Introduction of the personal tax-free allowance in Russia and its budget implications

Vladimir V. Gromov

Abstract


The social problem of poverty can be mitigated by introduction of a personal tax-free allowance. In this paper the likely effects that a personal tax-free allowance will have on the Russian budget is investigated. It has been assumed that a tax-free allowance will hit regional budgets because they depend greatly on income tax revenue. The indicated effects were estimated by applying a personal tax-free allowance to the data on economic conditions in 2019. Rosstat data on population, poverty, wages and gross regional product and Federal Tax Service data on the number of taxpayers and personal income tax revenues were used. For the purpose of the paper, two scenarios were calculated. In the first scenario, a zero personal income tax rate is applied to wages below the minimum cost of living. We found that under this scenario the consolidated budget of Russia loses over 1 trillion rubles while regional tax revenues reduce by more than 10%. In the second scenario, citizens whose income is below the minimum cost of living are exempt from personal income tax. We found that under this scenario regional tax revenues would be reduced by 1-5%. In both cases the introduction of the personal tax-free allowance puts greater pressure on regions that critically depend on the personal income tax receipts. It was concluded that the negative effect of an introduction of a personal tax-free allowance would be greater, the greater the prevalence of low-income taxpayers in a region. Also considerable regional disparities create a risk that such tax reform will deepen regional inequality and be disruptive for the Russian budgetary system. 

For citation

Gromov V.V. Introduction of the personal tax-free allowance in Russia and its budget implications. Journal of Tax Reform. 2021;7(1):20–38. DOI: 10.15826/jtr.2021.7.1.088

 

Article info

Received October 7, 2020; Revised January 10, 2021; Accepted January 29, 2021


Keywords


income tax, progressive scale, tax deduction, tax-free allowance, tax reform

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Copyright (c) 2021 Vladimir V. Gromov

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