Inspired by Belarusian efforts, Russia's Labor Ministry considers introducing a tax on ‘parasitism’
Russia's Labor Ministry is considering the possibility of taxing able-bodied, but officially unemployed persons, says Deputy Minister for Labor Andrei Pudov. A similar tax against “parasitism” was introduced a year ago in Belarus.
The motivation for such a tax is not to eradicate laziness, but rather to “legalize” Russia's labor market, officials say. Unofficial work and receiving salaries “under the table” is common in Russia. The tax would serve as an incentive for people to seek legal work contracts. At the same time, the tax would also help fill the hole in the state budget made by the off-the-books salaries that go untaxed.
“Our Belarusian colleagues can share their experience. They have made major innovations. They introduced the so-called ‘tax on people of working age’ on those who do not make insurance contributions and are unemployed. [The Belarusians] took this important step. While we are still discussing the issue, they've already made the decision,” Pudov said.
Russia has repeatedly raised the idea of introducing laws against parasitism.
In April 2015, Belarusian lawmakers introduced a tax on people who had no official work place and did not pay any taxes. The tax is a percentage of what the authorities calculate to be a subsistence income. Seniors, minors, the disabled, and several other special categories are exempt from the tax.
A law against “parasitism” was enforced in the Soviet Union from 1961 to 1991. “An able-bodied person subsisting long-term on an unearned income and evading socially useful work” could face a two-year prison term or one year of forced labor.