Virtual Office FAQ

 

Taxis in Estonia (22)

A natural person is a resident if one of the following conditions is met:

  • place of residence is in Estonia
  • stays in Estonia for at least 183 days over the course of a period of 12 consecutive calendar months. A person shall be deemed to be a resident as of the date of his or her arrival in Estonia.
  • Estonian diplomats who are in foreign service are also Estonian residents.

Taxation requirements also apply according to residency status.

Corporate tax status is determined by where the turnover is generated, where the profits are distributed, and where the employee is resident in the country.

Tags: Estonia, Tax
  1. According to Estonian laws, dividends can only be distributed from the previous year’s profit. It is not possible to pay out profit for the current year.
  2. Secondly, the company’s annual report must be submitted to show last year’s profit and determine the amount that can be paid out as dividends.
  3. And finally, the share capital of the company must be paid in. As Estonia has made it very easy to start a company without paying the share capital in right away, then the idea behind this requirement is that you wouldn’t take any money out of the company before you have paid your contribution.

The share capital amount can be used for business purposes, meaning that it doesn’t have to stay on your business bank account as a deposit. As soon as it is transferred to the bank account, it can be used for business expenses, paying out salaries, and so on. After the share capital has been paid in, it has to be registered in the Business Register to pay out dividends. It is also required that you declare the share capital in the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (the ETCB). This becomes useful, if at some point you want to liquidate the company and are obligated to pay income tax on the company’s profit. If the minimum share capital of 2500 € has been declared in the ETCB beforehand, then in the case of company liquidation, 2500 € of the company’s profit will be tax-free.

In Estonia, the regular corporate income tax rate on profit is 20% from the gross amount. If you receive dividends from subsidiaries or permanent establishments, then these may be tax-free in case there is a double treaty agreement signed between the countries.

There is also an option to use a reduced corporate income tax rate which is 14%. When a company uses the reduced rate, then a private person has to pay 7% of the personal income tax. However, there are several rules for when the reduced tax rate can be used.

  1. First, you can start using the reduced tax rate from the third year after the company was established. But in that case, you had to distribute dividends in the second year, otherwise the regular 20% tax rate still applies.
  2. If you paid out dividends in the second year, then 1/3 of this amount can be taxed with a reduced rate on the third year and the rest of the amount with the regular 20% tax rate.
  3. In the fourth year, you have to sum up all the dividends distributed in the second and third year, and 2/3 of this amount will be taxed with the reduced rate and the rest with the regular 20% rate.

The 7% that is withheld as a personal income tax, can be deducted in the personal income declaration in your home country (in a country where your personal tax residency is). For that, you need to get proof from the ETCB that the income tax has been paid in Estonia and then your taxes will be reduced in your home country. If a company distributes dividends to another company with a reduced rate, then the company only pays 14% of corporate income tax on that. But if the owner of the second company is a private person, and the second company pays out dividends to the owner, then the 7% personal income tax will be withheld from that private person.

So, using the reduced tax rate is rather complicated and involves different calculations and nuances. If the reduced tax rate is used, the full structure of the dividends should be known to make better judgments. If you have filled the requirements for a reduced tax rate and want to use it, then we recommend consulting with our accountants who can explain how it will work for your company.

MOSS stands for Mini One Stop Shop and is part of the VAT, but it only concerns digital goods or services. For example, services covered under the MOSS scheme include website hosting, a supply of software, access to databases, downloading apps or music, online gaming and distance teaching.

When selling digital goods and services, the regular rule is that the place of turnover is where your customer is located. So normally if you sell physical goods to a certain country, then at some point you have to get a VAT number in that country. But MOSS simplifies the process for digital goods and services which means you don’t have to get a VAT number in many different countries. For example, if an Estonian company sells digital services to different private persons all over the EU, then the company’s invoices will have an Estonian VAT number, but a client’s home country VAT rate. Meaning that your company will pay all the other countries’ VAT to the Estonian tax office who will then spread the VAT itself between those countries where the customers purchased your digital goods or services. Therefore, MOSS will save you a lot of time and money in the end.

