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Interview of acting Chairman of the State Tax Service of Ukraine Yevhen Oleinikov to “Censor.NET”

, published 03 September 2021 at 12:35

Acting Chairman of the State Tax Service of Ukraine Yevhen Oleinikov gave interview to “Censor.NET” about the one-time (special) voluntary declaration, elimination of the VAT abuse schemes, etc.

 

- The tax amnesty has started. What does the Tax service expect from it?

- Mostly reference points. For me, this topic is to some extent personal and familiar for a long time. I was one of those who in 2005 prepared the first version of the draft Law on this topic.

Our modern economy was created in conditions when at a certain stage it wasn’t impossible to break the law, well it is possible but very difficult. It is possible to demand this from the vast majority of citizens in principle but not rationally. Accordingly, the question now is that no matter what, we have to move on. Society is ready for this.

When we tried to approach this topic in 2005, the main question we had was what it was for, what was the point. Such tax amnesties, if we talk about experience of other countries, were successful only where there was a public demand.

 

- Society wasn’t ready at that time?

- Economy was still operating at a residual resource in 2005. That is, the vast majority of successful businesses of the time, with few exceptions, operated on the “Soviet heritage”. I mean first of all the material heritage. They did not need the tax amnesty. Their logic itself was functioning completely different. Now the situation has changed a lot. First, we already have a tangible layer of business that has made itself without using this “heritage”. In fact, the business made itself from scratch. Such people have a different system of thinking.

The second reason is that even those businesses that have taken place as a classic heritage use have come to understanding that they already need to integrate into economy at the global level with other applicable rules. And a lot of what they did before can’t be done there. They find themselves in a very interesting situation, when they can no longer afford certain techniques and ways of doing business, but at the same time there are many who can.

There is a problem of tax competition. Anyone who does not want to do business in the non-transparent way starts to lose to those who can and want to do so. Accordingly, it wins financially due to lower tax costs. And in today’s world the problem is that the one who earns less does not get rich slower than it was a hundred years ago, this person just goes bankrupt faster. This is how the economy works today and it creates a demand for certain rules. But the fact is that for the last 15-20 years we have been moving by minimizing not even state intervention in the economy, but in fact, under the pretext of combating interference, we have begun to counteract the oversight and control. As a result, the vast majority of our processes are not controlled. But today we all feel a great public demand, when citizens are already asking: why does the state ignore this or that problem and does not take care of this or that issue.

 

- Example?

- Do you remember a title “Elite Center”? Was the state in this system as a business entity, as a participant in relations? No. And to whom did citizens turn when they lost their money? – To the state apparatus.

Another example is foreign currency loans. When exchange rate fluctuations occurred and people realized that they could not pay for loans, from whom did they begin to demand solution of their problem? – Again, from the state apparatus.

I can cite many more such examples, because I have experience of practical work both at different levels of the state apparatus and outside the public sector, particularly participation in starting my own business. Therefore, I was able to observe development of these relations: from trying to completely ignore the state to understanding that there is a certain need for the state.

By the way, a tragedy of 2014 when hostilities began greatly accelerated this process. Business representatives were the first to leave the uncontrolled territories.

 

- A few years ago I was at a meeting where it was said that big business could not withdraw assets from there.

- Big business – yes. And had the one that is smaller enough savings to recreate these assets in the controlled area? Why do you think so?

- To feel safe and leave nothing there.

- Correct. That is, there is a business request to comply with certain rules. And who can guarantee compliance with these rules? – State apparatus. Like it or not but the state in a classical version has always appeared as a society’s need for a certain guarantee of compliance with established rules. Society gradually came to this understanding. Therefore, now a basis is really being created for one-time voluntary declaration. After all, in order to ensure level of compliance with the tax rules which is required by a large part including business, it is necessary to address issue of more effective control methods. This is very clear from working results of the Tax service over the past 1.5 years. But effective control methods cannot be applied without solving the problem of transition period. You can’t just tell people that from tomorrow you will be responsible for everything you have done over the last 20 years. It’s wrong.

I understand that there is a category of those to whom such questions are legitimate. These are particularly those who became rich through the illegal use of public resources.

 

- The Constitutional Court did everything possible for a certain category of people not to ask such question, twice repealing Article of the Criminal Code on illicit enrichment.

- I have a feeling that they will not risk doing it for the third time. In addition, 10 years ago, issues such as a liability for illicit enrichment, continuous control of income, could not even be raised. It is now perceived by society and judges’ decisions you mentioned have caused an outrage.

