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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Chief Tax Official Appointed

Former deputy chief of the Federal Tax Service, Mikhail Mokretsov, was officially named head of the agency Wednesday in an appointment that experts see as a continuation of his predecessor's policies.

Mokretsov replaces Anatoly Serdyukov, who was designated Defense Minister by President Vladimir Putin in a Cabinet reshuffle last Thursday.

Prior to his latest appointment, Mokretsov oversaw value-added tax, excise tax and profit tax collection, which accounted for around half of all tax revenues to the budget in 2006.

Like his predecessor, Mokretsov is from Putin's native city of St. Petersburg, where he was deputy head of the city's tax department from 2001 to 2004.

While in this position, he was credited with undertaking far-reaching reforms of St. Petersburg's tax system.

But the reform, which involved extensive reorganization of the collection agency's staff, initially had a revolving-door effect among tax inspectors, some of whom were unprepared to accept the enforcement of a circumscribed set of duties.

At the time, Mokretsov also ensured that St. Petersburg's collection agencies were linked up in a high-tech computer network. As a result, 31 agencies were hooked up to a centralized program as part of an unprecedented experiment to create a unified digital system for tax operations.

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, who presented Mokretsov to Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov at a meeting Wednesday, said he was chosen as the most suitable from a shortlist of seven deputies to the former head of the Federal Tax Service, Anatoly Serdyukov, and that he was always present at all key Finance Ministry meetings.

"I have only positive things to say about his work," Kudrin was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Kudrin also said the Federal Tax Service budget for 2007 has been increased by one-third compared with last year, reaching over 90 billion rubles ($3.4 billion), and that the service currently employed about 180,000 people.

Kudrin stressed the need to improve the formulation of tax laws, which would make tax regulations easier for businessmen to understand. He said that from next year VAT payments would be made quarterly.

Serdyukov was also complimentary of his former deputy, saying he had no doubts that Mokretsov would be fully capable of acquitting himself well in the task before him.

Kommersant reported that from 1986 to 1987, Mokretsov worked as deputy accountant at a St. Petersburg factory, while from 1989 to 2000 he worked in various companies, including DAP International, Rosagriko, and A&P Audit.