Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) said he does not agree with the Reform Party's proposal to introduce a tax-free minimum of €500 for every worker in Estonia, adding the tax system will not change in the coming years.
In response to a proposal by Reform Party member Aivar Sõerd, Helme said the current tax system was made by the previous parliament and the government, and was not supported by EKRE.
Helme said: "This reform was made to help low-wage earners. And if the concern now is that we don't have low-wage earners because people's income has grown, we should not describe the reform as having failed. In fact, people's lives have improved."
Helme said the debate around how to change the tax system or to increase the tax-free minimum will likely be a matter for next Riigikogu elections.
"The most important question for me is whether we need to give the same tax breaks to everyone regardless of people's income. Should people earning €2,500 or €4,000 get the same tax breaks? My personal philosophy is not to favor the wealthier to the same extent as the poor. If we limit them, maybe something can be done in social welfare."
Helme said the Reform Party's proposal would cost an estimated €250 million.
"Not collecting €250 million just to get the wealthier a bargain is not very sensible to me," said Helme.
"I welcome the tax debate, which deals with substantive arguments about whether one or other tax measure is doing its job effectively. But I would curb your enthusiasm because I do not see the possibility that the current system will be changed in the coming years," said the Minister of Finance.
Helme said today's tax system also has its faults because there is a trade-off between whether the country has a graduated tax system or not.
Editor: Helen Wright