 

- It is also outrageous in society that people who declared their income earlier did not explain their origin and did not pay any interest to the state, while others have to do so now. How fair do you think this is?

- Let’s first find out with your permission how fair the attitude you mentioned is. For example, in 2015, resigning from the civil service and not planning to return there, I decided to go through the lustration procedure in principle. So that no one could later accuse me of running away from it.

This procedure involved not only an inspection of work in positions, but also inspection of the property status. I submitted declaration, information about my and my relatives’ property status. They were fully inspected and any discrepancies with income register were found.

After that, I received a certificate that does not fall under the ban.

 

- And now, when electronic declarations are submitted, the Tax service pays attention to compliance with income?

- No, we are not involved in this process; such declarations are checked only by the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (abbreviation NAZK). We are involved only as an information source about receiving official income.

 

- Is it often when the official income does not coincide with declared?

- You have probably heard many times that the NAZK draws up administrative protocols on corruption offenses.

 

- Does the NAZK do this on the basis of information provided by the Tax service?

- We provide, as well as colleagues from the State financial monitoring and law enforcement agencies.

 

- I still don't understand why so-called special “subjects” didn’t pay anything and why they won’t pay now.

- Excuse me, but a civil servant should not have illegal income. The fact that such category was not included is a safeguard against money-laundering. Although, probably there are those who would like to be allowed to take part in the one-time declaration.

 

- If there are assets, during tax amnesty, from which taxes have already been paid, do they also need to be declared? Is it needed to pay certain interest to the state? For example, a person from salary simply set aside a part of the funds and kept them at home.

- Declaration will take a year and it is not necessary to fill in the declaration immediately, it is time to deal with issues that people have. For our part, we have been preparing very carefully for this process for the last two months. We organized a training system for our employees in contact centers, departments that prepare individual tax consultations, as well as in the Taxpayer service centers. Anyone who has questions can get them answered in individual consultation. It’s free and safe.

In addition, we have prepared a detailed presentation that is posted on our website, which systematizes answers to questions that are currently being asked.

Now about the procedure itself. First, it is voluntary. If you do not need it, no one is forcing you to go through it. Secondly, if you decide that you need it, you should count on what amount. The state recognizes amount of 400 thousand UAH as income that you could accumulate, given that information on their receipt to you didn’t get to the state registers. If a person fits into this range, we take it on trust.

That is, you can declare those assets that exceed the statutory norms, if a person has a need to give them official status. Such declaration implies that the state recognizes that these funds can be used legally and we do not ask questions, but under condition that taxes are paid from them. This is not legalization in the sense that we do not pay attention to where a person took or received these assets. Yes, we do not check this during declaration process, but the person actually states that he / she received funds or property legally. That is, you did not steal them, did not receive them as bribes, from prohibited activities, drug trafficking or weapons.

 

- And if a person has savings in the amount of more than 400 thousand UAH but taxes have been paid from them. How to prove it?

- It will be seen from the register. We have register of income of each person kept since 1995. It includes everything: the inheritance and received salary, as well as self-declared. Within an hour in the taxpayer’s E-cabinet you will receive a certificate of each year in which you had income in response to your request. If you do not use such E-cabinet in principle, you can contact the Taxpayer service center and within three days you will also receive such certificate. 

In general, you can find out from us everything that you have told us or that others have told you about, unless you can get information about what we think of you as the State Tax Service, there are some restrictions. Although even that we are changing now. In particular, there is a section “tax risks” in the taxpayer’s E-cabinet. Simply, the taxpayer clicks there and sees what risks we see in his / her activities. If section is empty, we do not see any risks. If there is something there, the taxpayer has a choice: to agree with us and correct it or not to agree, realizing that sooner or later we will meet on this issue. But the taxpayer may not wait for a meeting; instead just provide information that would remove possible questions.

 

- Let’s talk about situations when people have money but they have not paid taxes and they, as law requires, must put them on a bank account. I went to one of the banks to ask how the origin legality of funds would be checked in such cases. Consultant was not ready to talk about the tax amnesty at all, she knew nothing about it. Perhaps you can explain how the origin legality of such assets will be verified? How to prove it?

- First, it will be proved not by a citizen but the state. Principle of innocence is applied here. Declaration is accepted unconditionally if the state apparatus as a whole does not prove that this cannot be done.

Consider a conditional situation. You have amount that exceeds 400 thousand UAH, you want to declare them and then use them freely without worrying that the Tax service will ask you when indirect control methods will be introduced. You bring these funds to the bank, put on the account and submit application to the bank that this is done as a part of the one-time declaration procedure.

