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Khodorkovsky Backs Luxury Tax, Says Flat Tax Scale Must Be Scrapped
Interfax - 4.16.12 - JRL 2012-71

MOSCOW. April 16 (Interfax) - Ex-head of the defunct oil company Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky said, "the size of the tax on luxury goods and on a sizeable inherited property worth over 30 million could reach 40% in Russia.

File Photo of Mikhail Khodorkovsky Behind Glass Barrier
file photo
"A special tax should be set on luxury, super wealth - yachts private planes etc, and on a large inherited property, standing at up to 40% of value. The mechanism of blocking transfer of such inheritance under offshore arrangements, is simple," Khodorkovsky, who is serving a term at a prison in Karelia, said in a public lecture, published by the Novaya Gazeta on Monday.

Khodorkovsky explained that an inheritance should be qualified as large, if "its worth is several times greater than that of the property owned by middle-class citizens in the West." "Thirty million rubles in excess of the value of the sole residence in private ownership, could be qualified as such," he said.

Generally, said Khodorkovsky, instead of the current flat scale, a differentiated approach should be applied to personal income, and the number of taxpayers who come under the 15%-20% income tax, should be increased to the maximum, he said.

"As consistent advocates of competition, demonopolization and a broad and free choice, and as opponents of excessive administrative compulsion, the liberals naturally see the tax policy as one of the most essential instruments of attaining these targets, as well as the goals of promoting the development of civil society and local government, encouraging the quality of economic growth, and giving citizens broader opportunities for self-development and entrepreneurship in the broad sense of the world," Khodorkovsky said.

"The tax policy, as the liberals see it, must serve to solve these problems. Their solution, not the fiscal agency's comfort while fulfilling the budget tasks, is the priority," he said.

On the present-day tax systems,. Khodorkovsky said that, "it is cumbersome, requires an unreasonably large workforce and does not encourage entrepreneurship."

"The tax policy looks as if its authors have set themselves the task of creating the best environment for corrupt government executives, and putting pressure on businesses by manipulating the ambiguity of the Tax Code. One has the feeling that the tax policy aims to suppress regional initiatives instead of stimulating them, to say nothing of municipal entities," he said.

Keywords: Russia, YUKOS, Khodorkovsky - Russia, Government, Politics - Russia, Economy -