Estonian Tax and Customs Board head Marek Helm states that the situation with collection of VAT is sad in Estonia and the few companies that VAT collection depends on have to be treated with utmost respect, LETA/Public Broadcasting reports.
Fresh statistics of the Tax Board indicated that while there were 72,000 persons liable to VAT in Estonia last year, 5,690 companies paid altogether 2.08 billion euros of VAT that formed 90% of the collected VAT, Äripäev wrote on Monday.
Helm said in national radio that the whole so-called tax gap forms 450 million euros a year in Estonia and a half of it is unpaid VAT which is the second-biggest tax that after social tax that the state budget collects.
Helm said that the problems are not new. He explained that the VAT system is complicated as companies are entitled to reclaim it from the state too but in simplified terms, there were around 70,000 companies liable to VAT, two thirds paid more VAT to the state budget than they reclaimed and one third reclaimed more than they paid.
Helm said that possible incentives could be created for the 6,000 companies on whom VAT collection depends, for example faster VAT returns.
Postimees Online wrote that Estonian Chamber of Commerce Industry director general Mait Palts said that the Tax Board's statement surprise shim. "The majority of active companies are micro-companies and a large part of them are family companies with a few employees who have a small turnover and there isn’t much to pay on that," said Palts. "Yes, there are spheres where companies complain about the problem of hiding VAT but it cannot be said that this is a problem of all spheres of activities."