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    CANDIDATE FOR PREMIER SETS OUT TAX REFORM PRIORITIES

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    MOSCOW, March 5, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Mikhail Fradkov, candidate for Russian Prime Minister, has said that Russia's tax reform is designed to, above all, reduce single social tax.

    The tax reform has been advanced considerably, he said. "The tax burden is continuing to be alleviated. However, this is not enough," Mr Fradkov said as speaking at the State Duma (parliament's lower house) today.

    Business entities continue skimming major amounts of salaries paid to their employees on the grounds that the tax burden on payrolls is intolerable, noted Mr Fradkov. It is, therefore, necessary to reduce, above all, single social tax, he emphasized.

    "Our main objective is to encourage companies and private individuals to report all their earnings," noted Mr Fradkov.

    Apart from alleviating the tax burden, a new government will have to streamline tax administration arrangements, above all in relation to value added tax and profits tax, according to Mr Fradkov.

    "I am sure that the lack of a coordinated tax discipline is to the detriment to honest, efficiently working companies. We will, therefore, be working to boost Russian companies' transparency," reassured Mr Fradkov.

    He also said Russian-based companies would have to switch over to international financial accounting standards to this end.

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