Demythologizing the Russian Flat Tax

Research Report

Demythologizing the Russian Flat Tax

Abstract

On January 1, 2001, Russia introduced what has frequently been called a "flat tax." In this report, we examine the limited research and information available on the effects of Russias personal income tax reform and reach five principal conclusions: The change in the personal income tax was not a stand-alone reform and the personal income tax component of the reform package bears little resemblance to a Hall-Rabushka flat tax; economic growth had begun well before the reforms and microeconomic data suggest that the tax rate reductions had little if any effect on labor supply; and it is likely that the significant increase in compliance following the 2001 reform is attributable to changes in the administration and enforcement of tax laws.

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