Taxing times hit Moscow

The tax office in Moscow is suddenly a little more popular than you'd expect. Business owners are queuing up to submit their papers after a change in tax law, ignoring the authorities' reassurances that there's no rush.

The new law states that owners of private businesses have to re-register their enterprises before the 1st of January at one specific Moscow tax office.

The entrepreneurs are in a rush, queuing long before the tax office’s opening time and standing in the street for hours to submit their papers. A spot at the front of the line is for sale, with some asking for over $100 for it.

Meanwhile, the tax office has issued reports that no fines or sanctions will be imposed on firms if they re-register after the 1st of January. But people, for some reason, do not trust the authorities on this.

Margarita, who is pregnant and who has been standing in the queue for hours under the rain, is one of these people:

“I have two reasons not to trust the authorities,” Margarita explained.

“The first is that my clients have already asked me about the new registration forms, so I can’t do business. And the second reason is that information changes from day to day,” she added.

According to the federal tax office, the “hysteria” has been provoked by the banks, who informed their clients that they would halt operations with their accounts if they didn’t get their firms re-registered by the 1st of January.

The banks are afraid that the federal tax office may prosecute them for dealing with firms who have not re-registered. However, the tax office insists that this is not true. So the whole queuing nightmare may just be stemming from a big misunderstanding.