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Ukrainian Business Owners Vow To Fight New Tax Law

Protesters gathered outside parliament in Kyiv to rally against the new tax law.
KYIV -- Small and medium-sized business owners in Ukraine have vowed to continue fighting against the signing of a new Tax Code they say is unfair, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Protests against the controversial legislation continued until it was passed by the Ukrainian parliament on November 18 after two days of debate.

Small business owners have been demonstrating against the Tax Code since it was unveiled this summer. Having failed to block it in parliament, they now aim to prevent it from being signed into law by President Viktor Yanukovych.

They said demonstrations in front of the presidential administration building would continue next week.

Finance Minister Fedir Yaroshenko, whose ministry drafted most of the 503-page document, appealed to deputies prior to the vote to support the new legislation. He also promised to continue working on problems with the bill after it becomes law.

The most controversial aspect of the new code concerns a simplified monthly tax for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Currently the law allows entrepreneurs to pay a monthly sum to the budget without having to deal with the tax authorities.

But the new law curtails this simplified tax while introducing other tax surcharges that, critics say, will force many small businesses into the shadow economy.

Opposition deputy Ksenia Lyapina, who has been critical of the proposed code, objected to it being voted on so quickly.

"We can't do this in such a hurry! We've voted in so much already that our economy won't survive this," she said. "If we continue to hurry I am sure we will have to return to amend this law 100 times this year."