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The question concerning the undesirability of discrimination arises also in relation to the capacity of the system of charges to play the role of a source of information required for decision making with respect to allocation of resources. In this connection it would be unfeasible to impose different charges for individuals and legal entities, as well as exemption of state structures from payment of charges. It is apparent the costs of paid services are similar in all these cases. The usual argument that in the case of government agencies the payment of charges is just a transfer of funds from one budget to another is not quite valid. After all, there exist various taxes and other charges, which state structures have to pay in spite of the fact that the accumulated amounts are due to the budget. The argument that budgets of respective agencies do not envisage expenditures associated with the payment of charges is not a convincing argument either, since these expenditures may be easily included.

It should be noted that the interest of agencies and institutions, which render services and have the most accurate information on the respective costs, as concerns the provision of such information is underestimated. Therefore, it may be hardly expected that charges would be regularly revised in accordance with changes in respective costs, moreover, it is highly probable that legislators had no correct information of this kind at the time of setting forth the respective rates of charges. Since this information is unavailable to the institute as well, it is meaningless to discuss concrete rates with some exceptions. Before enactment of this article, certain charges were at an extremely low level: amounts of about Rub. 10 can not cover economic costs associated with the payment of charges (these costs include not only direct cash payments). After article 25.3 of the RF Tax Code has been adopted, amounts of Rub. 10 and Rub. 20 were retained only for the cases, where charges are collected for the same service rendered more than once: for instance, the charge for handing out one page of a document if the document usually consists of more than one page. However, there are examples of nonobservance of this rule: in the case of an application for the repeated handing out of copies of court rulings and determinations, copies of other documents handed out by an arbitration court, as well as in the case of an application for the handing out of a copy of a writ of execution (including the copies of the records of judicial proceedings) the payment should be at Rub. 2 per one page of a document, but not less than Rub. 20 (Article 333.21, paragraph 1, subparagraph 13); or 30) for the introduction of amendments in the earlier issued certificate of a vehicle the charge should make Rub. 20 (Article 333.33, paragraph 1, subparagraph 30); for the handing out of a certificate for a registration plate made available the charge should make Rub. 50; 34) for the handing out of the sign of a participant of international traffic the charge should make Rub. 30; 35) for the handing out of the state technical inspection ticket for a vehicle the charge should make Rub. 30 (in the respective subparagraphs of the same article). There may be cited a number of other examples, where the stamp tax is below Rub. 100. However, in these cases it is not taken into account that the costs associated with the payment and collection of a charge include the costs borne by the bank related to the transfer of the respective payment (both in the case such services are paid for or not), the costs borne by the person visiting the bank and filling in payment documents, the costs associated with an additional visit to the institution rendering the respective service, the costs associated with the salary of the employee of the state institution monitoring the payment documents and filing such documents, the salaries of the persons controlling the amounts received by the budget, etc.

Below, there are cited the examples of clear understatement of the amounts of stamp taxes set forth by Article 25 of the RF Tax Code:

1. In a number of articles there was preserved the discrimination of legal entities in comparison with individuals (see, for instance, Article 333.19, paragraphs 3) (the charge for claims concerning property not subject to appraisal and of non-property nature should make Rub. 100 for individuals and Rub.

2000 for legal entities), 6) (the same rates of charges as concerns the challenge of regulatory acts issued by the authorities);

Article 333.21, paragraph 3) (the charge at Rub. 100 and Rub. 2000 collected in the case of the claims concerning invalidation of legal acts, decisions, or actions in arbitration courts);

Article 333.23 paragraphs 1 and 2 (cases considered by the Constitutional Court);

Article 333.30 paragraph 1) (the charge at Rub. 270 and Rub. 720 collected in the case of consideration of application for the registration of computer programs, databases, and topology of integral microcircuits), paragraph 2 (the charge at Rub. 180 and Rub. 360 collected for the inclusion of the information on the registration of respective objects in the Registers of programs, databases, and topology of integral microcircuits), paragraph 5 (the charge at Rub. 180 and 360 for the handing out of registration certificates reflecting the changes made in the Registers);

Article 33321 paragraphs 20 - 22), 24), 26) (registration of a number of actions related to real estate, registration of transfer and limitations of the land titles);

As concerns Articles 333.19, 333.21, and 333.23, this differentiation may be viewed as a benefit for individuals aimed at the creation of incentives to settle disputes via the judiciary system. However, in other cases the costs are associated with the property rights and it is unclear why this differentiation should be retained. Here, the insignificance of the amounts of charges may be seen as the justification in the sense that due to the insignificance of charges the payers feel the discrimination less acutely;

however, the question if these charges cover the costs associated with the registration and handing out of the respective certificates remains. It seems that the only plausible justification in this case is a considerable differentiation of household incomes and the significance of the said charges for certain persons; however, the same may be true for some legal entities.

2. Certain rates of the stamp tax remained at an extremely low level. It should be taken into account that the stamp tax should compensate not only the costs borne by the state authority in relation to the services it provides, but the respective costs borne by the public as well, and direct administrative costs associated with the collection of the tax (for instance, the costs borne by the banks transferring the funds, the costs associated with the confirmation of the fact of the payment and so on). Since these costs hardly make less than Rub. 10 to Rub. 15 per one payment (in the case it is assumed that the salaries of the staff are low), the charges below Rub. 30 (and, perhaps, Rub. 50, especially taking into account the fact that by the time the Article enters into force they would be depreciated by inflation) should be abolished altogether or increased. Moreover, in the case it is planned to increase salaries in the budget sector in the future, the charges would not cover even the costs directly associated with the payment of the stamp tax, what means that the costs would be covered from the taxes paid by other taxpayers and it should be noted that such costs would be related not only to the execution of the actions relevant at law (for which the charge is collected), but other costs associated with the payment thereof, what seems absurd.

