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Opened your OWN school or plan to? ...or tutored 1-to-many?
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

coledavis wrote:
No. I'm sorry but I think people come out with this sort of thing as a post hoc rationalisation for what they are doing.


Cole, are you being serious? Have you set up your own school yet? Have you experienced the чиновники coming out of the woodwork to demand not official tax, but basically blackmail you? And threaten you?

The level of corruption is so high here that even if a private teacher wanted to pay taxes on his other income stream, he'd end up with nothing, except a world of pain. Surely you know this already?
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1838

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski - I know what individual tuition is. Honest. And if you are doing a substantial amount of it, i.e. it is very much part of your income, then you should pay tax. Whether or not that tax is well-spent is not our call; the governments of most countries, and that includes most 'native speaker' countries, pay for some awful things to happen, but I don't really think that non-payment of tax is going to have any effect other than to contribute to that country's recession.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1838

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
coledavis wrote:
No. I'm sorry but I think people come out with this sort of thing as a post hoc rationalisation for what they are doing.


Cole, are you being serious? Have you set up your own school yet? Have you experienced the чиновники coming out of the woodwork to demand not official tax, but basically blackmail you? And threaten you?

The level of corruption is so high here that even if a private teacher wanted to pay taxes on his other income stream, he'd end up with nothing, except a world of pain. Surely you know this already?

Hi Sashadroogie -
Yes, I'm serious. Tax is part of living in civilised societies (yes, I know that's a very subjective benchmark).
Yes, I've set up my own school and it is running.
Yes, I do get officials trying to make life difficult because I won't pay them.
No, nobody's threatened me yet, but I have uncovered one conspiracy (no, not paranoia, I have the official letter which proves the move).

But extortion is not the same as registered taxation. What is being argued on this thread, if I have it right, is that for some reason, native speakers shouldn't pay tax if they teach outside of regular employment. That to my mind is tax evasion. Avoiding extortion is a different matter. Isn't it?
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cole, I fully agree with you that taxes should be paid - but under normal circumstances, few of which exist in Russia. Tax is basically extortion here. The money paid will only line corrupt officials' pockets. And some of the taxes are just mad. Pay for a pension fund nobody will be around to collect? And as for paying to get registration? All of these are just nonsense that bring no benefit to Russian society, and Russians themselves are the first to state this. How many Russians do you know who get paid a white salary?

Don't wish to sound alarmist, but if my colleagues' experiences are anything to go on, then expect more pressure to pay up one way or the other...
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1838

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I said, I don't think it is up to us to decide what the Russian government does with the money. We spend it on wars that don't seem to do anybody any good, but for some reason you think paying tax to the Russians is worse. Pensions: sure, hard luck, but I think there would be a similar situation for foreigners paying taxes in the UK/US/Canada; are you saying they should evade tax too? I don't think the Russians decry pensions and other benefits, well no more than anyone else.

Re. the black economy, sure it's booming, but I don't admire that, especially as Russian tax is lower than British tax. But people in reputable companies and schools pay tax.

Thanks for the warning, although I don't see that it will be of much help to me, unless you can suggest some solutions.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see you really have strong feelings on this Cole. But tell me, what should I do when my own Russian employer refuses to pay full tax on my salary? When my landlord refuses to register me for tax reasons? Should I then go to the taxman here and explain all this to him when I try to declare earnings from private students?

The whole system here is so skewed that if you tried to do the right thing, not only would the government cripple you for it, but other people connected to you would suffer too, and cripple you again.

As to what to do about corrupt officials coming for you in the future, short of making some sort of illegal payment I do not know what else you CAN do...
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1838

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I also find that most landlords here dodge their tax (given the low tax, they ought to be ashamed). I am much less happy about your employer dodging it, as it may have an impact on their ability to continue employing teachers. But, as with what the government does or doesn't do with your hard-earned money, it isn't really any of your business.

One mental habit that I have the least time for is this idea that because many other people behave badly, that you should too. It's the road to many iniquities. Have your own moral standards, or if you choose to take a particular course of action, be clear about why you're doing it.

This business of not paying tax because it might get pocketed, wasted or (in the case of pensions) not spent on you, reminds me of something students used to do some decades ago. Because we were mainly left wing in those days and took to heart Proudhon's maxim 'all property is theft', some students used to steal books from shops. Of course it had nothing to do with their desire to get something for nothing..
'
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1838

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re corrupt officials: we've stuck to the practice of not paying them. They sometimes get some posh English tea after a transaction, but that's it. So they don't get in the habit of expecting money.

Ok, we have another strategy in place. One, I have contributed freely to my community for some years, so some people (at least the university English department) know me as a friend. Also, I work with our local education department and have started to do some collaborative work; this gives me some power.

So, yes, I still have some problems, but not as many as if I had just been a 'hardnosed businessman'. Give and take in this world but I emphasise the give bit. (Philosophically speaking, it makes you happier.)
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cole, this notion that it isn't any of our business how governments spend our taxes is fundamentally flawed. This is not money given for the government to do as it pleases. Neither here nor at home. It is especially galling here to be ripped off as we are speaking of a government that does not even really bother to pretend seriously that it is a representative assembly.

