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Personalized License Plates to Boost Budget

The letters ‘MP’ are frequently assigned to parliament members, while wealthy citizens can buy ‘CCC’ or ‘XXX.’ Igor Tabakov

Personalized license plates are to be taken off the "grey" market and placed under the scope of the taxman, according to legislation drawn up by the State Duma, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

Deputies are keen to get rid of the current system that sees tens of thousands of dollars being paid for license plates with amusing combinations of numbers and letters, referred to as "beautiful numbers" by Russians.

At present, a mere 1,500 rubles ($46.8) on each sale finds its way to the budget, but the draft law will set a flat rate of 150,000 rubles on all such sales, all of which will go to the state, the report said.

In Britain personalized license plates are sold at auction, an approach that has seen £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) go to the budget since 1989. In America, car owners place orders at local government offices, and can include pictures in their designs.

The Federal Transportation Inspection Service, who under the new legislation will be responsible for the sale of personalized plates, warned that the bill may not be implemented, because it contradicts the approach agreed by the cabinet in 2010, when then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed that prices be decided at auction.

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