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The Bill that would again allow spouses to submit a joint tax return passed its first reading in the Riigikogu today.

The Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (154 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party faction, would ensure the adding up of the incomes of both spouses and the deductions made from the incomes. The explanatory memorandum to the Bill notes that before the establishment of a progressive tax system, Estonia’s tax law had always held that spouses could submit a joint tax return. The joint income tax return is based on the valid Family Law Act, as well as the logic of joint marital property.

One Bill passed the second reading.

The Bill on Amendments to the Radiation Act and the State Fees Act (144 SE), initiated by the Government, will specify the provisions of the Radiation Act to bring them into conformity with the Euratom directive and the proposals of the audit of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

As a major amendment, holders of radiation practice licences will have an obligation to submit to the Environmental Board analyses of events in the course of which persons have been exposed to radiation doses above the permitted level. At present, the Board must only be notified of the occurrences of such incidents.

The Act will be amended by including the procedure for the recognition of radiation practice licences issued in the contracting parties to the European Economic Area. So far, the Environmental Board has been guided by agreements on the free movement of services and the General Part of the Economic Activities Code Act in the recognition of foreign undertakings but the Environmental Inspectorate is in no position to check the radiation practices of these undertakings at present. The recognitions will be issued by letter through a document management system.

The European Union Euratom directive laying down basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation was due to be transposed by 6 February 2018. The analysis of the articles and the transposed provisions of the directive revealed the need to specify the Act in order to avoid possible different interpretation.

The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of one Bill.

On the motion of the lead committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Environmental Charges Act (109 SE), initiated by the Environment Committee, was suspended. The Bill would provide a specification under which the pollution charge is not imposed if the substances and compounds specified in subsection 17 (1) of the Environmental Charges Act are emitted into a water body, groundwater or soil for the purpose of cultivating live organisms, including plants, animals or fungi.

The Bill would amend the principles for calculating environmental charges for activities which cause the introduction of pollutants into the environment to feed live organisms. The purpose of imposing environmental charges is to encourage undertakings to reduce environmental damage and emit less pollutants into the environment. However, when nutrients are emitted as pollutants into the environment in the course of cultivation of live organisms, the disturbance remains minimal because the amount of nutrients emitted into the environment corresponds to the amount that can be expected to be consumed to the maximum in the course of life.

The Riigikogu set the deadline for submission of motions to amend as 5.15 p.m. on 19 May.

One Bill was dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu.

The Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (551 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party faction, provided the restoration of the simple taxation system by 2022, with uniform basic exemption from income tax in the amount of EUR 500 a month, and a uniform income tax rate. The transition to the EUR 500 basic exemption from income tax would have taken place over two years. For resident natural persons with an income over EUR 20,400 a year (or an average of EUR 1,700 a month) the current system would have remained in place for the first year, i.e. the transition year. As of 2022, the rate of basic exemption would no longer depend on the annual income, and would be a uniform EUR 6,000 a year, or EUR 500 a month.

During the debate, Jürgen Ligi (Reform Party), Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa) and Kalvi Kõva (Social Democratic Party) took the floor.

Faction Isamaa moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. 53 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 31 against it; consequently, the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceedings.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.

(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Liisa Johanna Lukk
Phone 631 6456, 53 310 789
e-mail [email protected]
Questions [email protected]