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    The Russian Duma's Communists are set to propose in introduction of a progressive income tax, along with a so-called 'anti-usury' law. Photo: Demonstrators celebrating the 97th anniversary of October Revolution of 1917, November 7, 2014

    Russia's Communists Propose Progressive Income Tax, 'Anti-Usury Law'

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    Russian Communists in the Duma are planning to propose two draft bills once parliament starts up again after the holidays. One proposes the introduction of a progressive income tax, the other an 'anti-usury' law aimed at banks charging exorbitant rates.

    MOSCOW, January 8 (Sputnik) — The Communist fraction of Russia's lower house of parliament plans to propose a draft bill on the introduction of a progressive income tax in the country once the parliament goes back to work after the New Year's holidays, RIA Novosti has reported.

    The bill proposes that Russians earning less than 20,000 rubles a month (equivalent to about $320 US) be exempt from paying income tax entirely, while those earning 400,000 or more (about $6,400) be taxed at a rate of 35 percent. Communist Party Duma deputy Vadim Solovyev told RIA Novosti that the bill, which they had originally proposed two years ago, has been modified and updated.

    "[Income] over 20,000 rubles would be taxed along a progressive scale. Income between 20,000-50,000 rubles would be taxed 10 percent, income from 50,000 to 100,000 13 percent, income from 100,000-200,000, 15 percent, income from 200,000 to 400,000, 25 percent, and income over 400,000 — 35 percent," Solovyev explained.

    In Solovyev's words, those who earn more could afford to pay more into the budget. Russia presently has a 13 percent flat income tax rate, one of the lowest rates in Europe. The flat rate was introduced in 2000 as part of a series of measures aimed at increasing revenues and income tax compliance rates during a difficult period in Russia's transition to capitalism.

    Average monthly wages in Russia are presently about 32,250 rubles a month (about $515 US, not accounting for purchasing power parity).

    Communists Also Set to Introduce 'Anti-Usury' Bill

    The Duma's Communists are also set to introduce a so-called "anti-usury" bill aimed at assisting honest borrowers who have been stuck with high percentages, penalties and bank fees after paying off the principle of their loan. According to Central Committee Secretary Sergei Obuhov, one of the authors of the project, people who have paid the principal of their loan should not become "banks' slaves."

    Accordingly, the bill will propose that percentages and penalties should be limited by law.

    "Since the government is conducting an offshore amnesty, it should also carry out a credit amnesty. If we are willing to provide amnesty for funds which have been stolen and exported abroad to offshore [tax shelters], we should also forgive citizens for the debts they have been made to pay after having repaid their loan principle. An 'anti-usuary law' has been drafted and we will introduce it [for debate] right after the New Year," Obuhov told RIA Novosti.

    On December 4, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed an amnesty on capital returning to Russia. In November, the Russian government amended the country's tax code forcing the Russian owners of foreign-based companies to inform Russia's Federal Tax Service of their profits.


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    bill, Russian Duma, Russian Communist Party (KPRF), Russia
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