Car tax bill takes flak from the opposition

Cars (Photo is illustrative).
Cars (Photo is illustrative). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Leading opposition politicians in Estonia find the Ministry of Finance's new car tax bill to be more draconian that initial plans, hitting less fortunate people, rural area residents and large families the hardest in the conditions of other tax hikes.

Jüri Ratas, former chair of the Center Party, said that Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) is planning to steamroll Estonians as the bill prescribes collecting €230 million in the new tax's first year, compared to the initial revenue target of €120 million.

"That sum seems to be growing all the time – it has doubled from €110 million in less than six months! It pays to consider whether laying down a car tax is even sustainable on the backdrop of several other tax hikes, and because the VAT hike and excise duties are already having an effect on buying and maintaining vehicles," Ratas said.

Isamaa leader Urmas Reinsalu said that he is not convinced by Finance Minister Võrklaev's car tax plan, which is more draconian than initially feared. Reinsalu pointed to the same figures Ratad did.

"Võrklaev no longer denied that tax's other major aim, which is to convince people to give up owning a car. That is a roundabout way of suggesting Estonian families will not be able to afford a car in the future. This foolishness needs to be stopped in its entirety. The car tax will impact people's mobility and freedom and add to the cost of living," Reinsalu remarked.

Chairman of the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Martin Helme also said the tax plan is more brutal than the public has been led to believe.

"We will not allow this tax to be laid down," he promised.

The politician said that rural areas where people need a larger and more powerful car will bear the brunt of the impact.

"Large families that cannot fit in superminis will also take a hit. We can add to that less fortunate people who can only afford a car that costs a few thousand euros – they will have to pay a quarter or even half of what their car is worth in additional taxes every year."

Helme said that less fortunate people will never be able to afford an electric vehicle or a brand new car of any kind.

"And yet, they will not be able to escape the [one off] registration fee either as it will make the car that much more expensive for every new buyer," the EKRE leader remarked.


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Editor: Urmet Kook, Marcus Turovski

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