After that, the bank sends information to the State Financial Monitoring Service and law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agency does not conduct audit, it only provides information if there is available. That is, if a criminal case is being investigated and a person is a suspected.

The same is with the State Financial Monitoring Service. If they have materials with established facts, they will react accordingly.

 

- If there are no questions about legality, what’s next?

- The bank informs client that the funds are credited as a part of the one-time declaration. It can also issue a paper certificate at the client’s request. This certificate is provided to the State Tax Service.

 

- If person received salary in the “envelopes”, should he / she indicate which company paid that salary?

- No, person is not obliged to disclose the source from which he / she received funds that are to be declared during the tax amnesty. The declaration form itself does not provide for this. In the specified declaration you confirm that you are not a resident of aggressor state, that you are not a person who filed the E-declaration, that you did not receive funds by criminal means and that you realize that if ever proven otherwise, the declaration results will be canceled. Also indicate that you declare where it is placed and, depending on what levy rate you choose. Subsequently you calculate payable tax liability.

 

- Does the declarant independently calculate how much to pay?

- Yes. Tax service has a right to check whether the levy rate is applied correctly. If it is incorrect, we inform citizen so that he / she can correct it. If he / she does not do so, the declaration is canceled. You can return funds if they have already been paid.

That is, it is not a question of additional accruals, they are not provided by the law.

 

- And how often you additionally accrue when it comes to annual declarations that people submit by themselves?

- Not often. When submitting these declarations, there is such a thing as internal audit. That is, checking the correctness of filling. If we see an error, we notify the taxpayer and offer to correct it. Most often there are situations when we find income that a person has not declared. For example, more than a hundred million UAH of income has been identified over the past year, which people received on their own cards as a result of unregistered business activities.

 

- And how do you know that this is from unregistered business activities? For example, I have a daughter-student and I sometimes transfer 200-300 UAH to her card.

- And you have a teleport that you use to travel across the country ...

 

- That is?

- If we see that your card account received funds from Kyiv, Zaporizhia, Lviv, Uzhhorod at the same time during a day, for example, did one person send it all?

 

- Can you disclose any figures for such established additional income?

- The largest amount we have established is 72 million UAH received over 4 years on the individual’s card account.

 

- And how much this person must pay now?

- About 10 million.

 

- What exactly did this person?

- There was online store connected to the card account. And the person wasn’t even registered as entrepreneur.

 

- Is the Tax service’s system technically ready for mass declaration during the amnesty?

- Today, about 7 billion documents are processed in the document management systems of the State Tax Service. Therefore, even if all citizens of Ukraine decide to submit declarations, we will cope with it.

I would like to emphasize once again: such declaration is voluntary, we will not force anyone. Neither the law on the state budget for this year provides for it, nor the draft law on the next budget provides for a line on income from the one-time declaration. This is not about additional revenue. First of all, it is about opportunity that will allow us to start changing system of public relations. Without this, there will be no normal state.

 

- I want to clarify whether I understood you correctly: employers who paid salaries in the “envelopes” should not worry about the tax amnesty?

- They should worry about something else. If they do not stop this practice, sooner or later we will definitely meet.

 

- Danylo Hetmantsev stated that the Cabinet of Ministers develops mechanism which will allow to control citizens’ expenditures. The Minister of Finance also told about it. And how does the Tax service see such mechanism?

- Today, in my opinion, we have very positive experience that is used in the electronic declaration system for civil servants. We simply compare amount of income with expenditures. If they do not match, it is desirable to explain why.

 

- So to date income and expenditures are compared only in cases when it comes to big purchases?

- Yes, nobody says that how many loaves you bought will be counted in the future. We suggest these “loaves” not to cost more than 100 thousand UAH. It is really about the large tangible costs. Not where they are made in the current consumption but where expensive things, real estate, etc. are bought. Here we understand that there is a really large source of undeclared income. Indirect methods will be about this, not about the fact that tomorrow everyone has to report how many thousands the person exceeded own official income. It is irrational to use a lot of time of civil servants to identify violations of several thousand UAH.

 

- Register of declarations – will it be closed or open? National Police believes that closed register will protect citizens from possible mass robberies and what do you think about this?

