EU IT Agency co-rapporteur visits Estonia

Alexander Alvaro, a rapporteur of the European Parliament on the European Union’s IT agency, will Thursday arrive for a two-day visit to Estonia in order to familiarise himself with the Estonian bid to become the host country of the agency.
Alvaro, elected to the European Parliament from Germany, will meet with Interior Minister Marko Pomerants, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Keit Pentus, and members of the parliamentary European Affairs Committee, and will visit the NATO Cyber Defence Centre and the Estonian ICT Demo Centre.
Alvaro is coming to Estonia at the invitation of MEP Kristiina Ojuland, spokespeople for the Reform Party said.
In April the Interior Ministry sent to member countries of the European Union the official Estonian bid for becoming the host country of the IT agency of the EU.
According to the bid Estonia is prepared to put up a new main server building and cover the costs of construction. The exact location of the building depends on concrete terms but some state-owned property where the necessary development has already been carried out will certainly be preferred.
If Estonia becomes the host country of the new agency, suitable rented premises for its headquarters for the first year of work and a free office building accommodating at least one hundred employees for the future would be granted. The plans include setting up a respective group to support the activity of the agency. Estonia for its part is prepared to invest nearly 17 million euros in the agency to be established for operational management of large-scale IT systems of the law, liberty and security spheres. Additionally, the state is prepared to invest in opportunities of study for children of the agency staff in accordance with the European School syllabus.
The host country of the agency to be started in 2012 will be decided by the member states. In addition to the Estonian bid, France has also filed its application.

Source: Estonian Review

New sales tax enters into force in Tallinn

New sales tax enters into force in Tallinn today.  Sales tax is a tax that is charged on goods and services sold in Tallinn territory. Tax limit is set on 1%. Some goods and services are not taxed. According to BBN Reform Party and IRL already plan to introduce draft legislation that would abolish Tallinn sales tax from January 2011.

More about the local taxes:

In Estonian fiscal system, local taxes may consist of head tax, sales tax, boat tax, animal keeping tax, advertisement tax, road and street closure tax and the entertainment tax.

Local taxes put into effect by the City Council of Tallinn are the following: advertising and publishing tax,tax for closing streets and roads, sales tax and boat tax.

On 12.12.2002 Tallinn City Council enforced the Advertisement Tax Regulation with their regulation no 75. The within-named regulation entered into force on 01.01.2003 and fundamentally changed the existing advertisement rules.

According to the new rules the object of taxation is an advertisement, which is displayed in Tallinn in:
– public areas outside the interior premises of a building;
– on the outside of city-line buses, trams, trolley buses and taxis.

A taxpayer is the direct owner of a possession that displays the advertisement. In case of buses, trams and trolley buses it is the owner of the public transport license. In case of a taxi it is the owner of the taxi transport license.

From now on the city district does not issue the advertisement licenses but the taxpayer must submit a tax return regarding advertisement tax. Tax return must be submitted to the tax administrator in his office on the work day subsequent to first display at the latest or to send it by mail, mailing it on the work day subsequent to first display at the latest.

Taxpayer is liable to taxation from the first day of displaying the advertisement. The tax must be paid to Tallinn City Budget by non-cash payment. The term for paying the tax is the fifteenth day as of the day of becoming liable to taxation. The advertisement tax must be paid to the bank account of Tallinna Linnakantselei finantsteenistus (Tallinn City Office) no 10220077791015, SEB Pank. In case the tax return is not submitted in due time punishment shall be implemented pursuant to § 154 of the Taxation Act.

The road and street closure tax has to be paid in case of full or partial closure of a public street. The level of taxation is differential, depending on the intensity of traffic, capacity of a road and traffic deviation caused by partial or entire road closure, time and day of closure and consequences due to unauthorized closure of roads. The closure tax varies between 200 to 6000 EEK per 24-hour period. However, the fee during night time (between 20 pm and 6 am) is 5 times cheaper.

Sales tax is a tax that is charged on goods and services sold in Tallinn territory. Tax limit is set on 1%. Some goods and services are not taxed.

Boat tax is charged on having a 4-12m long boat, yacht, and speedboat. Tax limit is set on 500 EEK for every half a meter. Boat tax must be paid by 1st of May every year. 

Official translations of different acts into English are available on the homepage of Estonian Legal Language Centre

Source: Tallinn City website

Financial services sector in Estonia

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and the Development Fund of Estonia have commissioned Oxera to conduct a study on the growth opportunities in the Estonian financial services sector to identify its compeititve advantages and further develop these. The specific focus of the study is to consider what potential there may be to increase exports of financial services. The report was prepared in November 2009.

Read the study here

Estonian kids have long days at kindergarten

According to Statistics Estonia, a child from the age of three up to the school age stays in the kindergarten for approximately 40 hours a week, which is one of the highest indicators of the European Union. In the European Union the children of the same age group are in the kindergarten on an average for 28 hours a week.

In 2008, 88% of Estonian children aged between three and the school age went to kindergarten. 84% of the children were in kindergarten for more than 30 hours a week and only 4% were there less than 30 hours a week. However, in the Netherlands, in the United Kingdom and in many other European Union countries most children were in kindergarten for less than 30 hours a week.

In Estonia kindergartens are more common childcare facility than in the European Union average. An important reason for this is that compared to other countries the availability of part-time work and other child care (hiring a child-minder, parents or grandparents are at home) are less common.

In the last four years (2005–2008) the share of kindergartens in child care has risen in the European Union as well as in Estonia, in Europe around 3%, in Estonia 10%. At the same time the percentage of children who do not go to kindergarten and who are taken care of by parents has decreased. In 2008 the share of such children in Estonia was 8% and in the European Union 10% on an average.

In case of smaller children the trend is opposite. In Estonia 17% of children aged less than three years old go to kindergarten, in the European Union 28%.  Usually these children are taken care of by their parents (in Estonia 56%, in the European Union 51%). In addition, grandparents’, relatives’ and child-minders’ support is also used.

The estimations are based on the social survey, which has been conducted by Statistics Estonia since 2004. Social surveys are conducted on the basis of harmonized methodology in all European Union countries by the name of EU-SILC. In 2008, over 4,700 households in Estonia and over 187,000 households in the European Union participated in the survey.

A child aged between three years and school age — school age depends on the particular country’s legislation.

Length of week spent in the kindergarten by a child from the age of three up to school age, 2008

Diagram: Length of week spent in the kindergarten by a child from the age of three up to school age, 2008

Source: Statistics Estonia