You are here

ETCB's information on emergency situation

On this web page you will find the information about effects of the emergency situation on the subjects related to taxation and customs, and customer services of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB).

We have collected frequently asked questions (FAQ) for companies and undertakings who have problems, for example, with submission and payment of taxes duly.
 

Our customer services


The service bureaus across Estonia and the Paldiski customs service point are closed (initially until 12 April) and the opening hours of our customs service points have been changed (see opening hours).

All electronic channels and information phones of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB) continue to operate (see information phones and e-mails). You can also ask us questions via the e-service environment e-MTA (through the menu item "Communication" or in the footer from the link "Send a letter").

 

FAQ for business operators

Help by the state and ETCB

How do the state and the ETCB help businesses that have fallen into difficulties?

In order to relieve the financial situation of businesses, we have suspended the calculation of interests on their tax arrears for the period of emergency with retroactive effect from 1 March to 1 May.

From 1 May we will reduce interest rate from the current 0.06 per cent  to 0.03 per cent for an indefinite period. We will also reduce interest rates on tax arrears paid in instalments by up to 100 per cent in the future. At present, the maximum possible interest reduction is 50 per cent.

The state will pay advance social tax to sole proprietors in the first quarter to help them cope with the economic difficulties of the crisis. The state will transfer the amount of the first quarter’s advance social tax into sole proprietors’ pre-payment accounts held at the ETCB. If the sole proprietor has already paid the advance social tax, he or she can use the amount to cover any tax liability, either immediately or in the future, or may ask for the transference of this amount into his or her bank account.

We are as flexible as possible in debt proceedings and recommend that companies in difficulty start applying for the payment of tax arrears in instalments after the end of the emergency situation in our e-service environment or notify the tax authority of their problems in other ways.

Paying taxes and submitting tax returns

Can I simply refrain from paying taxes?

No, you cannot. The suspension of interest on a tax debt does not constitute an overall tax exemption. We understand that it is a hard time for all of us, but to ensure the functioning of the state, it is of utmost importance that people continue paying taxes as far as possible. In the present circumstances, it is more important than ever.

Do I still have to submit tax returns?

Yes. All tax returns must be submitted correctly and in a timely manner. This is necessary to enable the state to assess the real situation of businesses and to make the right decisions to help them.

Taxation of the temporary subsidy paid by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund

How is taxed the temporary subsidy paid by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund?

It is taxed like wages, and taxes are declared and paid by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Further information is available on the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund's webpage "Temporary subsidy program".

Information to be entered into the employment register

Shall an employer enter a decrease in work load into the employment register in connection with the emergency situation?

In agreement with the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Labour Inspectorate, the Estonian Tax and Customs Board assumes an attitude that the change in the work load resulting from the emergency situation on the basis of § 37 of the Employment Contracts Act shall not be entered into the employment register.

Whereas § 37 of the Employment Contracts Act is a temporary measure and the work load may vary to a significant extent during the period of applying this provision, making changes into the entries of the employment register will be unreasonably burdensome and shall not carry the purpose of collection. Not an amendment of the terms of the permanent employment contract is in question, including the changes in the work load.

However, if the employer and the employee have agreed that the employee will work henceforth with a partial work load, then this is a permanent amendment of the employment contract which shall be entered into the employment register as well.

Shall the employer enter also a holiday without pay into the employment register in connection with the emergency situation? If the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund pays the compensation for the wages or salary to the employee concurrently with the payment of wages or salary by the employer to the employee at least 150 euros, shall the holiday without pay be entered into the employment register?

The agreement about the holiday without pay is the agreement between the parties based on § 12 of the Employment Contracts Act and during that period the employer shall not pay wages or salary or make any other payments to the employee. The employment relationship is stopped for the period of the holiday without pay and this shall be reflected in the employment register as well.

The amendment of the work load shall be entered into the employment register if it takes place by the agreement between the parties based on § 12 of the Employment Contracts Act, as well as the period of the holiday without pay, because at this time the employment relationship is stopped or the parties have agreed that the terms of the employment contract are not temporarily fulfilled. By agreement between the parties, the holiday without pay shall be entered into the employment register if it lasts for more than one calendar month.

If the employer, however, makes partially payments to the employee, not an agreement of the holiday without pay is considered but the temporary amendment of the terms of the employment contract for the other reasons. If the employer fails to provide the employees with work, but pays average wages or salary, based on § 35 of the Employment Contracts Act, this shall not be entered into the employment register.

Likewise, if the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund pays the compensation for the wages or salary to the employee and the employer pays the wages or salary at least 150 euros, not the holiday without pay is considered for the purposes of § 12 of the Employment Contracts Act and this shall not be entered into the employment register.

Difficulties in paying taxes

What should I do if I have difficulties in paying taxes due to an emergency situation/crisis?

First of all, it should be noted that during the emergency situation period (from 1 March to 1 May 2020), the ETCB does not calculate interest on tax arrears.

