Minister proposes land sales tax credits to stave off foreign buyers

Mart Järvik (EKRE).
Mart Järvik (EKRE). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Environment minister Mart Järvik (EKRE) says that land sales in Estonia should be tax exempt, or at least sellers should get tax credits, if the buyer happens to be the Estonian state.

Järvik already had a proposed body for carrying out land purchases on behalf of the state in mind, though admitted this was under-capitalized.

"The way I see it, a potential buyer could be the Rural Development Foundation (MES), which needs capital. The point is that, for whatever reason, Estonian land gets sold. If the lands is sold to the state, this should not be taxed. It would be possible to make VAT concessions," Järvik told investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress.

The minister noted there is no money earmarked for the MES in the next year's state budget, though he sees EU structural funds, or state loans, as another possible solution.

The move would also have the effect of restricting the sale of land to foreign buyers or legal persons using foreign capital, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

The MES was founded by the Estonian government in 1993 and aims to attract more workforce to the rural sector, as well as to issue sureties and loans to farmers and related entrepreneurs, according to its website.

The percentage of agriculturally-productive land in Estonia that was foreign-owned was estimated at around 4 percent in 2011, the year when restrictions on EU citizens buying land were lifted.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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