The Estonian Association of Media Enterprises says it is necessary to introduce a digital tax in Estonia as soon as possible, which would be by 2021.
The manager of the Estonian Association of Media Enterprises, Mart Raudsaar, said their proposal is aimed towards enforcing equal treatment of market participants, as currently media companies pay 4.5 times more in taxes than international internet giants.
"This situation is unfair not only to Estonian media companies but also to the Estonian state, which loses millions of euros of tax money every year," Raudsaar said.
"Introduction of equal treatment would be necessary both for media enterprises as well as the Estonian state at the first opportunity, that is by 2021, not in three years or even in more distant future," he added.
Regarding claims to the effect that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is drafting a global regulation on digital taxation that could step into effect in three years, there is no guarantee that amid the current tensions in the international economy a consensus will be reached by that time, the association believes.
"Nor is there a guarantee that in the event of a failure by the OECD, the European Union would quickly reach the point of implementing regulations on digital taxation of its own as it has promised to do. In a situation like this seven countries of the European Union have imposed, or are about to impose, a separate national digital tax, all of which are based on solutions devised by the European Commission. The tax has been implemented already in France, where President Macron has placed the fight with internet giants at the heart of his concerns and wishes to protect their market and producers. Proceedings concerning digital tax are underway in Britain, Austria, Italy, and the Czech Republic. A relevant draft legislation is being drafted in Slovenia," Raudsaar said.
He added that in a situation like this it makes no sense for Estonia to be dragging its feet either.
"We would not be the only ones in the European Union and we would not be doing it based on a model devised by ourselves, but could rely on a framework already devised in the European Union which has not been adopted due to opposition from Ireland and the Scandinavian countries - let us remember that several digital giants have registered their business in the European Union in Ireland, whereas Scandinavian countries are standing for the interests of Spotify, for instance," Raudsaar said.
He said the proposal of the Estonian Association of Media Enterprises for the Ministry of Finance was to introduce a tax of 3-5 percent before the adoption of the 2021 state budget.
Postimees reported on Monday that the government has no plans to introduce a digital tax and that, so far, it has not been discussed by the Riigikogu's Finance Committee.
Editor: Helen Wright