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Kremlin Exempts Duma Deputies Visiting War Zone From Filing Tax Returns

Plenary session of the Russian State Duma.

Members of Russia’s lower house of parliament sent to visit Russian-occupied areas of eastern Ukraine on official business are to be exempted from filing tax returns this year, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported Monday, citing two lawmakers.

The news follows President Vladimir Putin's decision last year to waive a transparency measure requiring government officials to publicly disclose their income tax returns for the duration of Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine. In addition, Vedomosti reported in January that the Kremlin was considering allowing government officials to submit their tax returns anonymously.

Duma deputy Viktor Vodolatsky told Vedomosti that his official trips to the occupied Luhansk region had left him with no time to file his annual income declaration.

“Considering [that] you have to collect documents for the returns, I can’t physically do it,” Vodolatsky said.

Another unnamed Duma lawmaker told Vedomosti that nothing had changed with his finances since 2021 but that he just didn't "have time to fill it out" as he was "busy with other things."

The ruling pro-Kremlin United Russia party said that nine of its State Duma deputies had traveled to the occupied territories on official business in the past year.

At least four lawmakers who visited the occupied regions of Ukraine in the past year said that they had already filed their tax returns.

Of the State Duma's 450 members, 260 had already filed their tax returns last week ahead of the April 1 deadline, according to Deputy Otari Arshba, who is responsible for monitoring State Duma deputies' tax returns.

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