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Putin Green-lights Russian Digital Ruble Tax Law

Source: chase4concept/Adobe

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed off on a law that will see the digital ruble incorporated into the nation’s tax code.

Per Telesputnik, the new law sees terms like “digital ruble” and “digital ruble wallet” added to the code.

The law also allows bailiffs and other court-appointed individuals to “recover” CBDC funds from wallets “in the event that taxpayers do not have enough [fiat] in their bank accounts.”

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Furthermore, the law allows tax authorities to suspend transactions on digital ruble wallets.

Tax officials can also ask “platform operators” to “provide documents confirming the fact that funds have been written off from the taxpayer’s account.”

Additionally, the law allows tax officers to transfer confiscated coins to the Russian Treasury.

The legislation is the second major CBD-related law to pass in 2023, as the nation eyes a fast-tracked rollout.

The country’s Ministry of Finance has previously said that “all Russians” will have the chance to use digital RUB wallets to make payments in 2024.

The Central Bank appears to have contradicted the ministry, however. Bank officials recently stated that a national rollout will not take place “before 2025.”

Other key clauses included in the new law:

The law outlines the Central Bank’s obligations as the “operator of the digital ruble platform” and includes liability procedures should the bank fail to honor these
A set of rules for the taxation of transactions with digital rubles, including VAT exemption for those opening and holding accounts
Rules about the transfer of CBDC funds

Russia Edges Closer to Digital Ruble Rollout

With US and EU sanctions still targeting the Russian economy, Moscow is keen to use its CBDC as a tool in international trade.

Ministers think the coin will “play an important role in international trade.”

Government spokespeople say the coin will help domestic firms “reduce costs and risks in foreign trade.”

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Russia’s Deputy Minister of Finance Alexey Moiseev indicated that Moscow wants to start doing business in its CBDC as soon as possible.

Cross-border CBDC Ambitions

Moiseev made a presentation named “The digital ruble as a tool of foreign trade in the EAEU” at a customs-related forum this month.

The EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) is a five-member economic bloc of former Soviet states including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.

Belarus and Kazakhstan are also fast-tracking their own CBDC projects. Both have made mention of “cross-border trading functions.”

The Eurasian Economic Union member states. (Source: Maximilian Dörrbecker [CC BY-SA 2.5])Russia has also indicated that it is keen to do CBDC business with China, although Beijing has not yet made clear its own intentions on this matter.

However, Beijing has recently floated the idea of using its digital fiat to do business with Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partners and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states.

The Central Bank is currently piloting the digital ruble in 11 Russian cities with 13 partner commercial banks.

A group of 16 banks, including the megabank Sber, will join the trial next year.

The finance ministry is hoping to use the coin to pay government subsidies and make welfare payments in 2024.

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