Putin signs law on offshore assets amnesty

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law, on 8 June 2015, allowing Russians to voluntarily declare foreign assets and bank deposits to avoid criminal, administrative and tax liability.

Under the law, as published on the government website, Russian citizens are required to submit a special declaration revealing the assets to the tax authorities. The information in the declaration will be protected by confidentiality and may not be used either for assessments or criminal investigations.

The declaration can be submitted from 1 July to 31 December 2015. Amnesty will be granted providing that the violation relating to the declared property was committed before 1 January 2015.

The law on capital amnesty was approved by Putin on 25 March. It aims to “create the legal basis for returning to our economy assets hidden in the shadows,” said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the time. Assets do not necessarily have to be repatriated, but will have to be reregistered in countries that are not classified as tax havens.

The delay in signing was due to disagreements within the government on the scope of the measure, according to Russian media, with the final agreement granting amnesty for evading taxes and customs duties but not for money laundering or corruption.

Capital outflows from Russia tripled in 2014 to $151.5 billion, the highest amount ever recorded. A further $32.6 billion left the country in the first quarter, according to Russia’s central bank.

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