The Belarusian tax authorities have started returning money to those who paid the so-called tax on parasites. But It’s not cut and dry: there are many exemptions to it.
“The money will be returned to those persons who have already found jobs and started working,” Deputy Minister for Taxes and Duties Svyatlana Shauchenka explained.
When asked how many citizens have already been given their money back, the top official said there had been no specific figures yet.
“The order was delivered not long ago, we have just got down to work,” she said.
Decree Nr 3 signed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka in April, 2015 established the obligation of the citizens of Belarus, foreign citizens permanently residing in Belarus, stateless persons, who did not participate in the financing of public spending or participated in such financing less than 183 days (six months – ed.) in the past year, to pay a fee of 20 basic units (appr. $230).
Lukashenka vs parasite tax critics (ENG subtitles)
The notorious decree caused a massive public outcry. In February-March, protests were held in a number of Belarusian cities and towns.
On March 25, Belarusians came to main squares of their cities to protest the ‘parasite’ law and celebrate the unofficial Freedom Day. But the Minsk riot police brutally dispersed the protest. Hundreds of people – even women, elderly people, journalists and ordinary passers-by – were arrested, battered and jailed.
Police beating protesters on March, 25 (ENG subs)
February 20 was the latest date for paying the so-called tax on parasitism. Over 50,000 Belarusians complied with the demand. In total, about 470,000 received tax office letters. In March, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said the so-called law on idlers would stay in force, but tax collection would be postponed for a year.