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Childlessness tax: how Serhiy Hryvko's draft law caused a public outcry

The news and social media spread information about a draft law that would introduce a ‘childlessness tax’ to improve the demographic situation in Ukraine. This idea was widely criticised by Ukrainian society, and the author promised to withdraw the draft law.

News and social media are circulating information about a draft law that would introduce a “childlessness tax” aimed at improving the demographic situation in Ukraine.

The information is true, but its author has already promised to withdraw the document due to criticism. 

What’s it all about?

The draft law No.11264 was registered on May 16 by its author, MP Serhii Hryvko. It is published on the Verkhovna Rada website under the title “On Amendments to the Tax Code of Ukraine and Other Laws of Ukraine on Creating Preconditions for Improving the Demographic Situation in Ukraine.”

What is proposed?

The author proposed to introduce a demographic tax for all citizens aged 21 to 58. The only exceptions would be people who have three or more children, or who are infertile or have a disability of the first group. 

The rates of the demographic tax are as follows: 

1.5% of all income received in cash for citizens who do not have children; 

1% for those with one child; 

0.5% for people with two children. 

The draft law also proposed that the tax funds would be used to increase state aid at birth and introduce a new type of state aid to families with children (assistance for the maintenance of a child until the age of six and assistance to the child for the future).

Has the law been adopted? 

No, on May 20, the draft law was only sent for review to the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Taxation, and Customs Policy. This is obviously where the publicity comes from. 

In his Telegram channel, the Committee’s chairman, Danylo Hetmantsev, said that there was no chance of this bill being passed and even compared his colleague’s idea to taxes that existed “at different times in Rome, fascist Italy, communist Poland, and, of course, in the USSR from 1941 to the very end of the empire. It was popularly called the egg tax, given the unequal tax status of women and men.”  

After facing criticism, Serhii Hryvko wrote on his Facebook page that he was withdrawing the draft law. He also stated that he appreciated those who spoke out with reasoned arguments and apologized to those who had negative feelings about the draft law. 

On the Verkhovna Rada website, the document still has the status of “Being processed in the committee.” 

What do we know about the initiator of the draft law? 

The initiator is Serhii Hryvko, who was elected as an MP of the 9th convocation of the Servant of the People party in 2019, number 114 on the list as party member. He is a member of the eponymous faction and a member of the Committee on Social Policy and Veterans’ Rights. 

This is not the first time Serhii Hryvko has been criticized for his draft laws. For example, in September 2023, he submitted a draft law to the Verkhovna Rada to reduce the sentence of convicts if they generate electricity from bicycle generating units, with the aim of involving up to 50,000 prisoners. The MP added that, in his opinion, this would enable prisoners to reduce their sentences by no more than 30 days per year. 

 In November 2023, Serhii Hryvko submitted a draft law on the regulation of esoteric education, proposing to legalize the market of esoteric services in Ukraine, such as astrology, tarot, numerology, runology, psychicism, witchcraft, and healing. In his opinion, individuals engaged in esoteric activities should officially pay taxes as individual entrepreneurs. In particular, the explanatory note stated that “the market of esoteric services is not regulated in any way, and therefore honest esotericists are not protected in their activities.” 

About the publicity 

The news about the bill was accompanied by manipulative headlines such as “Everyone should have three children. MP explains scandalous bill”, “Childlessness tax: the government has come up with a new way to collect money”, and “Pay up if you have fewer than three children: the Verkhovna Rada proposes to introduce a ‘childlessness tax’”. 

Such headlines contributed to the spread of the news in the Ukrainian information space, as the authors used the so-called method of intimidating the audience to draw readers’ attention to their media outlets and increase their coverage. Judging by the lively discussions on social media, this is an effective method. The name Childlessness Tax quickly went viral, transforming into emotional comments that continue to this day, even though the MP has already publicly announced the withdrawal of his draft law small logo

Prepared by Aliona Malichenko.

Альона Маліченко
Альона Маліченко
фактчекерка По той бік новин
Halyna Dolynna
Halyna Dolynna
editor of the English texts
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