TALLINN – In a meeting with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in Paris, Estonia's Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus stressed that it's important for Estonia to retain the right to decide about the national implementation of the European Union's (EU) minimum tax and that Estonia also wants to move forward with the digital tax which, as things stand, has been left aside.
"In October, we joined the OECD tax initiative, which consisted of two halves: a global minimum tax and a digital tax. While the European Commission hopes to agree on the minimum tax as early as next month, the digital tax has now disappeared. This is not what we agreed in the OECD," the minister said in a press release, adding that it is still of key importance for Estonia that the minimum tax and the digital tax be planned together and ideally be implemented together.
"This is the only logical way to ensure that a significant number of countries will sign up to both initiatives -- so that a bigger proportion of the international tax environment is covered and the potential benefits for all are greater," the Estonian minister said.
Another important topic discussed, according to Pentus-Rosimannus, was the national implementation of the minimum tax. While under the OECD agreement it is up to each country to decide whether or not to apply the minimum tax domestically, the relevant EU draft legislation deprives member states of this choice.
"In the negotiations so far, we have achieved an important result for us, that the Estonian corporate tax system will be maintained and nothing will change for companies with an annual turnover of less than 750 million euros. If, on top of this, the application of a nationally mandatory minimum tax for large corporations operating in Estonia also becomes mandatory, this would mean for us the implementation of two tax systems in parallel, with corresponding information systems and separate costs," the minister said, stressing that this would lead to a disproportionate cost for Estonia's currently very efficient tax collection system.
On Dec. 22, the European Commission presented a draft directive on a minimum tax, which the French presidency hopes to have endorsed at a meeting of finance ministers in March.