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Taxes for Companies in Estonia 

Corporate Tax in Estonia

Starting a new business venture in a foreign country might leave you with a lot of questions about local rules and regulations. Within this article, we will explain the ins and the outs about VAT, salaries, tax treaties, regulations, and corporate tax in Estonia. Before we get into that, we would like to remind you not to worry as taxes in Estonia are easy and fair. This also reflects in business environment and the government provides many tax incentives for entrepreneurs - it is for a reason that Estonia ranks the 1st overall on the 2020 International Tax Competitiveness for the 7th year in a row. The local tax system has made Estonia a tax heaven for both local-residents and e-residents all over the world.

1. Tax benefits for companies in Estonia

Estonia has a lot to offer when it comes to running a company here, especially with local taxes.

Benefits of the tax system in Estonia are:

  • 0% corporate income tax on retained and reinvested profits
  • 14% to 20% corporate income tax rate
  • Property taxes only apply to the value of land
  • Voluntary VAT registration before legal threshold
  • Fair labour taxes and regulations
  • No annual or monthly tax fees for companies in case of no distribution of dividends, company is not VAT registered, nor has employees in Estonia
  • Equal playing field within the EU

2. Value-added tax (VAT)

2.1 What is value added tax (VAT)?

Value-added tax, also known as VAT, is the consumption tax that is based on the value of goods and services and is added to the final payable amount. Almost all goods and services that are traded with within the European Union have VAT added to their price.

In Estonia, VAT is controlled by the Estonian Tax & Customs Board, who also will receive notices about your company’s income and its activities.

2.2 Who must register for VAT?

In Estonia, when you form a company, it is not immediately given a tax identification number. You must apply for one if you want to obtain it. At the same time, VAT number is not obligatory for everyone–your company must have an annual taxable turnover of 40,000€ for it to be obligatory. Before the threshold is met, you can voluntarily apply to receive one.

Per the Estonian law, taxable income is generated when:

  • Goods are handed over to the customer or during the time when a service is being made
  • When a portion of the payment or a full payment has been made for goods or services

The time of the income that generated is established by the completion of one of the abovementioned conditions.

According to the Estonian law, your income will generally be considered generated in Estonia if:

  • Goods are shipped within Estonia or exported outside of Estonia.
  • Services are supplied to a taxable person in Estonia, or if the services are provided through a seat or a permanent establishment located in Estonia to any taxable person located in the EU.
  • A person from another EU state engages in business as a taxable person carries out distance sales to an Estonian person who is not taxable in Estonia, will be taxed in case the distance selling threshold is passed in Estonia
  • An Estonian company that engages in distance sales to a non-taxable person in the EU, is taxed in Estonia until the other state’s distance sales threshold is reached.
  • A person from another EU state engages in business transfer goods to be installed or assembles and installs them in Estonia.

In case that your company operates outside of Estonia, you cannot receive a VAT number in Estonia for your company. Furthermore, we suggest you always consult a tax professional or an accountant who can assist you with determining if the income is taxable in Estonia or in a foreign country.

2.3 How to register for VAT

To register for VAT, you must fill out an application via the e-Tax Board’s website, where you state the basis for you to have one and how your company will contribute to the Estonian economy with its operation.

Alternatively, you can now submit your VAT number application through the Company Registration Portal, if you are creating your company yourself on the same website.

Within the application, you must mention the basis for you applying – did you go over the 40,000€ revenue threshold or are you doing it voluntarily. You also must mention your main business activity, your primary business partners (if you have any) and explain if you plan to hire any employees. By this time, you should also have an EEA business bank account for your company, which you will use to pay taxes to the state.

Following the application, you will receive an answer within 5 business days via e-mail or SMS. The official answer to your case will be uploaded to your e-Tax Board account. In case the tax authorities need additional documents about your company, then they will get in contact with you via phone or e-mail within the same period.

If your company meets all the requirements, you will see your new VAT number in the official answer.

Note that the Estonian Tax & Customs Board checks regularly if your company continues to fulfil the requirements needed to remain VAT registered. In case that your company does not fulfil them, ETCB can ask you to present them documents proving your activity, or they will take your VAT number away.

