Forbes 24 Sept 2013
In the United States, we’re all familiar with the so-called “marriage penalty” – but what about the divorce tax?
Russia is considering upping the tax on splitting up to 30,000 rubles ($941 US) from the current rate of 400 rubles ($13 US). The increase of nearly 7500% has two goals: raising revenue and discouraging divorce.
The tax increase could put more than 19 billion rubles ($595 million US) back into the Russian treasury each year. That would help plug holes in the budget as concerns about Russia’s deficit continue to mount: current projections indicate that the country’s deficit will clock in at 650 billion rubles ($20.4 billion US) in 2014. The revenue raised from boosting the divorce tax would cover about 4% of the lag. Since spending is already set for 2014 and 2015 (that’s right: Russia has an actual budget on paper and we don’t), the deficit will continue to grow if there isn’t offsetting revenue – the trick, then, is to find more money.
In addition to raising revenue, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has another consideration: growing conservative values. Making divorce more difficult, Medvedev reasons, makes it less likely that Russians will rush into marriage without thinking about it a little more beforehand. It may well work: the proposed tax would be more than the average monthly salary in Russia.
It’s all part of the rush to morality for the country over the past few months, including a ban on homosexual “propaganda” authored by Yelena Mizulina, the head of the Committee on Family, Women and Children in the Russian Parliament. Mizulina is also at the forefront of the divorce tax, meant to stifle Russia’s “moral and demographic decline.” Mizulina’s colleague, Olga Batalina, made it clear that “a family is a marriage between a man and a woman with children, preferably at least three.”