MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian authorities are planning to start publishing “black lists” of tax dodgers next year in a move to instill basic financial discipline among Russian citizens and companies.
The relevant proposals will be submitted to the government before April 2013 and will target those who are two months or more overdue with their tax payments, according to a PRIME news agency report.
The Finance Ministry, the Economic Development Ministry and the Federal Tax Service will oversee the release of information online and in the media.
The plan, which has been approved by the resolution posted on the government’s website on Thursday, sparked immediate criticism from some human rights activists and jurists who see the measure as a violation of basic rights, including the right to privacy and protection of personal data.
The authorities defended the measure saying it would be beneficial for taxpayers in good standing and punish only the most flagrant tax dodgers.
“Only those who deliberately evade paying taxes and bankrupt their firms to dodge taxation should be worried [about this measure],” the Federal Tax Service said in a statement.
The service said taxpayers would have enough time to react to a prior warning and avoid being put on the “black list.”
The decision to include a certain individual or a company in the list will be taken only after a court confirms the existence of tax debts.
The Finance Ministry also backed the measure citing experience in the majority of developed countries.
“The publication of lists naming flagrant tax dodgers as well as obedient taxpayers and companies is a common practice in the developed countries,” the ministry said, adding that information about the violation of tax legislation is not considered a breach of privacy under Russian laws.
The number of potential lawsuits prompted by the measure will be minimized as each controversial case could be appealed and resolved before going to court, the ministry said.
The Russian authorities are also planning to develop by the end of 2013 measures aimed at fighting tax evasion through the use of offshore jurisdictions.