2.4 Rates of VAT

The VAT rates that apply are stipulated in the Value-Added Tax Act that was drawn in 2003 and is based on the European Council’s directive. According to the Act, the current general VAT rate that applies to goods and services in Estonia is 20%, however in certain cases, it can be reduced to 9% and even to 0%. The VAT rate is generally added to your goods or services that you provide to others, and it must be added to invoices, along with your VAT id number.

Now, we are sure that you want to know more about the reduced VAT rates - so, the 9% VAT is applied if you for example sell books and workbooks, periodical literature, medicine, or medical equipment or provide accommodation services. 0% VAT rate is applied for goods or services that are meant for export, equipment and objects that are meant for operation and consumption on international ships and airplanes, and equipment that is sent out to another EU country to be delivered to a government worker.

2.5 How to calculate VAT

VAT rate calculation is a straightforward process when you need to add it to the base price of your products and services.

Example: To add 20% VAT to 100€, you must multiply 100€ x 1,2 = 120€

Calculating what is the VAT portion of 120€ is not as simple as taking 20% of the 120€, as 120€ minus 20% is 96€. The backwards calculation of VAT is done by dividing the gross amount by (1, + VAT%).

Example: 120€ divided by 1,20 = 100€

Now this is how you get the backwards VAT calculation right, and now you can assess the actual value of the product or service that you will sell or buy. This will also help you determine the price that you want to ask for on the market and if the income from it covers your operating costs.

2.6 When to add VAT

From the day that your company has been VAT approved by the authorities, you must start including your VAT number and tax percentage (20%). This must be included on any receipts or invoices that you provide to individuals that are residing in the EU and to an EU company that is not VAT registered. VAT will also be added to an invoice issued to an Estonian company (there is no difference if the company is VAT registered or not).

An invoice without VAT will be issued to an individual residing outside of the EU, a company that is domiciled outside of the EU, or to an EU domiciled and VAT registered company.

2.7 When to file and pay

A company that is VAT liable must pay it to the Estonian Tax & Customs Board by the 20th calendar day in the month following the calculation period. The same goes for the amount that your company has accumulated by giving out invoices or any other sales documents.

In case that the 20th day of the month is on a public holiday or on the weekend, you must realise the payment by the following working day.

When you have just registered yourself as a VAT liable company and there are less than 15 days left until the taxation period ends, you may submit your first declaration together with the next declaration.

Also, you must correctly store and account for the documents and invoices to be able to present them in case your company is examined by the tax authorities.

2.8 If VAT is paid past deadline?

In case you submit your VAT declaration a few days past the deadline, generally it will not become a problem. However, if you for example submit your declaration one month past the deadline, you will start receiving notifications from the tax authorities. These notifications serve as reminders. In case you ignore the reminders, you will be appointed a penalty. Your company’s deficiencies with submitting tax reports or not paying the taxes will also be reflected in the e-Business Register and that information is public – available to anyone.

2.9 Deducting VAT on purchases

Deducting VAT on your purchases of goods and services can be done only if they are related to your company and its operations. This type of tax is called input VAT. To begin the process of getting back the tax amount, you must submit all the documents within the deadline mentioned above and from that day, you will receive the repayment within 60 days.

When you do business with companies from other EU states, you usually must pay the tax rates of that specific country from where you purchase. Those VAT returns are handled by you in Estonia. You provide the documents, and the Estonian tax inspector submits an application to that specific country, where you made the purchase. Note that this VAT return approval process from the beginning until the end can anywhere between 4 to 8 months. Once it has been approved, they will return the money within 10 business days.

In case you are making purchases outside of the borders of the European Union, the rules are based on mutual tax returns and are paid in cases, where Estonia also makes VAT returns to that specific country. Another big difference here is that Estonian authorities communicate directly with the foreign tax representatives, not electronically as the case is in the EU.

In cases where there is no real business activity or purchases are not related to your company, you cannot legally deduct VAT, and may end up paying fines if caught doing so.

