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Table Ministry (department) Number of transferred educa- Decree of the RF Government tional institutions Rosobrazovaniye 2536 PVL and 191 SVL Decree No. 1565-r of 03.12.Rosenergo 10 SVL Decree No. 1168-r of 15.12.Rossport 3 SVL Decree No. 1765-r of 31.12.Rosselkhoz 57 SVL Decree No. 1768-r of 31.12.Ministry of Health and Social 2 SVL Decree No. 1763-r of 31.12.Development of Russia Ministry of Economic Develop- 8 SVL Decree is in the RF Government Ofment and Trade of Russia fice Rosstroi 23 SVL Decree No. 1770-r of 31.12.RF Ministry of Natural Re- 3 PVL Decree No. 1364-r of 31.12.sources Total: 2833 educational institutions, including 2539 PVL and SVL Source: according to the data of the Ministry of Education and Science of the RF.

It should be noted that transferring of educational institutions to competence of regions is being conducted for more than one year. Since 1993, on the initiative of a number of RF Subjects transferring of PVL was started to their competence, while in 1997, the four RF Subjects Saint Petersburg, Nizhni-Novgorod, Novgorod and Samara oblasts on their initiative entered a regional vocational school into their balance sheets. Over that period, the occupational list was renewed by one third in those regions, councils for personnel policy were established, PVL jobless figures considerably reduced, and directors of vocational schools received the second higher education in the field of social management.

In our opinion, most efficient solving of those tasks is possible through development of regional programs for the support of functioning of vocational schools and lycees, technical schools and colleges. Such programs have already been developed and are efficiently implemented in Samara oblast, Yaroslavl oblast, and in Moscow. In its turn, the regional programs must be complemented and detailed by development programs of a concrete educational institution.

In many regions positive trends are marked associated with functioning of educational institutions that are transferred to competence of regions. Thus, in Murmansk oblast the amounts of financing (from the oblast budget) of the institutions of primary vocational level increased by 27% in comparison with that from federal budget. Wages and salaries of pedagogical staffers are increased by 20%.

Since April 1, 2005, the scholarships of students are planned to be increased by Rb 100. In Yaroslavl oblast financing the vocational schools and lycees rose by 25% in comparison with financing from the federal budget. The scholarship of Rb 140 is retained for students of educational institutions, orphans have the right for free passage in transport, expenses for meals are increased to Rb 15 per day for one student (on average, Rb 9 in Russia). In the second quarter of 2005 it is planned to increase the wages and salaries of pedagogical staffers by 20%.

According to Decree No. 1565-r of the RF Government of 03.12.2004 the educational government agencies of the RF subjects in combination with the territorial bodies of Rosimushchestvo, regional committees for administering the government property and the heads of transferred educational institutions are completing, and in a number of regions have already completed, the work on formalizing free transferring of federal property (including the land sites being in constant unlimited use) to competence (government ownership) of the RF Subjects and its excluding from the federal property register.

It should be said that in some regions transferring of educational institutions and opening of funding were associated with a number of difficulties primarily concerned with absence of necessary resources in regional budgets.

Financial security of the delegated powers is carried out not through increase of direct budgetary financing of regions, but by means of reducing taxation of a RF Subject and redistribution of tax revenues amounted to Rb 24.8 bn, accounted in full volume by the Ministry of Finance of Russia in computation of the expenditure base of regional budgets for 2005. In parallel with that, indexation of wages and salaries (by 20%) and the material costs (by 8%) is accounted in the same volume as for federal institutions. As concerns a number of intensively donated regions, the problem of current shortage of own funds may arise. It is provided that financial assistance from the federal budget (Rb bn) will be given via the reserve fund, which means will be distributed by regions according to the results of quarterly budget execution.

Because of adoption of federal laws No. 95-FZ of 04.07.2003 and No. 131-FZ of 06.10.2003, the rights of local governments and the RF Subjects were considerably broadened concerning not only setting of wage and salary level but also establishment of labor pay conditions. Regions and territories got a chance to independently choose the system of labor payment in institutions falling within their purview and establish the procedures of their application.

Presently, in compliance with RF Federal law No. 119-FZ of July 7, 2003, On introducing changes in the Russian Federation law On minimal size of labor payment the size of scholarships established for learners and students of the federal government institutions of primary and secondary vocational education is Rb 140 (for orphans Rb 210). In 2004, to render assistance to indigent students of the federal government institutions of the secondary vocational education the social constituent of the scholarship fund was increased from 5 to 25 %.

Thus, transferring institutions of primary and secondary vocational level to competence of a region allows to ensure:

- development of social partnership and establishment of close links of educational institutions with employers concerning determination of the volumes and structure of regular labor force, and also training, retraining and advanced training of the staff from the youth receiving for the first time vocational education, and the grown-up and unoccupied population;

- raising the quality of training by means of transition of educational institutions from multi-field to one-field training under direct contracts with enterprises, and also operational administration of educational institutions in reducing the terms of budgetary funds transferring;

- improvement of the normative-legal and methodological support of functioning of educational institutions at the regional level.

I. Rozhdestvenskaya Tax Amnesty Prospects in Russia Preconditions of Legalization of Capital The issue of tax amnesty in the Russian Federation has not been considered since the second half of the 1990, when the issue of how to increase tax revenues in the budget system and cope with economic depression was attempted to resolve by restructuring taxes in arrears and treating violators of the tax law with forbearance. Indeed, some measures of restructuring taxes in arrears were implemented but rendered inefficient. So, over the last 5 - 6 years the Russian fiscal policy has been focused on improving the legislation of taxes and dues in order to improve its efficiency and comply as much as possible with the best foreign analogues. In general, it is safe to say that the tax reform has resulted in improved efficiency of the Russian fiscal system.

