More methods of control over finances of citizens introduced in Russia

Publication date: 28 Jul 2020

Russian authorities are constantly introducing new methods of control over finances of citizens in order to keep Russians accountable for tax evasion. No proof of source of funds? Learn about what to prepare for.

Suspicious savings of Russians to be confiscated
The Russian Ministry of Finance is preparing amendments to Articles 46 and 146 of the Budget Code to clarify the list of income categories which are to be credited to the budget of the Russian Pension Fund. For example, not only property without documents confirming that it was acquired with legal income but also funds legal acquisition of which is impossible to prove are to be confiscated in prescribed cases.
In other words, the Ministry of Finance offers to transfer funds of citizens to the Russian Pension Fund in cases when the citizens fail to provide proof of legal acquisition for the funds.
The corresponding draft law was submitted to the government on 28 July 2020. It still remains unknown which authority is to conduct checks on legality of funds acquisition and what is the minimum amount of money to automatically fall under suspicion.

Won, withdrew, go to jail!
The Russian Parliament has introduced amendments to the law on combating money laundering. In particular, the changes will affect withdrawals from accounts in poker rooms.
According to Federal Law No. 115 of 7 August 2001, banks and other financial institutions were able to block “suspicious” poker account-to-card transfers. Such cases were then dealt with by the bank’s security department.
Now banks can freeze incoming transfers when no proof of the source of the funds was provided. If this happens, the bank has to give the client information regarding reasons for the transfer freeze and the appeal procedure. The decision to freeze an account is taken by the head of the bank, but then all information regarding reasons for the decision and suspicions of money laundering is transferred to the Russian Federal Financial Monitoring Service.
Experts suggest a decrease in the number of account blocks. However, the federal law on gambling still prohibits depositing money to accounts in poker rooms. Banks and financial institutions block such transfers and mark them as “for gambling purposes”. Payment systems dealing with these transfers, in their turn, charge a higher commission.

Yandex.Money is no longer money
Sberbank has become the sole owner of the Yandex.Money service.

Strange but true:

  • Do you remember that if you do not use your Yandex Wallet (no payments, withdrawals, or deposits) for two years in a row, you have to pay a fee of 270 rubles a month? The sum is debited until your account balance becomes zero.
  • It is not always easy to withdraw from WebMoney, and the service almost always changes a fee. However, you can withdraw WMZ with e-money (including Yandex.Money) starting at 0%.

Tax officers to have a “magic” button
Starting from summer 2020, all incoming transfers, openings and closures of accounts in both banks and e-wallets can be controlled automatically. Financial institutions now have to provide the Federal Taxation Service with all data on an automatic basis. Previously, tax officers had to send a request in order to obtain the data, but now they have powers to create a database and track any accounts.
Any transfers between “strangers” can be treated as “suspicious”. “Strangers” are people who have never talked to each other on the phone.
How can a bank track your calls? When Sberbank was running tests, information about calls was collected with its application on your smartphone. We wonder where banks can get this data if no application is installed? And how calls can be tracked when a transfer is performed from another device, not a smartphone?
All transfers of more than 100,000 rubles are treated as “suspicious” as well and are checked for any fraudulent activity.

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