2.10 VAT on exports and imports

When goods and services are exported out of the EU and sold to foreign companies or customers, there is normally no basis for VAT liability as the end consumer is not within the European Union. However, it is still a good idea to register for VAT if the income is generated in Estonia, even if the customer is outside of the EU.

Consequently, imports into the EU are taxed to maintain equal terms and competitiveness on the European market. Payment of VAT on importation to Estonia is determined by customs legislations.

In general, purchases up to 22€ in value will not have VAT added to the purchase price upon import. However, this does not apply to alcohol, tobacco, or perfumes that are imported from outside of the EU. The regular Estonian VAT rate of 20% is added to most imports, while books for example only have 9% VAT added. Upon import, there might be additional excise and customs duties, which depend on the specific product that you purchased. More on that in the end of the article.

2.11 MOSS (Mini One Stop Shop)

The MOSS directive is a VAT simplification measure that reduces the costs and tax burdens on electronic communications service and digitally supplied service providers within the European Union to non-taxable persons. If the company’s the taxable turnover for services provided in EU reaches 10,000€ per year, the company must register for MOSS scheme or for VAT. If you will not use MOSS scheme, then you must register and account for VAT in each individual EU member state, where you operate. We recommend using it since it makes running your company easier and is less money consuming.

2.12 Common issues with VAT

  • Some of our clients have been led to think that they cannot operate in Estonia without a VAT number, which is not true. You can easily operate a company that does not have a VAT number. Although, co-operation with other companies may be easier with a VAT number. If your non-VAT registered Estonian company is buying services from outside of Estonia, your company is obligated to register for limited-VAT, which means the reverse VAT rules apply and you will pay VAT on these purchases to Estonia. If you buy good instead of services, limited VAT registration for your non-VAT registered company is a must – starting from the purchases over 10,000€.
  • Another area of confusion is the main place of activity. For example: Your company imports goods from China, they are stored in France, and eventually sold in Germany. This provides tax implications in France, and it becomes the main location of activity, instead of Estonia. As goods are imported, held and sold from France to Germany.
  • Many of our clients are confused about the costs that they can write off as business expenses – just because you have a VAT liable company and a company card, does not mean that you can use it for personal expenses. Here we suggest you consult an accountant to have a better understanding about tax-free expenses. We also discuss it briefly further down in the article.
  • Another problem that our customers have encountered is if their regular partners have suddenly lost their VAT number and not notified them about it. This has led them to a situation where many months-worth of invoices and bookkeeping has been made with the same VAT number than before. Only later finding out that the VAT-ID does not exist anymore, so all the bookkeeping and declarations must be done over again.
  • We strongly encourage you to keep yourself up to date with your partners and check the validity of their VAT registration through the VIES system before sending out each invoice.
  • There are also some situations where companies have somehow obtained a VAT number, even though they do not really operate nor meet the standards to be VAT registered in Estonia. This situation usually lasts about 6 months until the Estonian Tax & Customs Board take away their VAT number.

3. Corporate income tax (CIT)

Corporate taxes are collected by the Estonian government, as it is considered a source of income. You must pay the corporate income tax based on the company’s annual profits, and it follows the calendar year. In case you do not wish to proceed to making dividend pay-outs, and you will retain and reinvest the annual profits in your company, 0% CIT tax will apply to your business. All resident companies and permanent establishments of foreign entities (including branches) are liable to 20% corporate income tax only in respect of all distributions, including:

  • Dividends and other profit distributions
  • Fringe benefits (extra benefits supplementing a salary) where social tax of 33% is also added
  • Gifts, donations, and representation expenses
  • Concealed distribution of profits
  • Expenses and payments not related to business, and payments for expenses where documents are lost or do not exist.
  • Transfer of assets to the head office or to other companies

4. Dividends

Dividends might be one of the best parts when it comes to running and owning a company in Estonia, as Estonia has a low rate for corporate taxation. Although the company might be yours and you have made an investment in it with your own money, there are certain requirements the company must fill before you can distribute the profits to the shareholders:

  • Share capital is paid in fully to the company’s bank account
  • Authorities have approved your annual report
  • Distributed profits will not affect the future performance of the company
  • Share capital will not go below 2,500€ or less than half of the original share capital

In Estonia, like in most places, dividend pay-outs are made based on the annual earnings of your company. As mentioned before, 20% CIT will apply on their distribution. Luckily, no other local taxes, like social tax or personal income tax, apply to dividends if they are paid to a resident from a local company. The CIT sum needs to be paid to the state by the 10th day of the month following the dividend payments.

