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Estonians With Cars in Finland Targeted in Tax Blitz

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Finnish police and customs are cracking down on people who have moved to Finland with vehicles but are not paying the country's steep taxes on car ownership - something that is foreign to Estonians.

On May 30, an extensive blitz took place near Helsinki. Fifty out of 100 drivers stopped on the basis of having a foreign registration plate were issued citations, and cars were confiscated in two cases, ETV reported.

The Customs Board says there are 50,000 cars in Finland registered in another country, most of them in Estonia.

As of May 1, 35,000 Estonians lived in Finland, according to the Finnish Population Register. Many if not most presumably drive their own vehicles, ETV reported.

Although re-registration is considered expensive, it is possible to get an exemption. However that only applies if Finnish customs is notified on the day of the move to Finland.

The Finnish car tax consists of four components: the car's price on the Finnish market, the year of the model, the engine size and environmental impact.

Finland also levies a separate fuel tax, 400 euros in the case of a gasoline engine and 1,000 euros for a diesel.

Meanwhile, Estonia has no comparable taxes - other than a high excise duty on fuel added to the price at the pump - and has no plans to establish them, said Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi in an interview on ETV yesterday.

The European Commission recommended to Estonia on May 30 that an annual car tax, energy consumption taxes, ownership or registration tax and waste tax could help achieve environmental aims and reduce the tax burden on workforce.

Increasing taxes on spending and reducing them on the workforce is a government priority.

"The list does not specifically mention a car tax on the list, although the Commission does mention it in the analysis as a possibility," said Ligi. "But we have a high enough fuel excise and we don't want to put the clamps on car owners anymore. It would be regionally painful as well, as in many areas, car transport is the only option."

Kristopher RIkken

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