Authority: One fifth of businesses have serious tax deficiencies ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Tax and Customs Board (MTA) logo.
Tax and Customs Board (MTA) logo. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

One in five businesses have serious deficiencies relating to their tax situation, the Tax and Customs Board (MTA) says. Additionally, another twenty percent have some issues.

The MTA adds that over half of businesses have their affairs fully in order, so far as the authority is concerned.

The board issues guidance on how to remedy this issues, where needed, via a free and voluntary service made available in the summer of 2020.

The service has been used to date by nearly 20,000 legal representatives of businesses, who have checked out at least once what their business looks like in the eyes of the taxman, including any potential shortcomings.

A total of 160,000 companies' assessments are available via the service now, the board says, which currently are only viewable to company board members, though a share function is to be added to the electronic service in future, the board says. Company accountants may also view the information.

"The assessments are updated every month. Additionally, we keep adding new elements to the service, such as what the behavior of the company in relation to the payouts shown in declarations looks like to the MTA," Kaili Veiksaar, head of the board's services said.

The largest number of potential infringements related to the risk of cash-in-hand wages, which the MTA deduces by wages being declared that are significantly lower than the sector average.

System teething problems now ironed out

Non-rescheduled debts, failure to submit declarations and concerns over the backgrounds of individuals were next up, and a question affecting up to 10,000 companies concerned the use, or misuse, of company cars, which have not been indicated as used purely for work-related transport.

The service had had some teething problems, but these are now in order, the MTA says, adding that all those companies whose affairs are as they should be have nothing to fear – though those who have shortcomings may expect contact from the board.

Feedback is issued to businesses in two parts, relating to best practices including timeliness and accuracy in filing returns, payroll data, expenses etc. in one case, and information on possible oversights relating to the second part

Companies receive a rating on a three tier scale, from green, via amber where there are some deficiencies, through to red for the most serious cases.

Sixty-one percent of companies had a "green" rating, and the "amber" and "red" proportions were almost identical at 19 and 20 percent respectively.

Public data such as company addresses, number of employees, debts, taxes paid are brought under the one roof via the service, whose development was financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDG) and developed by the MTA in collaboration with AS Nortal and the Information Technology Center at the Ministry of Finance (RMIT).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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