- Even now we have closed register of individuals’ income. Moreover, there is a principled position of the State Tax Service, we even had to argue with colleagues from the law enforcement agencies in this regard and in the courts to reflect their protocols on administrative offenses that they drew up for us. But we are guided by a direct rule of the Tax Code. It reads as follows: “Taxpayer has a right for information not to be disclosed by the controlling bodies and their officials without the taxpayer’s written consent and confidential information, state, commercial or banking secrets and which became known during the performance of official duties by controlling bodies, excepting cases when this is provided by provided the law”. Today, such information is disclosed exclusively in court.

As follows, register of the one-time declarations will also be closed.

 

- Ministry of Finance of Poland presented a draft law to implement the tax part of reform package of the Polish Deal in summer. One of the innovations is increase in the limit of tax-free citizens’ income. How justified do you think this is? Maybe we should think about reducing taxes, especially now, during the tax amnesty, which allows us to start relationship between the taxpayer and the state from a scratch?

- It would be better if you will ask this question to Danylo Oleksandrovych (Hetmantsev – an author), he is right now dealing with a question of where we will be able to gradually reduce taxes.

 

- If you listen to him, you get an impression that he wants to constantly raise them.

- Sorry but I do not agree with you in this statement. He does not want to raise taxes. Danylo Oleksandrovych is trying to do a little differently. And here we have full understanding with him. When we are accused of being against tax reductions, I answer that it is not, we completely agree, let’s reduce. Just let’s do it honestly. If you want to lower the tax rate, then reduce the planned budget revenues and proportional expenditures or decide who will cover the difference and pay for this “banquet”. It will not work otherwise.

We are often forced to argue about this with the liberalization supporters without responsibility. Let me remind you one situation. Rate of single social contribution was solemnly reduced in 2015. And next year for some reason the minimum wage was raised. Apparently, our wealth has doubled at once. Despite the fact that minimum wage is actually administratively determined minimum income less than which an employee cannot receive and the basis for calculating all taxes. But this was not said at that time. It was only promised that now we will reduce it and everything will start to un-shadow.

So if we reduce the tax rate, we have to reduce income. I assume that there may be un-shadowing in the medium term, the basis may grow. If it will grow – we will increase incomes.

 

- How do Poles manage to reduce?

- How much subsidies does Poland receive from the European Union?

 

- We also constantly receive some subsidies, financial assistance but no one knows where they go.

- Nobody gives us subsidies, they give us loans, which then have to be repaid. This year we are returning astronomical amount, namely more than 10 billion USD. Nobody gives us presents!

Poland, as the EU member, receives non-refundable subsidies. I keep in touch with my Polish colleagues and they have said that the issue of tax reductions that you are talking about has provoked significant discussions with the European Union. Again, it’s about who will cover the difference.

 

- And what do they plan to do?

- Now it is being decided: to reduce expenditures as well or to try to get additional support from the European Union or to borrow. But borrowings must be repaid and paid for. I will note one number. This year, one hundred billion UAH has been put into our state budget to pay interest on loans. This is a price of irresponsible, uncalculated tax reductions.

If we demonstrate the process itself, then in 2007, the costs of debt repayment and servicing, which had to be made from the state budget, amounted to approximately 3.7-3.8% of the tax revenues (this is the Tax service and Customs jointly). And in 2017, the same figure was already about 40%. Now it is approaching 50%. Therefore, we can do anything but our position, as well as position of Danylo Oleksandrovych, is that taxes can and should be reduced and for this we must do what is included in the President’s program – everyone must pay taxes. This is achieved primarily through proper tax administration. We have a very good example with value added tax. Last year, we fundamentally resolved issue of improving efficiency of administration, this year – reduced the rate on intermediate consumption to 14%. How much controversy was there about this? But revenues did not decline.

We leave about 3-4 billion UAH to business as working capital. At the same time, the balance, ie the difference between borrowed funds in the form of revenues and returned in the form of reimbursement, not only does not decrease but even increased slightly.

 

- And what is the current situation with so-called the VAT “scrolls”? It has been a long time since ex Minister of Finance Umanskyi announced that Ukraine has a large-scale scrolling system in which the state is losing billions. How much does the budget lose on scrolls now?

- I can say how much the budget receives from the fact that we have turned scrolls from phenomenon which has become a real threat to fulfillment of the state budget into the one of existing ways of tax evasion. Opportunity itself did not go anywhere but the volume was reduced radically.

Thesis of how much is lost for me as acting Chairman of the State tax Service is what I was able to prove. Experts can count as much as they want. But one thesis I can definitely refute is that scrolls began to grow. This is being blamed on us today.

