Years of campaigning by CAF Russia and other organisations have succeeded in persuading the Russian government to announce changes to tax laws “which have the potential to revolutionise charitable giving in Russia” and should make it easier to operate a charity there.
Significantly individual Russian taxpayers will be able for the first time to claim income tax relief on charitable donations. This relief is similar to that in the US where the taxpayer declares donations given over the year and then up to 25% of total annual income tax is returned to the taxpayer.
Charities in Russia will also benefit from the removal of the need to pay profit tax on services they receive pro bono. The changes mean that the costs of running a charity will be reduced, and they should reduce the risk of charities inadvertently falling foul of tax laws.
Most of the changes will come into foce in 2012.
CAF Russia Director, Maria Chertok said: “This announcement signals a very significant change in the Government’s attitude towards the role that charities play in society. These changes are a giant step in the right direction towards building a culture of giving in Russia.”
That said, according to the World Giving Index 2012, only 6% of Russian people donated money to charity in the last month.
Chertok acknowledges this, saying: “There is still a lot of work to be done to create a supportive environment for giving but charities should be inspired by the new laws which will take away some of the administrative and taxation frustration involved in running a charity.”
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