Russian Taxman Wants Access To Banking Information

Privacy under attack again

If federal Russian lawmakers have their way, banks across the country will be required to report all local ATM cash withdrawals using foreign credit or debit cards, and virtually all information held by the banks regarding account holders could be demanded by the federal tax authorities.

That’s the gist of new financial developments in the country reported by the daily national newspaper Kommersant, revealing that lawmakers are working on legislative amendments that would compel banks to report on the use of foreign credit or debit cards at ATMs.

The taxman has reportedly sought the approval of the federal Ministry of Finance for authority to demand from banks details of their clients and their accounts, claiming that this is necessary for the identification and prosecution of illegal business activities – a catch-all phrase if ever there was one. The Ministry is apparently considering the proposal.

This sort of information can only be demanded at present where the tax authority can show that there are irregularities in an individual or company’s tax declarations, and the information requested must be relevant to that specific irregularity.