Look, we have a schedule in years (author shows). For example, let’s take year 2018. Real GDP grew by 3.4%, nominal – by 19%, final consumer spending – by 23% and the VAT – by 24%. That is, all the growth took place within the natural growth of base; this is not the merit of Tax service. And here is what is happening in 2019. It was a catastrophe. The VAT revenues grow more slowly than the growth of final consumer spending. Not that they did not get at the level of the tax base growth, even less than the growing base.

We blocked the growth rate of base by 6 times.

The same is in the first quarter of 2021 – another 49% growth.

 

- Considering schedule, the economic situation is gradually improving.

- Yes, look at the base! (author shows) We add another 49% to this base.

 

- In simple terms, have you brought certain percentage of business out of the shadows?

- We have started to monitor registration of tax invoices more effectively.

 

- What about the VAT refunding?

- 2018 ended with a debt of 6.5 billion UAH. That is, for this amount actually climbed into the pocket of business and still barely pulled out the base. In 2019, the debt amount was 4.3 billion UAH, failed below the base growth. But in 2020, we not only returned everything that the business claimed but also gave in advance as we managed to refund application by the end of year.

 

- How did you manage to do it?

- I'll show you a document. This is a detailed note made by Serhii Verlanov with which he actually decided his fate as Chairman of the State Tax Service. If you remember, last April the state budget revenues were reduced. From the beginning, it was planned that the state budget would receive the VAT in the amount of 96 billion UAH. Then this figure, by the way, at the suggestion of Mr. Umanskyi, was reduced to 77 billion due to the Covid-19.

At the same time, Mr. Serhii Verlanov wrote “We are working here as best we can but according to estimates by the end of April 2020 such a decline will accelerate significantly due to limited financial resources of households”. From VAT and PIT, income tax and other payments, he concludes: “In view of the above specified and taking into account the Law of Ukraine as of 13.04.2020 №553-IX, we consider it urgent to take into account these economic tendencies and factors influencing the state budget revenues in the formation of revised budget schedule starting from April 2020”. Simply put: guys, 77 billion is under the risk.

 

- He secured himself. Covid, crisis…

- The next day he was dismissed. The man actually wrote a resignation letter.

 

- Why?

- Let me show you what finally happened in 2020. As I said when the budget law was adopting and nobody was aware about the Covid, they expected to receive 96 billion and in April they reduced this figure to 77 billion. By the end of year they received 117.7 billion UAH.

 

- Explain in simple words how exactly this was achieved.

- In fact, Verlanov explained everything clearly to the Provisional Commission of Inquiry of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. He said that when he saw the tax risks, he gave them to the law enforcement agencies. We also pass on the identified risks to law enforcement agencies, but in addition we try to use the most of all our own tools to prevent them. As a result, revenues even exceeded the planned figures before Covid.   

 

- Umanskyi not only publicly stated the scroll schemes but also appealed to the law enforcement agencies. Investigation was started by the Security Service and the State Bureau of Investigations. And if you remember the numbers, it was about 40 billion UAH, which the budget allegedly loses – were there compensations according to the investigation results?

- I don’t even know that someone was officially informed about the suspicion of such amounts. I can and have a right to assess the professionalism of those who previously worked in the Tax service but I will not do so in terms of whether their actions were criminal. I will explain why.

Unprofessionalism is not a crime. I can’t say how much there was intent in their actions and how much professional inability to build work differently. We did not have mass layoffs and we worked with the same team but got a completely different result.

Let the rest be investigated by the law enforcement agencies.

 

- Why still there are any results, how do you think?

- It is very difficult. Do you know the difference between us and Mr. Umanskyi? In that we inform about violations by our own signature, we issue decisions by our own signature and we go to the court. Moreover, this year we have gained experience in winning them. That year, the Tax service had almost any won lawsuits when it came to refusal to register tax invoices. Going to court almost guaranteed the taxpayer’s victory.

 

- And now?

- There are examples where courts refused to register tax invoices for 15 and 20 million UAH. Still there are other examples. Here is one of them. Company receives tobacco products for a total amount of 1.6 billion UAH, including 273.6 million UAH of the VAT (author shows infographic). At the same time, a building with an estimated cost of more than 6 million UAH is contributed to the company’s statutory capital and within a month the same building is transferred to another business entity, but the cost increases almost by 47 times. One VAT itself amounted to almost 67 million UAH and for formation of this tax credit the company was trying to use the specified tobacco products. The scroll is classic.

But the court of first instance considers that everything is fine and this tax invoice must be registered. We have now prepared an appeal. But at the same time, unfortunately, they were forced to appeal to the Prosecutor General about inaction of the law enforcement agencies in the investigation of this case.

