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No Children, Pay More Tax: Russia Considers ‘Childless Tax’ to Overcome Falling Birth Rates

Russian lawmaker proposes ‘childless tax’
During Soviet-era taxed childless couples at 6%
Tax isn’t punitive; it’s a problem-solving method

Russian lawmakers are discussing the introduction of a ‘childless tax’ as a strategy to boost the country’s birth rate.

“Let’s introduce a childless tax like the Soviet-era”

Yevgeny Fyodorov, a deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of Russia, said on a radio show on the 4th (local time), “It’s a good idea to introduce a tax on childlessness, like in the old Soviet Union,” according to the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant.

Fyodorov suggests introducing a tax to support an increase in the birth rate when there is insufficient capital. He emphasizes that this tax should be viewed not as a punishment but as a solution to the problem.

In the past, the Soviet Union introduced a childless tax in 1941 under the leadership of Stalin. The population drastically decreased at the time due to World War II. Men aged 20 to 50 and married women aged 20 to 45 were required to pay 6% of their wages in taxes. However, infertile couples and low-income earners were exempt.

Russia’s birth rate is on a downward trend
Lowest number of births since 1999

The decrease in Russia’s birth rate prompts the discussion of the childless tax. The World Bank reports that Russia’s fertility rate fell from 1.8 in 2016 to 1.5 in 2021.

Experts expect Russia’s annual number of births to drop to its lowest since 1999, with only 1,245,000 births anticipated this year. The Russian government predicts that the number of births will continue to decrease, reaching 1,172,000 in 2024, 1,153,000 in 2025, and 1,143,000 in 2026.

In response, President Vladimir Putin said last August, “Large families should become the standard of life for Russian citizens,” and acknowledged that “the situation with childbirth in Russia continues to be difficult.”

Japan also attempted to introduce it in the past
Violation of human rights vs. Benefits of childbirth

Previously, there were reports that Japan was considering introducing a childless tax. In 2017, the Abe administration showed signs of introducing a childless tax for high-income earners with an annual income of 8 to 9 million yen (equivalent to approximately $71,000 to $80,000) while preparing the New Year’s tax reform plan.

Japanese society responded with strong objections, arguing that a punitive tax on childless households would be unfair and a violation of human rights. However, public opinion also supported providing more benefits for childbirth, considering it contributes to society.

By. Kim Sung Wook

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