Putin Orders Russia's Public Officials to Report Crypto Holdings

Russian civil servants must start reporting their crypto assets as the country's first crypto law comes into force in January.

Dec 11, 2020 at 10:33 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:41 a.m. UTC

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order obliging public officials to report any cryptocurrency holdings.

According to the document signed Thursday, both current civil servants and people about to assume a government position must disclose which digital assets they own, as well as in what quantity and from where they were purchased. The first reports must be provided from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2021.

The reports must include all types of digital assets – including cryptocurrencies, digital securities and utility tokens – owned by a current or prospective civil servant, as well as their spouses and children. People seeking government roles will also have to make a crypto disclosure during the application process.

The disclosures will complement the usual mandatory reports of candidates' property, a standard anti-corruption procedure.

Cryptocurrencies are recognized as a type of property by a Russian law signed by Putin this summer and coming into force in January.

The country's Ministry of Finance recently proposed a package of draft bills detailing the rules for reporting crypto for tax purposes. According to the drafts, individuals and companies must report their holdings if annual transactions exceed 600,000 Russian rubles (about $7,800). Failure to do so would lead to fines or up to three years in jail, depending on the amount of crypto concealed from the tax agency.

However, the government ended up softening these rules. On Nov. 30, it introduced a lighter version of the draft bill into Russia's parliament, the State Duma. Under this bill, a failure to report crypto holdings in a timely manner should lead to a fine of 50,000 rubles (around $682), and not reporting them at all means a fine of 10% of the sum of all incoming or outgoing transactions, depending on which amount is the larger.

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