 

- Did the State Fiscal Service investigate?

- Yes, the SFS. We detected operation in January this year and stopped registration of tax invoice. The SFS has opened criminal proceedings according to our report. But for six months they did nothing and in May the company appealed to the court.

 

- Do you have many similar facts?

- More than a thousand reports of crime signs have been sent by the State Tax Service to the State Fiscal Service over the past year.

 

- How effectively was the investigation ongoing?

- Such facts are almost unknown to me. Therefore, we are forced to appeal to the Prosecutor General and report about the ineffective investigation.

 

- Listen, but it was the former Chairman of the State Fiscal Service who now headed the Bureau of Economic Security ...

- Let’s hope that he will be able to correct his own shortcomings in the work (author smiles).

 

- Now they are discussing whether to hire former tax police officers to the Bureau of Economic Security. You also once worked in the tax police. Do you think it’s worth doing?

- There should be no automatic transition but this situation is somewhat similar to the one-time declaration. Let’s examine each person who will submit documents for participation in competitive selection. There should be independent evaluation, which particularly will take into account results of official activities.

 

- Have budget revenues changed since the Security Service and Defense Council imposed sanctions on individuals and companies associated with smuggling schemes? I understand that this issue is more to the customs, but still.

- Let me remind you that the well-known Odessa case of illegal VAT refunding was based, among other things, on the use of importers.

 

- Is it possible to evaluate economic effect of sanctions? Are there any results?

- Results are there. And today they can be estimated at billions UAH without exaggeration. But if I wore shoulder straps now, I would be very ashamed. If the President is forced to use such tool to combat economic crime, it indicates a very low institutional capacity of the law enforcement system. In fact, about it’s limited counteraction ability in the classic criminal procedure. I am convinced that this must be corrected and will be corrected.

What has been done now gives law enforcement officers time to gather themselves together and start doing their job effectively, exposing those who organize it all. There are few organizers. The first cases of prosecuting organizers of schemes will immediately lead to the fact that everyone else will reduce their activity.

 

- Can you disclose at least one case when the organizers were suspected?

- Unfortunately no. That is a problem.

 

- Security Service is not finalizing its work? Is it their duty to counter smuggling?

- Not theirs, the Security Service has the best results from all law enforcement officers in this question but there are not many employees of the Service and they have to be involved not only in counteraction to economic crimes. Also the SFS. Economic crime is their parish.

 

- That is the SFS should have shown results in four months after the imposition of sanctions?

- If they had shown it earlier, there would have been no need to introduce such tool as sanctions.

 

- Gambling business is legalized in Ukraine. The first casinos opened in May. But recently, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office reported that member of the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries, who was acting head, was convicted of receiving a bribe of 90 thousand dollars. But I wanted to ask not about this scandalous situation but how justified legalization is and what about paying taxes?

- 30 million UAH of the personal income tax and 24 million UAH of the military levy were paid from winnings in the second quarter of 2021 from licensed business.

Remember, once the gambling business was legalized. There were licenses, payment of taxes. It was taken out of the legal plane, in my opinion, under a contrived pretext. There was a fire in the hall of slot machines. And if a fire broke out in a restaurant, would we ban all catering? So I repeat: the reason was contrived, as a result, the whole industry went into the shadows. Gambling legalization that has taken place now has paid off.

 

- Is it necessary to introduce general declaration after the tax amnesty?

- The problem is that it is really impossible to introduce due to the insufficient level of tax culture. A simple example. An individual must notify the Tax service of actual residence place according to current tax legislation for correspondence and correct calculation of taxes. Tell me, do many people do that?

- I do not know.

- No. And this is much easier than to formulate the declaration. So what kind of general declaration can we talk about now?

Although the general declaration is correct. After all, on the one hand, we say that we want to move away from the Soviet heritage, we say that we are a developed society but on the other hand, we are entrusting performance of our duties to someone. Declaration is your responsibility as a citizen! You say: I received such income, I have such property and I pay such taxes from them. This is how they work all over the developed world.

 

- In how many years we will be ready to your opinion?

- According to my estimates, there will be no such way as waking up tomorrow and making a general declaration. But we must gradually move towards it. You can start with a property tax.

- People keep paying it.

- Yes, it is charged by the Tax service. Let’s start with the simplest. Let people who own real estate over 200 square meters submit declarations. And gradually we will lower this threshold and teach people. There are things that can be done in a revolutionary way but there are also things that should be done in evolutionary way. We are on an evolutionary path. It is necessary to be done.