MOSS scheme can be used only if the company is VAT liable. In Estonia, you have to declare MOSS in a special quarterly declaration. So, it is not part of the regular monthly VAT declaration, but additional reporting. You still have to submit monthly VAT declarations, even if most of the goods or services you sell, are covered with MOSS.

It is very important that you fully understand what selling digital goods and services means when it comes to MOSS. You will have to set up a very good system to gather all the information about your clients, the countries where they’re from, and the VAT rates of the countries where your customers completed the purchases, as this will greatly help from the tax reporting point of view.

Tags: Estonia, MOSS, Tax

As the name says, double taxation stands for paying the same taxes in different countries. Double taxation can be avoided, if the country where your company is established, and where you as a private person live, have signed a double tax treaty agreement. See the list of the countries that have double tax treaty agreements with Estonia.

If the countries have not signed the treaty, then the double taxation can’t be avoided. For example, Estonia doesn’t have a double tax treaty with Russia, which means that the company may need to pay corporate income tax in Estonia as well as in Russia.

In the previous section, we already mentioned that income taxes for a natural person and a company are two separate things. If a company pays out dividends, then this is taxed with the corporate income tax. However, in most of the countries, private persons have to pay personal income tax from the received dividends. This is not considered as double taxation, because these are two separate taxes.

Tags: Estonia, Tax

The standard rate of VAT is 20%, the reduced rate is 9% and 0% in some cases.

The taxable period is one calendar month, and VAT returns must be submitted to the tax authority by the 20th day of the month following the taxable period.

Usually, Tax and Customs Board will register with the VAT for those companies that engage in economic activities or prove their commencement (§ 20 (4) of the Value Added Tax Act).

As a result, the registration of non-operating ready-made companies is usually not possible for the sale of companies by sellers of the companies.

It is possible to buy formerly operating companies, including VAT registered companies. In this case, the registration of the company as a VAT taxpayer will be retained.

Estonia has a very transparent tax system and it is easy to understand for the foreigners, because of the flat tax rates. Here are some of the main tax benefits of an Estonian company.

  1. The most important aspect about Estonian company’s taxes is that you only pay corporate income tax when you distribute dividends. If you don’t distribute dividends, then you don’t have to pay corporate income tax. So, you can use all the money that goes to your business bank account for reinvesting and growing the business and you won’t be taxed for that. In that sense, Estonia is the ideal place for growing your business compared to many other European countries where you have to pay taxes as soon as you earn income.
  2. In some cases, you can take out tax-free dividends, for example if you have a permanent establishment or when you receive dividends from a subsidiary. We will discuss permanent establishment separately in the upcoming sections.
  3. And lastly, a unique regulation about the Estonian tax system is that you, as a private person, don’t have to pay personal income tax additionally to the corporate income tax when the company pays you dividends. However, this applies only when you, as a private person, are a tax resident of Estonia. This is unique, because in most of the countries a private persons must pay personal income tax when they receive dividends. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you, as a private person, don’t have to pay the personal income tax in your homeland.

It is very important to understand that there are different taxes for the company, and you as a private person. Therefore, you have to keep your personal and company’s money separate, as these are two independent persons: a natural person and a legal person.

This also means that it is not considered as double taxation when the company distributes dividends and pays corporate income tax, and when a private person receives dividends and pays personal income tax on that. We will discuss how double taxation works in the following section.

Applicants must have access to “Submit a VAT registration application”.

In order to grant access, the authorized person must enter the e-MTA as a representative and select “Settings”> “Access Rights”> “Representative Access Rights”.

On the Access Rights Administration page, you must enter the user ID of the user to be authorized and select “Access to VAT registration” under the “Individual rights” section.

Log in: https://maasikas.emta.ee/v1/login?authst=eitUBZa5iT

 

If the e-channels do not work, but you need to quickly file tax returns with the Estonian Tax and customs board, you can also do so physically.

