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Russia to Weigh Taxing Individuals on Investments, Deposits

Russia will consider taxing individuals who earn more than 1 million rubles ($32,200) a year from financial holdings to narrow income inequality, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said.

“We could collect tax on additional income from wealthy citizens who have larger bank deposits and more investment income using such a mechanism,” Siluanov told reporters today in Moscow. The ministry is drafting proposals, he said.

Russian politicians have discussed raising levies on the rich in a country where 12.5 percent of the population earn incomes below the subsistence level. Vladimir Putin, campaigning for the presidential election last year, proposed a luxury tax in a speech at a congress of the ruling United Russia party, calling it a duty on “vanity” purchases made at the expense of investment.

Small-time investors should be exempt from taxes on bank deposits, dividends and capital gains up to a certain level to help create a domestic base of long-term money, Siluanov said at a conference organized by the Vedomosti newspaper in Moscow.

The level at which people are considered “large investors” remains to be decided, Siluanov said. The ministry is preparing proposals on taxing income from securities at the same level as bank deposits, he said. Bank deposits are now taxed only if the interest rate is higher than the central bank’s refinancing rate plus 5 percentage points, according to the minister.

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