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26 May, 2020 11:54

Is it OK to dodge tax? As Covid-19 hurts wages, more Russians say ‘yes’!

Is it OK to dodge tax? As Covid-19 hurts wages, more Russians say ‘yes’!

Almost half of surveyed Russians consider tax evasion acceptable in a crisis. According to a new study, 45 percent think not paying tax is defensible, which is up from 35 percent before Covid-19.

In a study called ‘Taxes through the eyes of Russians’, conducted by the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) think tank and obtained by the RBK Daily newspaper, it was revealed that attitudes towards taxation have changed during the coronavirus crisis. When asked their opinion of individuals evading tax, 45 percent of those surveyed said it is sometimes acceptable not to pay. This is in stark contrast to a similar study, undertaken in December 2019, when more than half of the respondents (54 percent) said taxes are mandatory and non-payment is unjustifiable.

CSR analysts believe this change in attitude directly correlates with the pandemic-related fall in incomes. When surveyed, more than 60 percent of Russians reported a decrease in revenue in May compared to February. Furthermore, over half of those asked (53 percent) believe there is a high risk of lowered wages in the future, with two-thirds worrying they will not have enough money to resume their former way of life.

Earlier this month, Moscow’s Higher School of Economics reported that incomes had dropped over 20 percent in the second quarter of 2020, compared with 2019. Aleksandra Suslina, the head of fiscal policy at the Economic Expert Group, told RBK Daily that more Russians are accepting of tax evasion, owing to a “decrease in income and the desire of the population to survive at all costs.”

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