A survey conducted by the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry revealed that more than 70 percent of respondents believe that disclosing taxes paid on labor to be a necessary means in the fight against envelope wages and nearly 60 percent are ready to change transaction partners if they suspect them of paying undeclared wages.
Of the respondents in the survey, which was conducted in April, 53 percent believed that if business operators abandoned transaction partners who are suspected of paying envelope wages, it would have a big or very big positive effect on competition conditions. In contrast, one in five business-owners believed that it it would have a small or nonexistent impact, the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (MTA) said.
"We can see more and more that business-owners are working toward achieving fair competition on the market," said Mait Palts, director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EKT). "A number of respondents in the survey said that state control could be even more efficient, but informing both the business operator and the employees is considered very important. Taking into consideration that soon we can expect a number of tax amendments which will render the business environment more difficult, it is laudable that business-owners wish to cooperate with the state and the representative organizations of businesses, and vigorous steps are being taken toward increasing the transparency of businesss."
A number of members of the Estonian Security Association also believe that paying envelope wages is a problem. "It is first and foremot the business-owners themselves who can fight against illegally operating businesses by cooperating among themselves and with the state," said Andre Lilleleht, CEO of the Estonian Security Association.
"The Security Association is always ready to advise parties purchasing services and to help them have the exact kind of security services they actally need, as well as a service provider whose background has been checked," Lilleleht said. "Nobody needs security service which do not meet real needs or a service provider that is not sustainable."
MTA Deputy Director General Rivo Reitmann said that the tax authority needs the help of business-owners themselves to ensure sufficient control over the matter. "Experience shows that the best results in improving competition conditions are achieved when we have established a steady exchange of information with representatives of the sector and ensured their support to implement change," he said. "Our aim is to support business-owners with information as best as possible, which would allow us to keep the business environment transparent."
The MTA began publishing informatin on their website in April about the taxes paid by businesses, including declared revenue and the number of employees. In addition, it is possible to compile a tax information certificate on the e-Tax/e-Customs platform which will easily allow a business to provide an overview to a transaction partner regarding the company's staff and other indicators.
Editor: Aili Vahtla