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The Russian Flat Tax Reform

  • Michael Keen
  • Alexander Klemm
  • Anna Ivanova

Russia dramatically reduced its higher rates of personal income tax (PIT) in 2001 establishing a single marginal rate at the low level of 13 percent. In the following year, real revenue from the PIT actually increased by about 26 percent. This ''flat tax'' experience has attracted much attention (and emulation) among policymakers, making it perhaps the most important tax reform of recent years. But it has been little studied. This paper asks whether the strong revenue performance of the PIT was itself a consequence of this reform, using both macro evidence and, in particular, micro-level data on the experiences of individuals and households affected by the reform to varying degrees. It concludes that there is no evidence of a strong supply side effect of the reform. Compliance, however, did improve quite substantially-by about one third according to our estimates-though it remains unclear whether this was due to the parametric reforms or to accompanying changes in enforcement.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 05/16.

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Length: 47
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/16
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  1. Eduardo Engel & James R. Hines Jr., 1998. "Understanding Tax Evasion Dynamics," Documentos de Trabajo 47, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  2. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1998. "Estimating Labor Supply Responses Using Tax Reforms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 827-862, July.
  3. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  4. Edgar L. Feige & Ivica Urban, 2003. "Estimating the Size and Growth of Unrecorded Economic Activity in Transition Countries: A Re-evaluation of Electric Consumption Method Estimates and their Implications," Macroeconomics 0311010, EconWPA.
  5. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
  6. Roger H. Gordon & Joel Slemrod, 1998. "Are "Real" Responses to Taxes Simply Income Shifting Between Corporate and Personal Tax Bases?," NBER Working Papers 6576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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