Low stamp taxes are set forth in the following articles:

Article 333.19 paragraph 10) (as concerns the repeated handing out of copies of the rulings and applications for the handing out of the copies the payment should be at Rub. 2 per one page of a document, but not less than Rub. 20; by the way, this charge can not cover the expenditures for copying, since at the moment commercial firms charge about Rub. 5 per a copy of one page; certainly these firms derive profit for this, but there should be also taken into account the work of the respective employee and the costs associated with the transfer of the charge);

Article 333.21 paragraph 13), (the same for arbitration courts);

Article 333.28 paragraph 15) (Rub. 10 per a document for the handing out of the documents necessary for the determination and payment of pensions; the price is significantly below the respective costs; in the case these documents are handed out separately by several authorities, it would be more feasible to abolish this charge since the apprehension that citizens would request this service more often in the case of the abolishment of the respective payment is groundless the charge at Rub. hardly prevents this at present; in the case these documents are handed out as one package the payment should be set forth for the package of documents; anyway, this stamp tax should be either abolished or increased.

Article 333.31 paragraph 3) (for examination of precious metals, precious or semiprecious stones and so on carried out by state assay offices in the interests of RF museums the charge should make up to Rub. 25 per unit). It should be noted that the similar actions on the request of law enforcement agencies are carried out for Rub. 120 per unit and in other cases for Rub. 1700 per unit;

Article 333.33 paragraph 30), paragraph 34), and paragraph 35) set forth that for the introduction of amendments in the certificate of a vehicle the charge should make Rub. 20; for the handing out of the sign of a participant of international traffic the charge should make Rub. 30; for the handing out of the state technical inspection ticket for a vehicle the charge should make Rub. 30; for the handing out of certificates confirming the issue of the driver license or the temporary driver license should make Rub.

30.

3. In many cases, the amounts of stamp taxes should depend on the value of the transaction. This measure may be partially justified in the case of legal actions if it is assumed that the hypothesis about the correlation between the complexness of the court proceedings and the price; however, this assumption is apparently wrong with respect to the registration of transactions and notary actions.

Low stamp taxes are set forth in Article 333.24 paragraph 1 subparagraph 4); paragraph 5), paragraph 11), paragraph 19), paragraph 20), and paragraph 22);

Article 333.33 paragraph 19) sets forth the charge for the registration of the title to an enterprise as a property complex;

Article 333.33 paragraphs 27) and 28) sets forth the charge for the right of export or temporary export of cultural values.

Article 333.33 paragraph 44 subparagraph 6 sets forth the charge for the state registration of the issue of securities, which should make 0.2 per cent of the total amount of the issue but be below Rub.

100000 (it should be noted that in this case the progressive nature of the charge was deteriorated in comparison with the draft article, where the upper limit of the charge was set forth at Rub. 10000000).

Article 333.33 paragraph 73) sets forth the charge for the license for the right to carry out banking operations at 0.1 per cent of the authorized capital but below Rub. 40000.

4. Article 333.33 paragraph 27) sets forth the stamp tax on the right to export cultural values, which can make up to 10 per cent of the respective value. As it seems, the article attempts to limit the export;

however, it will result in an increase in the number of attempts of illegal export or export disguised as temporary export (the same article, paragraph 38), sets forth the charge for temporary export at 0.per cent of the respective value). In the cases, where the owners need legal exports it is highly probable that they may resort to corruption. In certain countries the export of certain cultural values is prohibited; the feasibility of such a prohibition may be challenged, but in the case the society wishes to introduce such a prohibition, this rule may be justified, but the charge for the right of export of cultural values seems meaningless.

5. Articles 333.35, 333.36, and 333.38 retain privileges for certain categories of users. The redistribution effect of the stamp tax is negligible, therefore the respective privileges seem unfeasible. However, as concerns poor citizens, they could be granted deferments (in the case of legal expenses) or exemptions; as concerns state institutions, the granting of privileges would be unfeasible.

E. Shkrebela Issues discussed at the meetings held by the Government of the Russian Federation on December 9 and 22 of Among the all issues discussed at the meetings held by the Government of the Russian Federation in December, the most interesting ones were the meetings held on December 9 and 22. At the meeting of the RF Government held on December 9, 2004, A. A. Fursenko, the RF Minister of Education, presented his report on the priority guidelines of the development of the education system in the Russian Federation. At the meeting of the Government of the Russian Federation held on December 22, 2004, there was discussed the report of G. O. Gref, the RF Minster of Economic Development and Trade, which presented the preliminary results of the social and economic development of the RF in 2004 and the medium term program of social and economic development of the Russian Federation for through 2008.

* * * At the meeting of the RF Government held on December 9, 2004, A. A. Fursenko, the RF Minister of Education, presented his report On the priority guidelines of the development of the education system in the Russian Federation, in which he noted the necessity to concretize the key targets of education set forth by the Concept of modernization of the Russian education in the period till year 2010 (hereinafter referred to as the Concept) at the present stage of development of the Russian Federation, i.e. the improvement of the quality of education, its availability, and efficiency.

A section of the report was dedicated to the characterization of the current situation in the sphere of education in the RF.

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