On 10 September, the European Court of Justice made a decision in case No C-266/14 in which they found that the time, which is used by employees with no fixed place of work to travel from home to the first client and from the last client to their homes, must be included in working time.
The Board of the Chamber met at the end of September and discussed, among other issues, the report of the Estonian Research and Development Council The Network and Directions of Estonian Universities, Research Institutions and Institutions of Professional Higher Education.
The Ministry of Finance has prepared a draft Income Tax Amendment Act, the main aim of which is to transpose the requirements arising from the Parent Companies and Subsidiaries Directive (Council Directive 2011/96/EU). Furthermore, it aims to eliminate the difference in the treatment of resident natural persons and non-resident natural persons in calculating and carrying forward loss yielded upon disposal of securities.
The Chamber has sent its proposals regarding the draft Public Procurements Act to the Ministry of Finance. Among other things, we made a proposal to establish additional criteria for more efficient prevention of bidding below price. For example in case of public procurements for construction works, there could be a requirement that the salaries of the employees of the sub-contractor must be at least 70% of the average of the respective sector.
The Chamber of Commerce has made a proposal to the Ministry of the Environment and the Environmental Committee of the Riigikogu to exempt smaller companies from the new obligation to audit their packaging reports. The average cost of auditing is 800-2000 euros, thus it is a significant additional cost for smaller companies.. The Chamber found that so far there have been no analyses on if the gains from auditing is proportional with the increased administrative burden and costs of companies. Both the Minister of the Environment and Chairman of the Environmental Committee of the Riigikogu agreed with the proposal of the Chamber.
From 1 July over 225 legal acts enter into force, but the majority of them have no significant impact on the activities of entrepreneurs. A positive example concerns the Taxation Act according to which the state has to notify of any changes in taxes at least six months in advance. From July, changes in the Commercial Code also enter into force, giving private limited companies better opportunities for organising their activities, relationships between shareholders as well as between investors. Other important changes involve construction and planning. Below you can find an overview of some of the legal acts that enter into force on 1 July.
Last week a business delegation organised by the Chamber accompanied the President of the Republic Mr Toomas Hendrik Ilves during his official state visit to Germany. Estonian and German entrepreneurs said that applying new ideas in traditional industry gives businesses a great competitive advantage. This is where the two countries could successfully cooperate.
Recently, the Chamber made a proposal to the Ministry of Finance to increase the tax-free rate of the daily allowance for assignments abroad. Although the cost of living has significantly increased, the tax-free rate of daily allowance has not changed for 14 years.
On Wednesday, 13 May 2015 a business delegation from Kenya will be visiting Estonia.
On that occasion, the Chamber of Commerce is organising a Business Seminar. The seminar will give an overview of the Kenyan economy and business climate, introduce the companies in the Kenyan delegation, after which it is possible to meet the representatives of the companies.
This Monday, 27 April, the Chairman of the Board of the Chamber Toomas Luman sent to the Government of the Republic the Chamber’s positions regarding scrapping the value added tax exemption for the accommodation sector as well as the planned increase of fuel excise duty. In addition to emphasising the critical importance of the impact of both planned changes, the Chamber proposed considering other sources for covering the budget hole, which arises from decreasing labour costs, which is important for employers. One alternative, which could be analysed, is the proposal to increase the general value added tax rate by 1 percent, which in 2016 would increase the state budget revenues by an estimated 85-100 million euros. This could be one concrete alternative for the cover sources currently on the table, the influence of which on business, and most importantly on the exporting sectors would be lower.
At the general meeting held on 22 April 2015, the members of the Chamber approved the 2014 annual report and elected the new Board, which consists of 15 members. The new Board will meet for the first time at the beginning of May.
Toomas Luman, Chairman of the Board of Nordic Contractors AS was elected the Chairman of the Board with 207 out of 214 votes in favour.
A meeting to discuss issues related to packaging auditing took place on 10 March at the Chamber of Commerce. The participants in the meeting were entrepreneurs and representatives of the Ministry of the Environment and the Board of Auditors.
The Board of the Chamber of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry announces that the regular general meeting of members will take place on 22 April 2015 at 14:00 at hotel Euroopa (Paadi 5, Tallinn).
The Foreign Trade and Entrepreneurship Minister has signed the Start-up Assistance Regulation that establishes the conditions for paying start-up assistance to start-up companies. The assistance financed from the European Regional Development Fund is meant for supporting starting entrepreneurs who have little entrepreneurship experience.
On Thursday, 12 March 2015, business delegations from Macedonia and Serbia will be visiting Estonia.
Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry would like to invite companies to participate in the business seminar at the Chamber (Toom-Kooli 17, Tallinn). The seminar will be followed by B2B meetings with the representatives of the companies in the delegations.
Business Morning with the Chairman of Turkey-Estonia Business Council, Mr. Galip Ilter will take place on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 from 09:00 to 12:00.
Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is inviting companies to participate in individual meetings with Taiwanese companies on Friday, 24 April 2015.