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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hard Currency Shops Subject to $2, 000 Levy

Hard-currency shops in Moscow will soon discover they have one more bureaucratic impost to deal with.

According to the newspaper Kommersant, the Moscow city government announced last week its own set of regulations for hard-currency sellers, chief among them is a $2, 000 tax for each shop.

According to the report, the Moscow city government released a document Thursday requiring hard-currency stores to register with the city department of international relations, showing their accounts, lease agreements and other documents. They would also have to pay a one-time $2, 000 "contribution to the development of the city" for each branch of their operations.

The hard-currency stores have been hit from several sides in recent months. The Russian government imposed a 20 percent value-added tax on the imported goods they sell, which came into effect Feb. 1, but which overzealous tax officials have tried to collect retroactively - as far back as November.

On the other hand, the Russian Central Bank has moved against the hard-currency trade, claiming that Russia's huge dollar economy is undermining the ruble.

The bank recently put restrictions on the kinds of goods that could be sold for hard currency, excluding most goods and services produced by Russian enterprises or joint ventures in Russia. Many hard-currency stores have sold Russian meat, fur hats and art books.

The bank has also told all the shops to reregister by March 15, showing similar documents to those required by the Moscow government.

Another recent decree requires that hard-currency stores allow customers to pay in rubles as well as dollars. The requirement is largely inoperative because the stores set their own exchange rate.