The sample:

Tax Returns

 

In general, there are two options to pay a fee from a company in Estonia: a regular salary and a board member’s fee. A regular salary is paid for active work that is done in the company to bring value. A board member’s fee is paid for administrative tasks that are done to manage the company.

If you are the only owner and an employee of your company, then you can decide which fee you pay for yourself. You can pay yourself a regular salary, a board member’s fee, or a combination of both.

A company has to pay out salary taxes on a regular salary only if the employee actually works in Estonia. If the employee is not an Estonian tax resident and doesn’t work in Estonia, but the company still pays them a salary, then the salary taxes should be paid in another country where the person is a tax resident and works in reality.

The regular tax rates for Estonian tax residents in Estonia are 20% for personal income tax, 33% for social tax, 1,6% for unemployment tax, 0,8% for employer’s unemployment tax and 2% for pension. In Estonia, employees can also get a maximum of 500 € income-tax-free, but the amount decreases depending on the size of the salary.

If you work in Estonia and are tax resident here, then you also have to pay social tax in Estonia, which means that you can receive health insurance only in Estonia. Keep in mind that you can only get social benefits from one country. Therefore, the personal income tax can be paid in many different countries, but the social tax should be paid in a country where you live and where you need to get the social benefits.

The taxation of a board member’s fee is a bit different than that of a regular salary. If a board member is an Estonian tax resident, then all the taxes will be paid in Estonia. But if the board member is a foreigner and doesn’t work or live in Estonia, then the 20% income tax still has to be paid in Estonia. Social tax can be paid in Estonia or in another country where the board member wants to receive the social benefits.

In case you are a digital nomad and travel in different countries while working, then the salary taxation might become quite complex. If you are a tax resident in one country, then everything is simple, and you will pay taxes in that country. If, however, you don’t have a tax residency and receive a salary, then you still have to pay taxes somewhere. Otherwise, at some point, some government can claim that you need to pay taxes in their country. So, if you are staying in a certain country and doing work, then this is the country where you should pay the taxes.

Residents pay tax on their worldwide income. Taxable income includes, in particular, income from employment (salaries, wages, bonuses and other remuneration); business income; interest, royalties, rental income; capital gains; pensions and scholarships (except scholarships financed from the state budget or paid on the basis of law). Taxable income does not include dividends paid by Estonian or foreign companies when the underlying profits have already been taxed.

The personal income tax is withheld from the employees’ gross salary every month and paid by the employer.

Non-residents pay personal income tax only on their income received from Estonian sources. Taxable income in Estonia includes:

  • income from work under a labour contract or contractor’s agreement in Estonia
  • income from business carried out in Estonia
  • interest income received from Estonia (only if it is substantially higher than that of similar debt claims)
  • royalties
  • income from the lease of assets located in Estonia
  • gains from disposal of assets located in Estonia
  • directors’ fees paid by Estonian enterprises; » income of a sportsman or an artist from his or her activities in Estonia
  • pensions and scholarships

Permanent establishment is something that people are usually not aware of, but it is important to consider as it can determine where you have to pay the taxes. Permanent establishment occurs in a different country than where your company is registered, and in a location where the business management and selling goods or services happens. So, if you permanently manage your business from another country, then you have the risk of having a permanent establishment there. For example, if you have an Estonian company, but manage your business in Finland, then this might result in a permanent establishment in Finland and means that taxation will be according to the Finnish tax rules. Besides management location and permanently selling in some country, a permanent establishment might occur if you sign agreements with the clients and negotiate about the prices in some other country than where your company is established. Other aspects can also create a permanent establishment for your company in a foreign country. As taxes are case sensitive, then a tax advisor has to evaluate and analyse the nature of your company’s business and see whether there is a risk for a permanent establishment occurring somewhere else.

So, if the permanent establishment happens, then your tax residency might change, and you have to start paying taxes in that foreign country. In that case, you will be notified about the tax obligations by this country’s government. For example, the Finnish tax office might see that you’re conducting your business in Finland and therefore lets you know that, as you have a permanent establishment in Finland, you have to pay the taxes in Finland and according to their rules.

