According to the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (MTA), 6.6 percent more was paid in taxes in 2017 than in 2016, and tax receipts exceeded the budget by €30.2 million.
"Tax receipts with the support of economic growth increased more than six percent compared to 2016, and the budget was also exceeded by €30.2 million," MTA director general Valdur Laid said at a press conference on Monday.
Tax receipts increased first and foremost due to value added tax (VAT), social tax and natural persons' income tax, while taxes concerning excise duties decreased.
Excise duty on alcohol was paid in 87.5 percent of the planned amount, or €33 million less than the amount planned in the budget. Compared to 2016, excise duty on alcohool was paid €22 million or 8.8 percent less in 2017.
The volume of alcohol declared to the Estonian market decreased significantly in 2017; the volume of beer decreased nine and volumes of other types of alcohol decreased 16 percent compared to 2016. The decrease in consumable alcohol was attributed mainly by the general decrease in alcohol consumption and the growth in Latvian border trade.
Payment of fuel excise duty according to cash basis accounts amounted to 95.7 percent of the planned amount, or €23 million less than planned in the budget. In total, fuel excise duty receipts totaled 5.6 percent or €27.5 million more than in 2016.
The rise in the excise duty on tobacco has largely been gathered, and the deficit of fulfilling the 2017 state budget according to cash basis accounts was €5.4 million.
According to Laid, 69 legal persons paid altogether €2.1 billion in taxes, accounting for one third of all taxes. "It is important for Estonia that our large companies do well, as they make up a significant part of the tax revenue," he said.
Four percent of all legal persons bring in 85 percent of tax revenue to the state. The remaining 96 percent pay 15 percent of tax revenue. The role of important tax payers in tax receipts has not changed over the course of 2017; their relative importance in total receipts has neither increased nor decreased.
The number of wage payment recipients has remained at the same level as in 2016. At the same time, the sum of wage payments increased by €195 million, or 2.9 percent. The number of institutions that made wage payments rose by 544, or 0.8 percent. The share of unregistered persons identified during a review of employment registration was six percent in 2017.
According to the MTA, the tax gap in 2016 was €304 million, or 1.44 percent of the GDP. The share of the tax gap in paid taxes fell below five percent in 2016. Laid said that this indicated that Estonians' general tax morale is good and improving.
The 12-month data of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board is cash-based and does not exactly reflect the accrual accounts that make up the basis of the state budget.
Editor: Aili Vahtla