Local Taxes and Charges

Local Taxes and Charges


taxes and charges included in the revenues of local bodies of state authority and state administration. In the USSR the ukase On Local Taxes and Charges, approved by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on Apr. 10, 1942, and subsequent changes and supplements established the following local taxes and charges: the building tax, land rent, charges to owners of means of transport, and a one-time charge at kolkhoz markets. A recreation-resort charge has also been established in certain localities. Local taxes and charges are part of the revenues of city, settlement, and rural Soviets.

Buildings owned by cooperative enterprises and organizations and by individual citizens are subject to the building tax; state enterprises, institutions, and organizations do not pay this tax. Land rent is paid by cooperative enterprises and organizations and by individual citizens for nonagricultural real estate awarded for permanent use. Housing structures of cooperative organizations are taxed at a rate of 0.5 percent of their cost (insurance estimate), the nonhousing structures of cooperative organizations and citizens being taxed at a full one percent. There are a large number of exemptions and deductions set up in these payments. Legislation defines the conditions under which military personnel and members of their families, pensioners, Heroes of the Soviet Union, Heroes of Socialist Labor, holders of the Order of Glory of all three degrees, kolkhoz workers, and a number of other owners of buildings and real estate are exempted from payment of taxes. In actuality, nearly every third homeowner is released from taxes through some exemption.

In urban localities owners of motor vehicles, motorcycles, yachts, and boats, as well as vehicles used in commercial animal-drawn transportation, pay a charge for owners of means of transport. The charge is levied once a year at rates established in accord with the administrative status of the city and the type of the means of transport. Kolkhozes, kolkhoz farmers, and other citizens marketing products from their private plots or handicraft and other wares pay a one-time charge at the kolkhoz markets. Since 1970 this charge has not been included in budget revenues but has been directed in its entirety toward the construction, operation, and expansion of kolkhoz markets and services at the markets. A resort charge is imposed on all citizens who vacation on their own rather than by using state-owned resort facilities. The charge is included in local budget revenues and is expended on the organization of public services and amenities for the corresponding resort territory. The amount of the charge is determined by decisions of the councils of ministers of Union republics. Individuals vacationing or undergoing treatment on a work pass are exempted from payment of the charge. In a number of republics, privileges for disabled veterans of the Great Patriotic War, disabled workers, and certain other categories of citizens have been established. Local taxes constitute an insignificant share of the overall revenues of the state budget of the USSR.

In other socialist countries, as in the USSR, local taxes and charges account for a small portion of overall revenues of local budgets. They are usually levied in the form of building taxes, urban real estate taxes, market charges, charges for owners of means of transport, and certain other forms of taxes and charges for property and the receipt of various services.

In the capitalist countries local taxes and charges constitute the basic source of incomes of local budgets. Thus, in the early 1970’s local taxes were about 30 percent of the overall state budget in the USA, approximately 31 percent in Japan, and more than 9 percent in France. Included in the payments are strictly local taxes (direct and indirect), surcharges on state taxes, and other local taxes (on entertainment, vehicle ownership, and so on). Under capitalism local taxes and charges are sharply regressive: the greatest burden of the tax load falls on the shoulders of the working people. A distinctive feature of these taxes is their multiplicity (for example, the majority of states of the USA levy about 12 taxes, the Lander of the Federal Republic of Germany levy about 25, and the prefectures of Japan levy approximately 15).