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Tax and Customs Board to survey Estonians' attitude towards paying tax

Estonia's chief tax collector, Valdur Laid.
Estonia's chief tax collector, Valdur Laid. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Tax and Customs Board (MTA) is planning a broad-based survey of Estonian residents' willingness to pay tax. As daily Eesti Päevaleht reported on Wednesday, the push follows a Finnish survey in which 95 percent of respondents agreed that paying tax is "one of a citizen's main obligations".

"Do people want to pay tax? What does this depend on, and what is their behavior in reality? We want to better understand how to influence this behavior, and what the attitude [towards taxes] is, how it might change, and why," MTA's director-general, Valdur Laid, told the paper.

According to Laid, Finland has already done such a study with the result that 95 percent of Finns agreed that paying tax is one of a citizen's main obligations towards the state.

"This doesn't mean that everybody is really keen to pay tax. Everybody wants to maximize their own well-being. But there is an understanding of what they get in return," Laid said.

In his assessment, the willingness of Estonia's residents to pay tax has recently decreased. Looking at how fiercely this is debated in society, for example regarding the tax package of the government, including the revision of the tax-free income limits among other things, talking to people in business, and seeing how the issue of income tax reform is treated by the media, Laid said it appeared to him that the general attitude has been "quieter" than it currently is.

That a certain restlessness occurred whenever taxes are changed though is natural, he added.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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