Sunday, December 4, 2022

Ukrainians declare assets worth $9.25 million in tax amnesty

by Dylan CarterDecember 3, 2021 11:50 pm
As of Dec. 3, Ukrainians have voluntarily declared assets worth $9.25 million under the ongoing tax amnesty, according to the head of the parliamentary finance and tax committee Danylo Hetmantsev. (Courtesy)

Danylo Hetmantsev, the head of the parliament's finance and tax committee, wrote on Dec. 3 that Ukrainians have voluntarily declared assets worth $9.25 million (Hr 250 million) under the ongoing tax amnesty.

The state budget received $385,000 (Hr 10.4 million) from this sum, according to Hetmantsev. The lawmaker, who represents the ruling 243-member Servant of the People faction, added that in the past 12 days there was a 20% increase in the number of assets declared under the amnesty.

First launched on Sept. 1, the tax amnesty allows Ukrainians to declare previously hidden assets. In exchange, the Ukrainian government doesn't prosecute citizens for tax evasion, offering a preferential tax rate on declared assets.

For declaring their assets, Ukrainians pay a one-time 5% fee on assets held in Ukrainian bank accounts, 9% for those held abroad, and 2.5% of the value of government bonds that they hold. 

Declaring less than $14,800 (Hr 400,000) can be done tax-free.

The tax amnesty ends on Sept. 1, 2022.

A 2020 study of Ukraine's economy, conducted by Ernst & Young and Mastercard, found that the country's cash-based shadow economy is worth $31 billion (Hr 846 billion), roughly 20% of Ukraine’s GDP.

The Ministry of Economy now estimates that nearly a third of Ukraine’s economy operates independently of Ukrainian tax legislation. 

Now, the government intends to crack down on the shadow economy. On Sept. 20, then-Economy Minister Oleksiy Lyubchenko said that the “de-shadowing of the economy” was an urgent issue and integral to Ukraine’s economic transformation.  

Yet not all Ukrainians enjoy the tax amnesty.

Those who worked in civil service after 2005 or other politically exposed positions are denied amnesty. However, the program allows relatives of former civil servants to use the tax amnesty, providing an opportunity for former civil servants to circumvent these restrictions.

Most Ukrainian oligarchs, such as Rinat Akhmetov, Viktor Pinchuk, Kostyantyn Zhevago, and Ihor Kolomoisky - worked in civil service in the past, which excludes them from the amnesty.

The amnesty program has been criticized by the International Monetary Fund. According to U.S. financial publication Bloomberg, the IMF is concerned that the program wouldn’t hamper revenue collection and would create an incentive to receive money in cash and later legalize them by using the smaller tax rate.

In 2020, the Ukrainian government raised $44 billion (Hr 1.2 trillion) in taxes towards the state budget. 

Dylan Carter
Dylan Carter
Business reporter

Dylan Carter is a staff writer at the Kyiv Independent. He studied modern languages at the University College of London and Paris Sorbonne IV. He worked as an assistant lecturer at the Kyiv School of Economics and at Ukrinform before joining the Kyiv Post in June 2021.

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