Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Russia's Tax Revulsion

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Russia's Tax Revulsion

Article excerpt

VARIOUS parts of the United States have had actual or threatened "tax revolts" in recent decades. Usually that means citizens band together to pass initiatives to reduce taxes. And the US Congress is now awash with ideas for curbing the "tyrannical" powers of the Internal Revenue Service.

But Americans, who love to trace their anti-tax sentiments to the Boston Tea Party, rarely stop to think what a relatively benign system of revenue collection they have. Yes, there are the IRS horror stories. But, on the whole, Americans pay their taxes willingly and have some confidence they'll get useful services in return.

Then there's Russia. Nearly half of the taxes due by the April 1 deadline never materialize. Russians don't just evade around the fringes, they massively ignore the tax collector. This anti-tax inclination may not have mattered that much during the Soviet years, when the government officially owned everything. But in the newly democratizing, privatizing Russia, it's a major roadblock to getting anything done. …

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