction tax would only have a short-term effect for the national budget, but that it would eventually generate about the same amount of tax revenues as it does today.
Shatalov said the possible increase in the gas extraction tax is viewed primarily as a way of easing the general tax burden and cutting some taxes.
But he said taxes could only be reduced if budget stability is maintained, which means either cutting government spending or increasing revenues by tapping additional sources.
He said there is no consensus on what taxes should be cut, if any.