If it is possible to pay the tax within a month, there is no need to contact us and to apply for the payment of tax arrears in instalments. We are not going to start the recovery of tax arrears incurred during the emergency situation at the normal pace (for example, we will not seize bank accounts immediately). If you want to participate in a public procurement procedure or apply for grants or permits from the state or a local authority, you should certainly consider applying for the payment of tax arrears in instalments. The same applies to the situation where it is evident that your troubles are going to last longer.

However, all tax returns must be submitted correctly and on time so that the state can assess the real situation of businesses and make the right decisions to help them.

Payment of tax arrears in instalments, changing the schedule of payment in instalments, suspension of interest calculation

Do I have to request for the payment of tax arrears in instalments in order to avoid interest being charged on my tax arrears from 1 March to 1 May?

No, you do not have to. However, if you face longer-term difficulties and if there is a need for a lower interest rate or continued interest exemption to be applied after 1 May, we recommend that you apply for a deferral of your tax debt after the end of the emergency situation or starting from 21 April 2020.

you have to apply for the payment of tax arrears in instalments.

Do the conditions/requirements published on the ETCB's website apply to the payment of tax arrears in instalments ?

Yes, to a large extent. Taking account of the current situation, we are more flexible in scheduling.

Can I change the previously agreed the schedule of payment in instalments?

In this case, you have to contact the tax authority in order to review your company’s options together.

If I already had tax liabilities arisen before the emergency situation, could they be left unfulfilled in the current situation?

For the persons who were already in difficulty in paying their tax arrears and were subject to recovery, compulsory enforcement remains in force (for example, seizure of bank accounts, enforcement proceedings).

According to the current decision, the suspension of interests lasts until 1 May. What will happen afterwards?

From 1 May we will reduce interest rate from the current 0.06 per cent to 0.03 per cent without a time limit. In case of the payment of the tax liabilities in instalments, the interest rate can be reduced by up to 100 per cent.

Further information on the package of economic measures of the government

Information on tax arrears

Where can I see the information of my business partner’s tax arrears? Why has the display of public tax arrears information been closed?

We have temporarily closed down the public inquiry of tax arrears, since the currently available information does not give an adequate overview of companies’ economic position during the emergency situation. Persons who have always been proper taxable persons may be in temporary difficulties at the moment and, due to the heavy burden of information on debt rescheduling, this information cannot reach the public inquiry of tax arrears quickly enough.

The purpose for the temporary closure of the inquiry of tax arrears is not to conceal information in difficult times, but to avoid putting companies in an unequal position. We are looking for ways to provide information on tax arrears incurred before the crisis, which requires IT developments.

Given the above, no tax arrears information on companies can be displayed for the time being.

VAT refunds

Will VAT refunds continue in their current form and with the same deadlines?

Yes, we will continue to fulfil our obligations in a timely manner.

Sole proprietors

How should behave sole proprietors who have difficulties in paying taxes?

The state will pay advance payments of social tax to sole proprietors in the first quarter to help them cope with the economic difficulties of the crisis.

The state will transfer the amount of the first quarter’s advance payments of social tax into sole proprietors' prepayment accounts held at the ETCB. If the sole proprietor has already paid the advance payment of social tax, he or she can use the amount to cover any tax liability, either immediately or in the future, and may ask for the transference of this amount into his or her bank account.

Interest on the tax arrears of sole proprietors and other taxpayers are neither calculated nor imposed within the period of two months, from 1 March to 1 May, neither must they pay such interests afterwards.

From 1 May we will reduce interest rate from the current 0.06 per cent to 0.03 per cent for an indefinite period. In future, we will also reduce interest rate on tax arrears paid in instalments by up to 100 per cent. At the moment, the maximum possible reduction of interest rate is 50 per cent.

In the event of failure to pay taxes, sole proprietors must still submit their tax returns on time, otherwise the state will not be able to obtain an adequate assessment of the situation of the undertakings.

If tax arrears arise, we recommend applying for the payment of tax arrears in instalments. You can find a simplified way of applying for the payment of tax arrears in instalments in the ETCB’s e-services environment. You can apply for it in the e-MTA even if the due date for payment has not arrived yet but the tax return has already been submitted.

Calculation of interest on tax arrears has been suspended from 1 March to 1 May. However, this does not mean that taxes should not be paid if at all possible – suspension of interest does not imply exemption.

Sole proprietors should be aware that if they suspend their activity in the commercial register, their health insurance will be interrupted after 2 months. Thus, those who are covered by health insurance due to their registration as a sole proprietor should rather not stop their activities.

Additional information

Where can I get answers to my tax questions?

All our service bureaus are closed due to the emergency situation. Business operators are kindly asked to contact us at ariklient@emta.ee and on the phone 880 0812.

For customs matters, please write to tollinfo@emta.ee or call on 880 0814.

We answer private clients’ and sole proprietors’ questions at eraklient@emta.ee and on the information line 880 0811.

For technical questions about the e-service environment e-MTA and for guidance, please email e-maks@emta.ee or call 880 0815.

You can also ask us questions via the e-MTA (through the menu item "Communication" or in the footer through the link "Send a letter").

In addition, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has established a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs and compiled the FAQ (PDF), information can also be obtained by e-mail covid19@mkm.ee.

The country’s general emergency hotline is 1247.

01.04.2020