The Russian authorities intend to tighten control over enterprises in order to reduce shadow employment in the country. With the help of automated big data analysis systems, the Federal Tax Service (FTS) intends to identify enterprises that can use the shadow sector and send their checks to them. The authorities explain the desire to reduce the shadow sector by the desire to thus increase the level of income of citizens. However, experts do not really believe in these explanations and believe that this may be due to the imbalance of regional budgets, which receive less income from personal income tax, writes RBC with reference to representatives of the Cabinet of Ministers and experts.
In the Cabinet of Ministers, the need for measures to identify companies that pay salaries in envelopes is explained by fears for social guarantees for citizens: it is more difficult for formally unemployed citizens to receive medical, insurance and pension services. Moreover, members of the government insist that the "black" salary is on average 30% lower than the "white" one, and the government's measures are allegedly aimed at reducing the number of citizens who receive less than they could.
The government uses data from Rosstat, according to which about 10% of Russians have an average per capita income that is still below the minimum wage (minimum wage): 10.5 thousand rubles against 15.3 thousand. In addition to using the electronic infrastructure of the Federal Tax Service, the regional authorities will also be engaged in identifying the most shadow sectors of the regional economies. The option of encouraging companies that work in accordance with the law and do not allow payments "in envelopes" was also considered. However, the authorities did not reach concrete measures to encourage them. The difference between the average salary (takes into account only "white" accruals) and the average labor income (takes into account all income "gray" and "black") is 27%, according to Rosstat: 64.2 thousand rubles against 50.7 thousand.
Experts urge the authorities not to forget about encouraging law-abiding businesses and offer the Cabinet of Ministers to forgive non-assessed taxes for those companies that voluntarily give up "black" practices. Andrey Shubin, Executive Director of Opora Rossii, cited similar practices in the catering industry as an example. He recalled that last year, enterprises in the sphere were exempted from VAT, and also expanded the conditions for obtaining the status (small and medium-sized businesses) for them by increasing the maximum staff from 250 to 1,500 people. These same successes, as recalled by the publication, were recognized by Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Sazanov.
However, not all experts believe in the government's desire to increase the incomes of Russians. Alexander Safonov, a professor at the Financial University under the government, is confident that the Russian authorities are conducting another tax audit in order to increase the stability of regional budgets that receive income from personal income tax. Safonov considers the argument about raising salaries untenable. As an argument, he cited 7 million self-employed citizens who, in the same way, do not have any social guarantees, but at the same time are in a legal field and pay taxes to the budget.
Since the end of 2022, the Russian authorities have been looking for all possible ways to replenish the budget amid record deficits caused by rising military spending and shrinking revenues amid sanctions. At the end of last year, the Ministry of Finance already carried out a tax reform and increased taxes for the main sectors, this year the authorities will introduce a "voluntary" tax on other sectors of the economy. The Federal Tax Service is especially active, which over the past year set an absolute record for additional taxes, and this year it began to actively pursue bloggers who evaded taxes.