Amendments to the law coming into force this year

The Ministry of Finance reminds everybody on the amendments to the legislative acts that enter into force this year.
This year’s budget expenditure will be 8.06 billion euros and the expected revenue will be 8.02 billion euros. The increase in state revenue is five percent, soon to reach all spheres of life. The budget was prepared conservatively, as indicated by the 0.7 percent structural surplus measuring the substantive coping with expenditure.
An amendment to the Taxation Act enters into force, which reduces the limitation period for enforcement of compulsory tax levied pursuant to returns as well as administrative acts (e.g. orders) from seven years to five years. The practice has shown that the percentage of collection of tax debts older than five years is extremely low.
Amendments to the Income Tax Act enter into force, which allow equal taxation of real estate income of contractual investment funds established either in Estonia or in any foreign country. From now on also the Estonian-sourced real estate income of Estonian contractual investment funds will be taxed.  The income taxed at the fund level will no longer be taxed at the level of the unit-holders. These amendments only apply to real estate income and not to pension funds or their unit-holders.
EU 2014-2020 Structural Assistance Act sets out the national allocation of tasks from the Structural Funds, allows the ministries to impose conditions for granting aid, specifications regarding the procedure of granting aid, supervision and settling disputes.
Amendments to the Public Procurement Act allow to nullify procurement contracts unlawfully entered into under the framework contract. The term of submitting the request for review of public procurement has been changed from seven working days to ten calendar days. From now on, the disputes related to state secrets will be submitted to administrative court.
As agreed in the State Budget Strategy in spring 2012, the excise duty on tobacco increases by 6% and on alcohol by 5%.
As of February 1, 2014, a bailiff will have the right under an administrative regulation and at the request of a tax authority to order detention in accordance with the procedure of preliminary detention. 
As of April 1, 2014, the court and prosecution claims as well as the administration of state fees collected by courts will be transferred to the Tax and Customs Board’s Taxable Persons Register database.  This means that the claims of several state authorities will be gathered into a single register providing individuals a better overview of their financial obligations to the state. The court and prosecution claims will have a separate reference number. In cases stipulated by law, the prepayment account of an individual will be used for settling the claim in the extent of the sum calculated.
Amendments to the Value Added Tax Act allow extended options of providing proofs of tax free purchases, the place of taxation of electronic communication services and electronic services will change and quantitative restriction will be set to coffee (500 g) and tea (100 g) sent without VAT from a country outside EU. The amendments will enter into force from March 1, 2014.
Additional exemption rate of pensions increases.  As of January 1, 2014, the additional tax-exempt income of pensions is 2520 euros per year, which is 210 euros per month. This is 18 euros more than before.
Amendments to the Insurance Act and the Investment Funds Act enter into force. These will change the insurers’ management requirements based on EU-wide rules, allow insurers, in addition to being an insurer’s agent, operate as an agent of credit institution, management company or investment firm, raise the insurance amounts of insurance brokers’ liability insurance contracts.
Amendments to the Credit Institutions Act and related acts enter into force. The amendments based on EU legislation set new obligations to banks, investment firms and hedge fund managers. Banks and investment firms will have to maintain more quality capital and create additional risk buffers. Additional requirements are also set for management bodies. Hedge fund managers will be monitored more closely. The act increases financial stability and allows for increased reliability and transparency in financial sector.
The validity period of the limits of pension fund management fee will be extended. The act of amendment of the Investment Fund Act, the Funded Pensions Act and the Social Tax Act extends the validity period of the limits of pension fund management fees of mandatory funded pension (in case of conservative funds 1.2% and the rest 2%) by five years. The act also amends the rules of succession of units of mandatory pension fund. Now, the units can also transfer to legal persons, in addition to natural persons. The regulation of estate bankruptcy has also been amended. If the estate is declared bankrupt the creditors can satisfy their claims out of the units of mandatory pension fund.
The acts of amendment of the Financial Supervision Authority Act and the Investment Funds Act improve the financial supervision over financial conglomerates, facilitate the offering of units of other member states’ investment funds in Estonia, and give the financial supervision authority a more comprehensive role in promoting financial knowledge among the population.
Source: Estonian Ministry of Finance

Parliament considers bill to limit taxi tariffs

The new draft law on public transport is proposing to allow local governments to introduce a maximum limit for taxi fare, writes Äripäev.