4.1 Dividends calculation

Dividend pay-out amount calculation is like VAT calculation that we demonstrated earlier.

For example: The annual report’s decision states that 8,000€ net will be paid out to the shareholders. As mentioned earlier, the CIT is 20%, which goes to the state. To calculate the gross amount, you need to multiply 8,000€ x 1,25 = 10,000€. This means that 2,000€ must be paid as taxes.

You might wonder why 25% instead of 20% - this is because 25% is the additional percentage of the total net amount, while 20% is the retention percentage of the gross amount.

Therefore, if you know that you will have a total of 10,000€ to pay out as dividends, you can calculate the tax by 10,000€ x 0,2 = 2,000€. 8,000€ will be taken from the retained earnings and 2,000€ of tax will be the expense for the current year.

5. Salary taxation

Determining where and what taxes you must pay, and who must pay them, can be complicated when you deal with cross-border employment and business arrangements. Below, we have brought out cases each relevant to Estonian residents and non-residents.

5.1 Residents

In case you or your employee is a tax resident in Estonia, the taxes must be paid to the Republic of Estonia according to the local laws. You can gain Estonian tax residency through physical residency only, and for the state to consider you as one, you should reside there for more than half a year within one calendar year.

5.1.1 Social tax - social security and health insurance

As an employer, you are liable to pay the social tax to the state, and is regulated by the Social Tax Act. Generally, the social tax rate is 33%, and you pay it from the income that you generate from economic activity, either by working or doing business. The social tax is used to cover your national health insurance costs and make payments to your pension funds, which you will start receiving when you retire.

The parties that are liable to pay to the state:

  • Employers (pay the state every month)
  • Sole-proprietors, or resident legal persons from their business income (pay advance to the state by the 15th of the last month of every quarter)

Also, there have been appointed minimum thresholds that establish the basis of social tax withholding. As of 2020, the minimum threshold is 540€ and applies for employers, and sole-proprietors and their business activity income.

5.1.2 Personal income tax

Salaries and income in Estonia are also regulated by the Income Tax Act that was put in force in the year 2000. The act has been numerously changed and updated after that. Income taxes are paid on employees' gross salary and is withheld by the employer who then pays it to the tax office. Currently, the income tax rate in Estonia is 20% flat.

Below we have brought out a table to give a good overview of taxable and tax-exempt income for Estonian tax residents:

Taxable income Tax-exempt income
  • Income from employment
  • Income from business activities
  • Income from property or investments (rent, royalties, interests, capital gains, movable or stationary property)
  • Other sources of income (pensions, scholarships, grants, benefits, awards, and prizes)
  • If your yearly income is below 6,000€
  • Additional two-child parent tax-exempt allowance of 1,848€
  • Deductions on housing loan interests, training expenses, gifts, donations, insurance premiums and pensions
  • Dividends (considering that CIT or income taxes have been paid either in Estonia or in a foreign country)

 

5.1.3 Unemployment insurance tax

Employer and the employee both pay the unemployment insurance tax in Estonia, each pay a different amount. The employee pays 1,6% from their salary, and the employer must pay 0,6%. Similarly, to the income tax, the unemployment insurance is withheld by the employer and paid to the state together with other taxes.

The aim of the unemployment insurance tax is to offer benefits and compensation to the unemployed, injured, or laid-off employees and add protection against employer insolvency.

5.1.4 Pension

Similarly, to most of the countries in the world, Estonia has a pension scheme, which enables people over a certain age to receive monthly payments from the state based on money accumulated over the years. Pension is regulated by the State Pension Insurance Act. In Estonia, pension is paid to the state within the social tax rate. By 2026, the age eligible for pension in Estonia is expected to be 65.