All the above means that once a permanent establishment occurs, then Estonian regular taxation rules do not apply to your company anymore. So, at the end of the year, you have to pay taxes according to the laws of the country where you have the permanent establishment.

It is important to evaluate all the risks that you have regarding the permanent establishment when starting a business. As mentioned earlier, permanent establishment mainly takes place if you manage the business or sell goods or services permanently in a different country from where your company is established, but there are also many other aspects to consider. So, it is recommended to get a tax consultation before starting a company in Estonia, just to save you money and nerves in the future and avoid arguments with tax offices about where you are obligated to pay the taxes.

Tags: Estonia, Tax

As a non-resident, you can sign in to the Estonian Tax and Customs Board’s self-service environment and use the e-services if you have:

  • the eID of one of the following EU Member States:
    • Germany (National Identity Card, Electronic Residence Permit)
    • Italy (Carta di identità elettronica)
    • Spain (DNIe)
    • Belgium (Belgian Citizen eCard, Foreigner eCard)
    • Luxembourg (Luxembourg eID card)
    • Croatia (Personal Identity Card (eOI)).

Applying for Estonia’s e-Residency

If you are unable to use the above-mentioned authentication methods, we recommend you apply for Estonia’s e-Residency. E-Residency offers foreigners secure access to Estonia’s e-services. Holders of the e-resident’s Digi-ID card can digitally sign documents and use the Digi-ID to sign in to all portals and information systems that recognize the Estonian ID-card.

You can apply for an Estonian e-resident’s Digi-ID electronically at https://e-resident.gov.ee/. Consult the same web page for additional information on e-Residency and instructions on how to submit an application.

Liability is a type of liability arising from a tax relationship that extends to a third party’s legal representative, chief executive officer or asset manager (the addressee of the liability decision) to pay the company’s tax debt. It is an obligation on the part of the corporation, ie the said one presupposes the validity of the tax debt of the company (Supreme Administrative Court decision no. 3-3-1-75-09).

Liability proceedings are a sub-category of debt recovery and are not tax assessments. The liability procedure involves an analysis of the circumstances underlying the third party’s liability, which may result in the issuance of a liability decision to the obligated new subject or the termination of the liability procedure due to lack of grounds.

It is clear from §§ 96 (1), 40 (1) and 8 (1) of the Taxation Act that the liability of a member of the management board in the recovery of his tax debt is as follows:

  • the member of the Management Board has willfully or through gross negligence violated his or her duties
  • breach of the obligation to ensure the timely and full fulfillment of the financial and non-financial obligations under the Taxation Act and tax laws
  • the default has resulted in a tax debt

The rate of social tax is 33% (20% for social security and 13% for health insurance). Besides the social tax, unemployment insurance tax at a rate of 0.8% must be paid on the gross salary (an additional 1.6% is withheld from the employees’ salary).

Employers registered in Estonia (including the permanent establishments of foreign entities) must pay social tax on all payments made to employees, except on those specifically exempted by law.

In case the company has employees who are not Estonian tax residents and who live and work outside Estonia, salary payments to these foreign employees are not taxed in Estonia and we do not submit any tax declarations about these employees.

In such case, these foreign employees must declare their income from your Estonian company in the country in which they live and are tax residents.

E-residency in Estonia does not automatically mean tax residence. It only provides the opportunity to use the e-services that the Estonian state offers. Among them is the establishment of the company. If your turnover is less than EUR 40,000 per the calendar year, you don’t need to add VAT to your invoices. If the turnover is generated outside Estonia, you do not have to add VAT to your invoices if you exceed this amount. If the employees do not work in Estonia, the labour tax according to Estonian law does not have to be taken into account.

 

In case your company has made profit, it is possible to pay dividend to the shareholders. Shareholders receive dividends proportionately to the share of the company that they own.

NB! Before the company is allowed to pay dividend, the company’s share capital needs to be paid into the company bank account.

