Russian nearly doubled federal tax collection

Aug 13, 1999 02:00 AM

Russia's cash-poor government, trying to boost its budget revenues, has managed to nearly double federal tax collection in the first seven months of 1999, the Tax Ministry said. Tax authorities collected the equivalent of $ 6.27 bn in cash between January and July, up 96.6 % from the same period of 1998, the ministry said.
The collections exceeded the government's goal by 11 %. The revenues collected were for the consolidated budget, which includes both federal and regional tax sources. Improving tax collection has been a top priority for the government, which has been under heavy pressure to increase its income in the wake of last year's financial crisis and pressure from multilateral lenders.

Federal tax collection for the first seven months of the year constituted 7.1 % of gross domestic product, up from 5.8 % of GDP in the same period a year earlier. One economist said the devaluation of the ruble was responsible for the improved tax collection, since it has stimulated some sectors of the economy by making Russian goods more competitive.
"There has been this massive windfall effect from the devaluation and it would be surprising if they hadn't had some success tapping into those revenues," said an economist in Moscow. However, the increase in world oil prices was undoubtedly a major factor as well. Oil is Russia's leading export.
Oil companies were settling only 43 % of their tax payments in cash at the beginning of 1999. That rose to 88 % in July and was believed to have hit 100 % as of Aug. 1. Tax Minister Alexander Pochinok said he expected overall August tax collections to be more than the ministry's target, the equivalent of $ 1.08 bn.

Source: AP
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