Speaking of which, I have had students who worked with Duma officials - all of them told to lie on tax documents so as to get a low 'white' salary. Leading by this example, is it any surprise that the average Russian feels the same as most foreign teachers do about paying taxes?

Also, have you had rapacious tax inspectors demand to see your passport to check that you have been resident in Russia long enough to pay the local rate of 13% only? I have. Every year, without fail, for the last four. Sometimes twice a year. This behaviour is nothing more than a shakedown on the part of the tax authorities. Please, let's not pretend that the same standards at home apply here...
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1838

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taking this in order, Sashadroogie:

No, your idea that countering by non-payment is flawed (in my opinion). If the government of your own country misbehaves, then you vote, campaign and write to the papers. Tax evasion is illegal. Ok, if you have a bone to pick with Russia, then sure, it may have to wait until you've left - but tax evasion is still illegal and immoral, however many other people indulge in it. While you may have a poor opinion of the host government, deciding whether or not to pay taxes is still not a matter of personal fiat.

Here's some news for you. Some civil servants in the United Kingdom are being paid as if they were not in fact public servants in order to save on tax. Not quite the same as your Russian example, but in terms of honesty, not that far away either.

I will be really really pleased when they decide to assess me so that I pay less tax. Bring it on. I think tax authorities differ according to where in Russia you are (as with many other branches of the government). My experience of our local tax authorities in Russia is of relative probity. More so than some of the swine I have to deal with in the UK, actually, and even somewhat faster off the mark. Maybe there are more tax officials here in Russia, perhaps because some people pay their tax!

Of course the standards are different. Let's be frank, there is a lot more corruption in Russia (not news). But I pointed out that (a) our governments behave badly in a rather different way - but still with our tax money - and (b) that it is not all criminality in Russia, which I think you rather exaggerate.

P.S. If you find some errors, I haven't suddenly degenerated into illiteracy, I'm using the computer of somebody with much better eyesight, so difficult to see what is on the screen, which is rather a distance away.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cole, I cannot pay all my taxes, even if I wanted to. That is in the hands of my employer - who has no intention of paying anything more than he has to.

As for assessment, perhaps I phrased things badly. The officials are trying to squeeze over 30% tax from me, claiming that I have not been in Russia long enough to be taxed at the local rate. They know well I have been, as they have photocopies of my visa documents for the last four-odd years. They are trying it on. And guess where that extra tax money would go to were I not capable of defending my interests? Certainly not into the communal coffers.

Sorry, Cole, I know you are a smart fellow, but surely you can't be so naive as to believe that paying tax here is comparable to at home.

As to your literacy, that is as outstanding and upright as your moral rectitude

Very Happy
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Were I to declare taxes on my private earnings, that would cause all sorts of questions - for many concerned parties. How did I earn this money? As a teacher? But there you have no teacher visa! Violation of your visa. Where are the receipts? None? Get and pay accountant! Where do these lessons take place? Your home? No licence for that. There's a whopping fine right there. Violation of environmental laws to. Whose property is it? You are renting? Name and address of landlord, thank you! we'll soon get on to him also. Etc. etc.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1838

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know and sympathise that your employer is not paying your contributions. My criticism is about not paying taxes for which you are responsible. (Analogy: if my fellow Londoners riot it is (probably) not my fault. If I start to egg them on or laud their behaviour, then it is.)

Ah, sorry, I didn't realise that the tax people were manipulating your tax. Sorry, that was naive of me.

"Sorry, Cole, I know you are a smart fellow, but surely you can't be so naive as to believe that paying tax here is comparable to at home."
Come on! I said it was different. But ok, yes, in some areas at least, the corruption is worse than in the west. (Again, however, I'm not sure it is like this everywhere. My town is very slow and old-fashioned but I haven't seen much corruption as yet.)

Thanks for your kind remarks. However, I think we should stop. A) I think we've resolved as much as can be resolved and (b) it is becoming rather political (not good from a forum or a host country perspective).
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1838

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Were I to declare taxes on my private earnings, that would cause all sorts of questions - for many concerned parties. How did I earn this money? As a teacher? But there you have no teacher visa! Violation of your visa. Where are the receipts? None? Get and pay accountant! Where do these lessons take place? Your home? No licence for that. There's a whopping fine right there. Violation of environmental laws to. Whose property is it? You are renting? Name and address of landlord, thank you! we'll soon get on to him also. Etc. etc.


So if you haven't got a teacher visa, Sashadroogie, then what is going on? Sure, your employer isn't going to pay tax. He is what they call in the Indian novels a badmash.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teacher visas are only issued to companies having education licences. To qualify as an educational establishment, God knows what hoops have to be jumped, or palms greased. I'd imagine you'd know more about this than most. Most smaller schools are not officially schools at all for this reason, and so normal work visas are the only other option. Teachers are not officially teachers though. 'Consultant' is the favoured term in its stead.

Badmash as my employer is, there is not much one can do about it. The school would in all certainty shut down were all the required payments made. Have you not noticed this almost desired side-effect of over-taxation at work here?
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