The taxman put the total amount of VAT fraud at 220 million euros in 2012, slightly down from the 231 million estimated for 2011.
The state collected 1.5 billion euros in value added tax in 2012, which means fraud accounted for 15 percent.
The corresponding figure for 2010 was 180 million euros, totaling 633 million euros of lost revenues for the state in the last three years.
“We know of around 10,000 possible felons, whom we have reason to suspect of tax evasion. Considering that Estonia has over 70,000 companies liable to charge VAT, we can’t talk about a few businesses, but 12 percent of them,” said Egon Veermäe, deputy director general of the Tax and Customs Board.
For the 220 million euros, the state could, according to ERR calculations:
• keep Estonian Air afloat for another four and a half years (49-million-euro loss in 2012)
• hand MPs a 4000-percent pay rise for the year (a member of Parliament currently earns 3,380 euros a month)
• more than double teachers' pay for 2013 (government has earmarked around 170 million euros for teachers' salaries in 2013)
• fix Tallinn’s roads (the Road Administration estimates the cost to bring the capital’s roads up to scratch at 150 million euros)