5.1.5 Management board member

When management board members perform work according to a management board member agreement, they are not liable to pay unemployment insurance contributions. Therefore, it can be beneficial for you to draw up a board member contract that gives at least minimal compensation to enable the members of your board to get access to health insurance and meet the minimal retirement requirements. The thing to remember here is that pension contributions and income tax must be deducted from the remuneration paid to the board member, and a social tax of 33% will apply to the gross board member’s salary. In cases where health insurance is unnecessary, you do not need to consider the social tax rate when deciding on the salary.

5.1.6 Employee

Within your work contract with employees, you must stipulate when will you make payments to their bank accounts, and you must send them payslips, where their salary calculations are brought out based on the salary that is stated within the contract. Within those calculations, you must demonstrate which taxes have been deducted and the amounts.

5.2 Non-residents (e-Residents)

Now with non-resident natural and legal persons, the salaries and taxes are calculated differently. There are many changes in the rules and regulations within this aspect about the facts mentioned above. Before we continue, we want to remind that we always recommend consulting your local tax advisors to find out your tax obligations that apply in your case because of differences in local and international tax regulations.

5.2.1 Employee

In case you have an employee that is performing his/her duties outside of Estonia, in most cases no payroll taxes, like social tax and unemployment tax, are presumably due in Estonia. Or, if a non-resident performs their duties on behalf of your company outside of Estonia, their salary in Estonia is not subject to income tax neither.

5.2.2 Management board member

If your company operates a lot in a foreign country–like importing and delivering goods to your customers–the likelihood that you must pay taxes in that country increase greatly. In some situations, it might be smarter to pay a board member to perform tasks outside of Estonia according to a board member’s agreement, rather than paying them a regular salary. This is because a board member can receive profit distributions rather than a salary, where high income tax rates can apply, as the income will then be taxed according to the Estonian law (link in Estonian).

For more information about accounting for an Estonian company, please click here!

6. Tax treaties

According to the Estonian Ministry of Finance, Estonia has 61 effective tax treaties with different countries around the world. Under the double tax treaties, a significant reduction of withholding taxes on various payments to non-resident legal persons and natural persons are available. To apply for the lower tax rates and avoid double taxation, the residence certificate of the recipient of the income must be submitted to the Estonian Tax & Customs Board by the 10th day of the month following the payment.


As of October 2020, Estonia has double taxation avoidance treaties with the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Isle of Man, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South-Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Thailand Turkey, and Vietnam.

Also, treaties are being prepared with Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Africa, Morocco, Oman, Tajikistan, Russia, Pakistan, Mauritius, and Qatar.

7. Tax-free expenses

There are some business expenses that your Estonian company may deduct from annual tax returns. This can be done only when the expenses are directly related to your business activities and are essential for your operations. As mentioned before, if this rule is not followed, your company may receive fines.

Generally, the expenses and costs that are named business-related according to the corporate tax rules in Estonia are the following categories:

  • Expenses covered by your customers
  • Fees paid to your subcontractors
  • Costs related to professional and support services
  • Marketing costs
  • Hardware and software expenses
  • Costs related to communication
  • The costs of transportation and stays related to business trips
  • Daily allowances for employees during assignments abroad

7.1 50 tax-free expenses for your company in Estonia

To give you a more concrete overview of the expenses that you could write off as business expenses, we have made a list of 50 direct examples with what you could claim a return:

