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No Unified Rules on Deputies' Income Declarations

The rules for income and asset declarations are different for elected officials and election candidates, resulting in a divergence between the two declarations for some officials, the Federal Tax Service said in a letter published by anticorruption organization Transparency International.

Transparency International wrote a letter to the tax service inquiring as to why the income and asset declarations of State Duma deputies published in May differed from those of the same deputies filed in November with the Central Elections Commission. The divergence of income for 16 deputies was more than 1 million rubles ($33,000), the anticorruption watchdog said in a press release.

The difference can be explained by the fact that the two bodies—the Federal Tax Service and the Central Elections Commission—possess different rules for what needs to be declared, the tax service said in a response to Transparency International posted online. For example, in some cases income from transactions with stocks should be declared as the actual earnings, while in others it should be stated as net profit, the tax service said in its letter.

The lack of a unified system for declaring income makes the system of verifying such declarations ineffective, said Ivan Ninenko, deputy director of the Russia office of Transparency International.

"The answer from the Federal Tax Service confirms that the system of declaring income and assets in Russia does not actually work. There are only framework laws that do not make it possible to de facto monitor public officials," Ninenko said a press release.

"It ends up that the laws do not prevent officials from filling out declarations as they see fit, and monitoring bodies to verify them as they see fit," Ninenko said.

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