After you have made the share capital payment, please inform your e-Residency hub accountant, so we could formulate the changes in the company registration documents

Dividends are taxed with 20% corporate income tax.

Example: A company decides to spend €100,000 of its accumulated profit to make a dividend payment. This sum is divided in the following manner:

  • €80,000 is paid out to company shareholders according to their shares of the company
  • €20,000 € is paid as the Estonian company’s corporate income tax to the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (the tax payment is made no later than on the 10th day of the following calendar month)

In the case described above, the €80,000 which is received by the company’s shareholders, may be considered their income in the country where they are tax residents. It may therefore be taxed with a personal income tax in their country of residence. Please check with a tax advisor in your country of residence to find out if this applies to you.

On 1 July 2009, the Economic Operators Registration and Identification System (EORI) was introduced in all EU Member States for identification of economic operators as regards their customs related activities. Economic operators engaged in foreign trade who register themselves in the EORI system are given unique identification numbers (EORI numbers), which will be forwarded to the EORI central database.

The use of an EORI number enabling to identify economic operators within the entire EU customs territory became mandatory for all economic operators engaged in import or export of goods, transit transportations or when performing other customs related activities.

An e-resident is a non-resident according to Estonian tax legislation. Only income derived in Estonia is taxed in Estonia.

If there is no activity or income derived from Estonia, taxes should be paid in the country where the service is provided or activity is done or income is derived from, the pure e-residency alone does not influence the foreign or Estonian taxation.

An Estonian company established by an e-resident is an Estonian tax resident. The Estonian e-residency does not automatically exempt from taxation elsewhere.

Tax residency is the place where you actually have to pay the taxes. For example, if you are an Estonian citizen, but have lived more than 183 days per year in Finland, then you become a tax resident in Finland and have to pay the taxes there.

In general, a company’s tax residency is in the country where the company is established. So, if the company is established in Estonia, then by law the tax residency is in Estonia. There are exceptions to this rule that will change the tax residency of your company, which we will discuss later in this article.

When talking about tax residency or even e-Residency, it is important to emphasize that neither is an actual residency. So, if you receive your e-Residency card, then this doesn’t make you a resident nor a tax resident of Estonia – it is a common false perception. E-Residency is not related to visa or a resident permit and doesn’t enable you to travel to Estonia. E-Residency card is a digital identity that allows you to run a business in Estonia from the distance and fully online.

NB!

  • e-Residency will not change your personal tax residency
  • A company registered in Estonia is automatically a tax resident in Estonia
  • Your personal residency may trigger tax residency for your company in your place of residence as well

To explain tax residency and citizenship, we first need to consider that there are two separate parties involved: a private and a legal person. This means that your company is a legal person, and you alone are the private person.

Citizenship only applies to a private person and is determined by your passport. The tax residency on the other hand is not the same as citizenship and is determined by tax laws. The tax residency status can be in the same country as your citizenship, but it also might be different or change in time.

An e-resident is a non-resident according to Estonian tax legislation.

Only income derived in Estonia is taxed in Estonia.

If there is no activity or income derived from Estonia, taxes should be paid in the country where the service is provided or activity is done or income is derived from, the pure e-residency alone does not influence the foreign or Estonian taxation.

The Estonian e-residency does not automatically exempt from taxation elsewhere.

An Estonian company established by an e-resident is an Estonian tax resident.

0%

There is no corporate income tax on retained and reinvested profits.

Tax on distributed profits is 14-20%.

Distributed profits include:

  • corporate profits distributed in the tax period
  • gifts, donations and representation expenses
  • expenses and payments not related to business
  • transfer of the assets of the permanent establishment to its head office or to other companies

Dividends paid to non-residents are no longer subject to withholding tax, irrespective of participation in the share capital of the distributing Estonian company. However, various withholding taxes may still apply to other payments to non-residents if they do not have a permanent establishment in Estonia or unless the tax treaties otherwise provide.

As the tax period for corporate entities is a month, income tax must be returned and paid monthly by the 10th day of the following month.

It is possible to run your company without any corporate income taxation at all.

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