  1. Office rental
  2. Office utilities
  3. Office supplies (pens, paper, calendars, etc.)
  4. Cleaning services
  5. Security services
  6. Internet connection costs
  7. Furniture (desks, tables, chairs, shelves, cabinets etc.)
  8. Ergonomic tools (mouse pad, footrest, wrist rest)
  9. Hygiene supplies (toilet paper, hand drying paper and cleaning supplies)
  10. Office repair costs
  11. Drinking water, rental of a drinking machine
  12. Kitchen furniture, and kitchen machines (coffee machine, refrigerator) if you have guests in the office
  13. Electronic equipment (desktop computers, mobile phones, laptops, monitors, keyboards, tablets, printers, scanners, copiers, paper shredders, computer programs and mobile apps), and their accessories
  14. Repair and maintenance of office machines
  15. Safe (for storing documents and cash)
  16. Office decoration costs in moderation (Flowers, vases, pots, pictures, etc.)
  17. Home office utilities (requires separation of office space and accurate accounting)
  18. Insurance costs of property belonging to the company
  19. Corporate liability insurance
  20. First aid kits
  21. Newspapers, professional and business magazines, or books
  22. Postage fees
  23. Land tax on real estate owned by the company
  24. Business lunches with partners of your company
  25. Food and beverage to welcome guests (coffee, sugar, milk, candy, biscuits, fruits etc.)
  26. Parties (Christmas, company anniversaries for customers and partners, etc.) with cost limitations
  27. Accounting services
  28. Legal services (lawyers, tax consultants, financial manager services)
  29. Marketing services and all kinds of services related to internet marketing
  30. Business coaching
  31. Secretarial or virtual assistant services
  32. Translation services
  33. Advertising costs (offline and online)
  34. Mailing list management
  35. Development of the company’s CVI (corporate visual identity – logo, colours, business cards, etc.)
  36. Business cards for company representation
  37. Costs of participating in trade fairs
  38. Product samples that are distributed for advertising
  39. Sports allowance (100€ per quarter)
  40. Employee transportation (more than 50km)
  41. Parking fees
  42. Web management services and plug-ins
  43. Sponsorship, if the intention is product promotion (requires proof)
  44. Training/courses for employees at home or abroad
  45. Contract fees related to investments, notary fees
  46. Stolen or destroyed goods
  47. Banking fees
  48. State fees, even the registration of a company if articles of association are provided
  49. Moving expenses
  50. Work clothes

As a disclaimer - this not a closed list nor an official list of examples that you may write off as business expenses - it is made just to give you an idea. We always recommend you consult a professional and see what is best for your specific case.

8. Expenses when traveling for work

As mentioned before, there is some money that you may get back with tax returns that are related to company business trips and assignments abroad. We have put this into a separate category, as this is one of the questions that our clients have questions about.

8.1 Tax-free business-related traveling expense examples:

  • Travel agency services (travel arrangements)
  • Mission expenses for training and conferences (accommodation, transport, daily subsistence allowance abroad)
  • Daily subsistence allowance for self-employed persons and employees abroad (for the first 15 days per month up to 50€ per day per, further up to 32€ per day).
  • Parking fees
  • Car compensation can also be paid, for example, for driving to an office supply store
  • Public transport tickets related to performance of job duties
  • Professional conferences and fairs home and abroad
  • Up to 335€ per month car compensation while keeping a diary (separate rules apply and must be declared)

Note that for non-residents tax-free expenses work a bit differently:

In case you or some of your employees work from a different country, then the rates and regulations that apply come from the same country, where the work is performed and where the tax residency is. Which means that if some expense is not deemed tax-free, you will not be able to use the Estonian rates. Consequently, if that employee is sent on a business trip to a third country, those regulations will also come from the country in which they are tax residents.

9. Land tax

In Estonia, land tax or property tax is based on the Land Tax Act. Generally, the tax amount must be paid by the owner of the land and paid into government’s annual budget. As said before the taxable amount is based only on the value of land, not by the value of the property on it. The amount is calculated by the Tax & Customs Board, with an annual tax rate of 0.1% to 2.5%. The rate depends and varies based on its location (link in Estonian).

All tax information regarding your land - amount, payment dates etc. can be found on e-Tax Board’s homepage by logging in and selecting “Taxes”–> “Other taxes”–> “Land tax”.

All land tax notices will be given to you on an annual basis and it is usually done by the 15th of February. If you have property in Estonia, we recommend you register your e-mail in the system or regularly check so you can get proper notice, as no tax notices are sent by physical mail. In case you have not received a notice by the 25th of February, you are required to reach out to the tax authorities within 30 days. Furthermore, all incorrect tax information must be corrected and in case of no notice, you need to write to the local municipality or city government yourself.

Taxes that are up to 64€, must be paid in the full amount and all at once to the government by the 31st of March. In cases where the tax amount is over 64€, you must pay 64€ as the first payment within the deadline mentioned earlier, and the second by the 1st of October. The payment must be done directly to the ETCB’s bank account and you can find the requisites here.