The draft that was prepared by the Ministry of Economic Affairs has already gone through first reading in the parliament. The deadline for submitting amendment proposals for the draft bill is September 11.

Read more from BBN

Estonian court system functions well

The European Commission’s European Union Justice Scoreboard, a tool to promote effective justice and growth, shows that the Estonian court system functions well and no specific recommendations are made to better it.

According to the report that looks at data for 2008 and 2010, the length of proceedings in Estonia is shorter than in the EU on average, a spokesperson for the Estonian Ministry of Justice told BNS.

In Estonia the average time needed to resolve litigious civil cases in first-tier courts was 215 days in 2010 while the average time in the EU was 284 days, the Minister of Justice Hanno Pevkur said. “At the same time, in Finland the time needed for litigious civil cases was 259 and in Latvia 330 days in the same period. The time needed to resolve administrative cases was 146 days in Estonia in 2010, compared with the EU average of 514 days. The productivity of Estonian courts has increased — in 2008-2010 the percentage of civil cases that were resolved was 98.99 on average but in 2012 it was 108 percent, which means that courts resolved more cases than came in,” Pevkur said.

“The clearance rate of administrative cases was at the average level of European countries and according to the latest domestic figures the productivity of Estonian courts in administrative cases was 105 percent — courts resolved 5 percent more cases than came in. The report points out the system of expedited procedure of payment orders as one of Estonia’s strengths that has contributed substantially to the decreasing of the average time of clearance,” the minister said.

The general statistics of the European Court of Human Rights show that in Estonia considerably fewer breaches of the requirement of a reasonable time of proceedings have been identified than in other EU member states. When last year the human rights court made 227 substantive decisions concerning the reasonable time of proceedings requirement of the European Convention on Human Rights, the court found no breaches in Estonia.

In 2012 the time needed to resolve cases in Estonia decreased in most categories of judicial proceedings compared with 2011. Altogether the length of the proceedings — for both resolved and pending cases — has decreased 4.4% for civil cases, 34.1% for misdemeanor procedures and 23.4 % for criminal proceedings.

The reasons behind the contraction of the proceedings time are both the reorganisation of the work of courts and changes to laws.

Source: Estonian Review

Court annuls mayor’s speeding ticket

Harju County Court quashed Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar’s 320-euro speeding fine and compensated his lawyer’s 993-euro fee because a protocol for use of the radar gun had not been signed.

Along with the fine, the mayor’s driver’s license was also taken away for four months after Savisaar’s Mercedes was last June clocked at 84 kph in a construction zone on Narva mnt where the speed limit was 50 kph.

At a court session last week, Savisaar said he felt the police had singled him out, because he had been going the speed of traffic and was surprised to find out he had been speeding.

In a comment to the press today, Savisaar said: “I did not really commit the traffic violation. But what do you think would have happened if I had gone to court alone, without a smart lawyer? A regular person would have been stomped on because in a he-said, she-said dispute they would more likely believe the police officer.“

Read more from Estonian Public Broadcasting

Government endorses bill for full opening of electricity market

At its Thursday session, the Estonian government endorsed a bill, the full application of which will give the basis for full opening of the electricity market from the beginning of 2013. Starting from that moment the state will no longer regulate the electricity price and all consumers can freely choose the electricity seller, the government communication offices said.

In the future consumers will have the free choice of electricity seller regardless of what grid company’s clients they are. The opening of the market pertains to the purchase of electricity, while the grid services fee will remain under the price regulation of the Competition Authority. The price of electricity will account for about 35% of an average retail electricity user.

