The sum total of tax arrears in Estonia was stable in 2016, remaining in the range of an estimated €263-274 milion and accounting for less than one percent of the total amount of taxes due, it appears from an overview on 2016 presented by teh Tax and Customs Board (MTA) on Wednesday.
The number of people in arrears with their tax payments was stable as well, increasing somewhat during periods when deadlines for the payment of land tax and income tax fell in April, July and October.
The number of debtors who had rescheduled their tax debt meanwhile grew significantly from 2,922 at the beginning of the year to 4,913 at the beginning of 2017. A tax debt of up to €20,000 can be rescheduled by the taxpayer online.
The Estonian tax authority deemed its work in reclaiming tax debt successful. As a result of such a procedure, the MTA ordered 91 persons to pay a total of €4.4 million in taxes. Since 2007, 487 such procedures involving tax debt worth a total of €66.4 million have been successfully completed.
Since 2012, the MTA has adopted a more resolute stance when it comes to bankruptcy proceedings and has filed 200 bankruptcy petitions since then. By 2015, the sum total of tax claims involved in such procedures had more than doubled over the previous year to more than 9.3 million euros.
By 2016, the number of bankruptcy petition had also multiplied, with 75 such petitions filed that year worth a total of nearly €13.9 million in unpaid taxes.
Proceedings in which a bankruptcy was declared entailed claims for €40.7 million exclusive of interest as of year-end, approximately the same amount as in previous years.
The tax authority's receipts from bankruptcy proceedings totaled 1.2 million euros in 2016.
Estonia's total tax inflow in 2016 amounted to €2.27 billion, €8.2 million or 0.1 percent more than budgeted. Year over year, inflow increased by €327 million.
Tax gap regarded stable at 7.1 percent
According to MTA officials, the tax gap, or the difference between the total amount of taxes owed to the government and the amount actually received, was also regarded as stable at 7.1 percent in 2015.
The share of shadow economy was stable and the tax gap relatively narrow in 2015, said Rivo Reitmann, deputy director general of the MTA. He noted that it was estimated that the tax gap was approximately the same in 2016 as well, as no significant new variables had come into play.
Reitmann said that the tax gap provides a message regarding the environment in which businesses are operating and what the the level of tax morale. "Non-payment of taxes is no longer talked about something that is popular — rather the other way around," he added.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla