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Study: Willingness of the people of Estonia to pay taxes is improving, knowledge and attitudes of the young people about taxes shall fall behind the people of a more advanced age

5 December 2019

The willingness of the Estonian citizens to pay taxes has been improved during a year and more and more people will find that payment of taxes is not easy to avoid.  Even 92 per cent of the people of Estonia consider payment of taxes their essential obligation, as became evident from the public opinion poll ordered by the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB).

According to the words by Riin Pärnamets, in charge of the polling in Eesti Uuringukeskus conducting the poll, the results will show that, in general, the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of the people in the area of taxation have remained the same as the last year or have been improved a little.

The youngest target group or the people of 15 to 24 years of age still has insufficient knowledge of the tax system in Estonia as compared to the others and the greater readiness for undeclared working.

“60 per cent of the people of 15 to 24 years of age only knows how and whereon to pay taxes. In the age group of the people 65 to 74 years of age even 95 per cent knows this”, said Pärnamets. “However, little knowledge brings about the greater readiness for evading taxes, for example, for receiving concealed salaries. Compared to the results of the poll in last year, the attitudes of the young people have changed a bit more for the negative.”

As to the words by Valdur Laid, the general director of ETCB, the study about the willingness to pay taxes will give an objective view about the background of the Estonian people’s tax performance which enables for the Board to direct its activities better.

“It is essential to know for us that the willingness of the people to pay taxes has grown yearly, but at the same time the study will map the target groups and problems whereon we have to focus,” said Laid. “Taxes shall be paid willingly if people understand why this is necessary and if payment of taxes is simple. ETCB gives advice where necessary, we develop new services as well making the life for the taxpayers simpler. At the same time we react against tax risks sufficiently early and ensure fair tax competition  - tax evasion is expensive and inconvenient.”

According to his words, the scanty knowledge of the young people is surely a subject to discuss and to seek solutions more broadly. The officials of ETCB themselves are giving lessons to the young people, available implements shall be designed for teachers as well in order to dispense the knowledge about taxation.

Comparing the study about the willingness to pay taxes with the poll conducted in 2018, the number of those respondents has grown who consider it probable that ETCB shall fine them who leave a part of their income undeclared (the increase is by 5 per cent), in whose opinion the taxation system in Estonia is simply comprehensible (by 12 per cent) and fair (by 6 per cent).  At the same time the number of those people who pay all taxes always correctly is decreased (by 7 per cent). If a year ago 26 per cent of the people answered that it was easy to evade paying taxes, then now the percentage has fallen to 14.

The Estonian citizens consider ETCB rather trustworthy, efficient and cooperative. As compared with the last year, the number of those people considering the Board to be directed at guidance of the people has grown. The share of those considering ETCB too rigid has decreased a little.

1200 respondents at the age of 15 to 74 years, found by random selection, had participated in the polling and who had been questioned in August and September this year. The polling was conducted for the second year running.

The polling is accessible in full here:

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