However, investment environment in the Russian Federation has been improving very slowly in spite of a certain progress made in the field of tax regulation. The recent notorious legal actions that have been brought against various taxpayers have shown that in spite of an ongoing improvement of the RF tax legislation, the pre-reform and contradictory regulatory and legal framework allows the majority of taxpayers, who somehow attempted to reduce their tax liabilities without direct violation of the law, to be made accountable for tax violations by using ambiguous interpretation of the law. In addition, Russia provides low attraction for investments due to the lack of adequate protection of ownership rights and investors, poor professionalism of law enforcement agencies and the judicial system at large. As a result, over the last few years the amount of capital outflow has been reduced insignificantly and economic agents prefer not to disclose information on their income in Russia, which in turn leads to insufficient private investments and dying economic growth rates which have not caught up with the innovation growth level yet.

In order to cope with the above listed trends, the RF President proposed to the RF Government at his annual speech at the Federal Assembly to develop a draft law that could provide for a simplified income declaration subject to the two conditions: payment of 13% income tax and depositing this income with Russian credit organizations.

It should be noted, however, that this provision is of general character and its implementation in a literal sense will neither provide any radical improvement to the legislation on taxes and dues, nor any serious changes in investment incentives on the territory of Russia.

The existing RF tax legislation already provides for mechanisms of income declaration for the purpose of taxation of income generated in the previous periods. Under the applicable RF tax legislation, a physical body, in declaring his/her income, actually specifies his/her tax return over a specific period, and such actions are subject to the regulation provided for by Article 81 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation. The practice of exempting taxpayers from fiscal liability where they personally disclose and correct their inaccuracies is not a novelty for the tax legislation. The Russian Federation Tax Code specifies no details on the form of corrected tax return. The Russian Federation Tax Code provides no proviso on a government body that is supposed to approve such form. The taxpayer may therefore submit his/ her corrected tax return in any form. Tax inspection shall be obliged to accept this tax return even though it is not completed in accordance with the provisions of the regulation relating to completion of tax returns. According to Article 81, the taxpayer must pay the amount of tax arrears and corresponding penalties, according to Articles 57 and 75 of the Russian Federation Tax Code, prior to submission of a statement relating to correction of the tax return for the preceding year.

Such consequences will occur provided that the tax return is submitted for the last three calendar years preceding the current year.

The RF tax legislation provides no mechanism whatsoever for accepting corrected declarations for longer periods. It is safe to say, however, that according to Article 80 of the Russian Federation Tax Code, tax authorities are not entitled to reject any tax return for any period. There is no, however, mechanism of calculation of penalties for tax arrears for a period of more than three calendar years.

Hence, if the taxpayer determines his/her income, makes relevant adjustments, pays the amount in arrears and penalties due, he/she would be able to avoid fiscal sanctions in accordance with Articles and 114 of the Russian Federation Tax Code.

It should noted, however, that in spite of the existing option of income declaration, the overwhelming majority of physical bodies shall not be liable for payment of personal income tax in declaring their income, since this tax shall be paid at source according to the RF Tax Code, i.e. it is withheld by an entity which has made payments to the taxpayer ( fiscal agent ). At the same time, the fiscal agent shall charge and pay the amount of the single social tax to the budget. It is public servants that generally declare their income, which is also an indispensable condition for being entitled to a series of tax deductions. The applicable RF tax legislation, however, can be interpreted in such a way that if the taxpayer did not declare his/her income in the pervious periods, his/her statement of generated income which was not declared for taxation in the previous periods, can be treated as adjustment to the tax return.

Hence, if the taxpayer physical body provides tax authorities with information on his/her income in the previous periods and the name of income source, and the tax authorities have reasonable suspicions of the fact that an entity has not exercised its fiscal agent functions in relation to this taxpayer, the tax authorities may perform tax audit for the corresponding period and impose legal sanctions on the entity that has not exercised its fiscal agent functions.

Consequently, it is safe to say that at present the taxpayer bears no responsibility whatsoever for the actions of fiscal agent in submitting his/her tax return. With regard to fiscal sanctions, these can be imposed provided that the taxpayer has revealed in his/her the corrected tax return the source of income which still operates at the date of submission of the corrected tax return, and a tax audit has been conducted in order to confirm a violation in question. In the end, it is safe to say that the lack of a detailed procedure relating to submission of the corrected personal income tax return in the RF Tax Code is one of a few drawbacks of the applicable RF tax legislation. It would be logical in the framework of tax amnesty to include exemption from liability for non-execution of fiscal agent obligations in relation to the personal income tax, as well as non-payment of the single social tax by the entities indicated by the taxpayer as a source of income, ( in relation to actions performed within the period of time specified by the law on amnesty ). Such decision, however, may not be desirable and should relay upon a through analysis of potential effects.

Options of Legalization of Capital Speaking about other potential options of the amnesty, one can assume that the mission set by the RF President to the RF Government may involve borrowing funds of the general public which previously were transferred to other countries and now could be used for domestic investment. It is not clear though, whether it is assumed that these funds were transferred illegally. In any case, investments from other countries, i.e. purchase of shares, participation in authorized capital of Russian enterprises, capital investments, etc. are currently related only to payment of VAT, customs duties and excises rather than payment of any direct taxes. Moreover, the proposal of the RF President on that investments in Russia should be subject to 13% tax on committed facilities as well as payout from accounts with Russian banks, represents the measure which provides no attraction for investors to invest in this country.

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