A total of 2.6 million Russian enterprises are registered as taxable. According to the State Tax Inspectorate, however, one-third of these (880,000) paid no federal taxes at all last year. An additional 1.7 million paid irregularly and not in full. Only 436,000 (16.5 percent) enterprises were classified as "conscientious taxpayers." (Trud, December 18) Lax tax collection procedures have encouraged this state of affairs but so too has the shortage of cash rubles plaguing all branches of the Russian economy. Some enterprises have been reduced to paying not only workers’ wages, but also taxes, in kind. (The gas giant, Gazprom, is rumored to pay as much as 80 percent of its taxes in gas.) Last month, First Deputy Premier Vladimir Potanin announced that the government would henceforth accept tax payments only in the form of real money. (Itar-Tass, December 11) This will not make life any easier for Russia’s cash-strapped enterprises.
New Ruble-Dollar Band in Operation.