According to an explanation of the Economic and Communications Ministry, the bill lays down as the most important point the term of general service: if the electricity consumer has not chosen a new electricity seller and has signed a contract with it, it will automatically be buying electricity as a general service.

The price of electricity sold as a general service will be calculated by the grid company on the basis of the weighted average price during the calendar month, to which it may add the justified cost of expenditures and a reasonable business profit, considering the permanent and movable expenditures, the economic value-added indicator and revenue of its stock capital.

Source: Estonian Review

New anti-corruption law is toothless

Although the new draft amendment of the anti-corruption law is an improvement since it requires that politicians and state officials declare their assets in more details, it still falls short of what is adequate.

As a reaction to the recent scandal involving MP Jaanus Rahumägi, the new law requires that officials declare also housing they they have used for more than four months in a given year although they don’t own it or a car that they lease,  writes Äripäev.

Although minister of justice Rein Lang claims that the new draft act is a major improvement and obligates officials to list assets that they use for an extended time, but don’t own, there is a limitation that such declaration is required only if such assets are used at least four months in a year.

Read more from: BBN

Tallinn to be capital of European Law in 2012

A conference of the International Federation for European Law (FIDE) will take place in Estonia in 2012, and in connection with this Tallinn will serve as the capital of European law for that year.
Julia Laffranque, president of FIDE Estonia, said that Estonia will be the first country from Eastern Europe to host the conference. The event, held every two years, brings together more than 500 lawyers from all over the world.
The conference that presumably will take place in Tallinn at the end of May or in early June 2012 is expected to focus on three topics: the protection of human rights in Europe; relations between energy, environment and competition policy in the EU; and legal aspects of the information society in Europe based on freedom, security and law.
A year earlier, at the end of May 2011, a high-level delegation made up of national FIDE presidents will come to Estonia to look at preparations for the conference.
Laffranque added that the idea to choose capitals of European law in addition to European capitals of culture and green capitals emerged in the course of preparations for the conference. Tallinn will be the first city to bear this title.

Source: Estonian Review

Tallinn to be Capital of European Law in 2012

A conference of the International Federation for European Law (FIDE) will take place in Estonia in 2012, and in connection with this Tallinn will serve as the capital of European law for that year.

Julia Laffranque, president of FIDE Estonia, said that Estonia will be the first country from Eastern Europe to host the conference. The event, held every two years, brings together more than 500 lawyers from all over the world.

The conference that presumably will take place in Tallinn at the end of May or in early June 2012 is expected to focus on three topics:

  • the protection of human rights in Europe;
  • relations between energy, environment and competition policy in the EU; and
  • legal aspects of the information society in Europe based on freedom, security and law.

A year earlier, at the end of May 2011, a high-level delegation made up of national FIDE presidents will come to Estonia to look at preparations for the conference.

Laffranque added that the idea to choose capitals of European law in addition to European capitals of culture and green capitals emerged in the course of preparations for the conference. Tallinn will be the first city to bear this title.

Source: estonia.eu

Rates of excise duty

Excise duties are levied on tobacco, alcoholic beverages, motor fuel, motor vehicles and packages.

Read more from Estonian Tax and Customs Board
01.01.2010

Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act1

(14.06.2007 entered into force 01.01.2008 – RT I 2007, 45, 319)

Short car rent with driver is illegal

 There are drivers in Tallinn, who claim to offer short car rental with a driver, city’s Transportation Board said it’s new form of illegal taxi service, ERR News reports.

When client buys car rental service, then the parties should sign a rental contract and these shouldn’t have a taximeter.

Municipal police discovered to CAN car rental cars in Õllesummer. They had taximeters, which is official attribute of taxi and they didn’t have licence card, which is official attribute of a rental car. One of the drives has been fined, the second one will be fined as soon as he/she has been caught.

Source: BBN

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.