10. Gambling tax

The gambling tax and its legislation is determined by the Gambling Act and the Gambling Tax Act. Now, before we talk about taxation within this category, you must be aware that your company needs a licence and must fill certain requirements before it can legally operate in Estonia.

Regarding taxation of legal gambling businesses, the tax is paid by the operators and the taxes must be paid to the tax authorities every calendar month. Tax rates vary from game to game and are imposed on:

  • Gambling tables and machines that are used to organise games of chance or skill, and each has their own fixed tax amount.
    • 278.23€ per gambling table
    • 447.38€ per gambling machine
    • 31.95€ per skill game gambling machine
  • Lotteries and the total amount that is received from its ticket sales - 18% tax
  • Commercial lotteries, where the winning pot value is over 10,000€ - 18% tax
  • Totalisers and the total amount of bets from which the winnings are already paid out - 5% tax
  • Online games of chances or skill and the total amount of bets from which the winnings are already paid out - 5% tax
  • Tournaments of games of chance and the total amount from participation fees collected - 5% tax

11. Heavy goods vehicle tax

The heavy goods vehicle tax is regulated by the Heavy Goods Vehicles Tax Act, and the period of taxation is the 15th of every quarter in the calendar year. Like all other taxes, this is also paid to the Estonian Tax & Customs Board. The person liable to pay is generally the owner of the vehicle, but in certain cases it can also be the user or its proprietor.

The tax rates on heavy goods vehicles are variable and the amount depends on the number of axes, the weight, and the type of suspension it has. Please take a look at the heavy goods vehicle tax rates table here (link in Estonian). The information must be aligned with the information that the Estonian traffic register has on the given vehicle. In case this information is incorrect or changes, you must notify the traffic register.

Tax exempt heavy vehicles are that belong to the Estonian Defence Forces, the Defence League (Kaitseliit), police and rescue agencies, and heavy vehicles of local government, non-profit organisations, or foundations that undertake rescue work, which are primarily used for rescue services.

12. Customs duty

The customs duty is made in accordance with the European Union’s legislation. Customs duties must be carried out by a natural person or a company when goods are imported from outside of the EU, also known as import duty. Within the European Union, there are no customs duty on goods that have been declared, fabricated, and put into circulation there. The customs duty rates are established by the common EU policy and depend on how sensitive the market is to that specific product. This is so that the competitiveness within the market will not be greatly impacted by that specific product and its import.

In Europe, there are 3 different types of customs duties:

  • Ad valorem duty – is calculated as a percentage of the customs value of goods and is the most common customs duty
  • Specific duty – depends on the weight of the good or and additional unit of measurement
  • Combinational duty – is a mix of both ad valorem duty and specific duty

Also, if you regularly engage in importation, transit, exportation or other customs operations, you also must apply for a EORI number at ETCB self-service.

When importing goods, products that have value less than 150€ will generally not receive any customs fees. However, there is an exception, if it is alcohol, tobacco, or perfume that you are receiving, there will be a customs fee between 0% to 17% added. You can find the specific tariffs and costs here.

Currently there are no customs duties upon exportation of goods outside of the EU boarders.

13. Excise duty

Besides customs duties, there might be additional excise duties and a VAT duty (discussed earlier in the article), which depend on the product type and the legal status of the importer. Each country can have different excise duty rates, but the European Commission has put the base rates in place.

There are excise duties for fuel, electricity, alcohol, tobacco products, and packaging in Estonia. The rates of the duties can vary by the sub-category of the product and its volume. The Estonian government has made their own excise duty rates and you can see them here.

Call on our experts to help you maximize the benefits of a corporate tax system built for growth

Regardless of where you are located, local taxes might be complicated. Luckily, the rules governing company taxes in Estonia are one of the most business-friendly in the entire world. We hope that you will decide to launch your company in Estonia and take advantage of the favourable tax system and the friendly business environment it offers.

In case you need help with anything within the process of starting or managing your company, or just advice, please feel free to reach out to our team!