Taxes: Don't Even Think Of It

Thinking about cheating on your taxes? If you're a Russian citizen, you may get a house visit from the tax police. The new "Instruction No. 525" allows police to contact colleagues and family members of any individual they believe may be planning to commit a crime, and ask them to talk their loved ones out of it. And just how will they read the mind of the secretive plotter? See "Instruction No. 426," which allows the tax police to use lie detectors on suspected evaders. A suspect would have to agree to take the test, but it's hard to say no to police who are best known for forcing the muzzles of their Kalashnikov rifles onto the foreheads of tax offenders. Russians are shocked at the totalitarian new regulations, says private tax lawyer Maxim Maximovsky, "but they have a genetic fear of the government. People are too scared to complain." In fact, they better not even think of complaining about the new rules if they want to keep the tax police off their backs.