Ukraine reminds Santas about tax

KIEV Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:38am EST

A man dressed Father Frost, the regional version of Santa Claus, pose for a picture in Independence Square in Kiev December 30, 2008. REUTERS/Konstantin Chernichkin

A man dressed Father Frost, the regional version of Santa Claus, pose for a picture in Independence Square in Kiev December 30, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Konstantin Chernichkin

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KIEV (Reuters) - Cash-strapped Ukraine on Wednesday reminded entertainers making money by posing as Did Moroz - the local version of Santa Claus - and his helpers to pay income tax.

The former Soviet republic's government faces $9 billion in foreign debt repayments next year and its budget deficit almost tripled in January-October this year to more than $4 billion.

By studying internet advertisements, the state tax service found out that a Did Moroz with a traditional female Snihuronka (Snow Maid) helper would earn 250 to 3,500 hryvnias ($30 to $440) per hour in capital Kiev this season.

"Such citizens will need to file forms and pay taxes," the tax service said in a statement.

The service said it was barred from conducting tax checks on small businesses but urged ordinary Ukrainians to report tax-dodging Santas.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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