Economist Vedev: “The topic of tax deduction requires a balanced approach”
The government approved draft amendments to the second reading of the bill, which introduces a single tax deduction for personal income tax for long-term savings. If you pay an annual fee of 400 thousand rubles, you can return 52 thousand. We are talking about a long-term savings program that started in January, allowing Russians to save for retirement voluntarily and independently, but with government co-financing. The key question is: what percentage of the population will ultimately want to participate?
The amendments synchronize the provisions of the Tax Code with the Law on Non-State Pension Funds, which provides for the creation of the LTS (Long-Term Savings Program). They also oblige NPFs to transfer information related to the conclusion of long-term savings agreements to the tax authorities – this will ensure control over deductions. If the amendments are finally approved by the State Duma, tax deductions (their procedure is simplified) will apply to income received from January 1 under contracts concluded from 2024. According to the assessment of the first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Vladimir Chistyukhin, by 2030, the PDS will involve funds from at least 9 million Russians with a total volume of over 1.2 trillion rubles.
To participate in the PDS, it is necessary to conclude an agreement with a non-state pension fund: the fund is assigned the role of program operator, investing citizens’ investments in federal loan bonds (OFZ) and other securities. The entry fee is determined by the person independently; its amount is not limited. Two types of payments are available: lifetime and term, assigned for a period of at least ten years. Savings can be used (including withdrawn in full) after 15 years of participation in the program upon reaching the age of 55 years for women and 60 years for men.
The maximum amount of state co-financing is 36 thousand rubles per year. And since we are talking only about the first three years of participation in the PDS, the maximum that citizens can expect in addition to their investments is 108 thousand rubles. The limitation is very serious, and it significantly reduces the attractiveness of the program. Previously, some NPFs proposed increasing the co-financing period to 10 years, but the Ministry of Finance rejected the idea. Another advantage of the PDS: a special tax deduction is provided for participants – up to 52 thousand rubles annually when paying contributions up to 400 thousand rubles. The last figure casts doubt on whether the program will become truly widespread, as the authorities expect.
“You can receive the maximum personal income tax deduction for long-term savings under one condition: you will have to deposit 400 thousand rubles into your account,” notes private investor and financial analyst Fedor Sidorov. — Accordingly, if you have less than this amount in your account, you are also entitled to a proportionately smaller deduction. Here this mechanism works exactly the same as in the case of other items (housing or individual investment account, individual investment account).”
The degree of demand for PDS will grow, albeit gradually, Sidorov believes. Today, Russians more often choose “short-term” bank deposits, mainly due to higher rates and the ability to quickly manage funds when the economic situation changes.
“It’s difficult to judge the prospects of the program: diversification in both income and savings between different social categories is very strong,” says Alexey Vedev, director of the Center for Structural Research at RANEPA. — According to a number of studies, up to 40-50% of the population have no financial nest egg at all. At the same time, it is extremely important to stimulate saving activity. Today we have about 10 million individual brokerage accounts open, which indicates a partial reorientation of people from bank deposits to the stock market. As for the tax deduction for PDS, this is not an easy topic and requires a balanced approach and detailed discussion with the professional community.”
This program, formed at the expense of the Russians themselves, is absolutely necessary and strategically correct, notes leading expert of the Center for Political Technologies Nikita Maslennikov. Its purpose is to create an additional (on par with the insurance) pension system, which will replace the funded part of pensions that was frozen almost 10 years ago. Russia’s population is aging, the burden on state pension funds is growing, the replacement rate (the ratio of average wages and average pensions) does not exceed 30%, while in Western countries it is on average 80%.
“At the same time, in addition to the objective necessity, there are also risks,” sums up Maslennikov. “For example, it is unclear to what extent the PDS will be in demand by the population, with its low level of savings activity, limited financial resources, craving for bank deposits and other proven instruments.”