Thanks to Entrepreneurs Several Bureaucratic Requirements Have Been Abolished
In 2015, the state started the zero-bureaucracy project during which entrepreneurs submitted 252 proposals for decreasing the administrative burden to the state. The state promised to implement 165 proposals and by today 145 requests have been at least partially abolished and implementing of several proposals is still ongoing.
Approximately a quarter of the proposals sent to the state came from the members of the Chamber. In total, the Chamber submitted 62 proposals for decreasing bureaucracy, of which the majority had to do with simplifying various reports and declarations. The proposals included abolishing the obligation to audit driving logsheets and packaging reports, and simplifying requirements related to working environment.
Some examples of the proposals for decreasing administrative burden that have been completed by now
- If an employer has hired a person with special needs and wants the state to pay social tax for that person, the employer has to submit the respective application to the state not monthly as before, but once.
- Various questionnaires of Statistics Estonia are pre-filled. For example, in 2017, the ‘Industrial products’ questionnaire was added to the pre-filled questionnaires and it will be partially pre-filled based on monthly data. The quarterly questionnaire ‘Economic activities’ and the annual questionnaire ‘EKOMAR’ are pre-filled with the working hours information from the monthly questionnaire. The report ‘Movement of labour force and vacancies’ is pre-filled with the data from the employment register.
- On 4.04.2016, the Building Register with an updated software was introduced. The electronic processing environment of the register allows user submitting applications and information electronically via the register and obtain electronic feedback on the process (including for example on approvals or comments).
- From 1 January 2018, the limit for registering as a body subject to the value added tax was raised from 16,000 euros to 40,000 euros.
- The developments of stage I of KOTKAS have been completed, as a result of which the entire procedure for integrated environmental permits and radiation practice licences (applying for a licence, submission of monitoring and annual reports) takes place in KOTKAS. Processing of the said permits in one central and user-friendly environment will decrease the administrative burden on the applicants as well as the body processing the applications.
- As a result of the amendments to the Forest Act that entered into force in 2017 and developments of the Forest Register, the automatic registration of the forest notification will take place in the Forest Register and that is applicable for all cutting (except cutting in nature reserves).
- Requirement to print out the tax obligation status of excise goods and requirement to print out the excise goods consignment note from the SADHES for carriage of goods in Estonia has been abolished since the year 2018.
- While previously, timber sale notification had to be submitted by the 10th date of the month following each quarter, then according to the amendment to the Forest Act that entered into force in 2017, the notification on the sale or purchase transaction must be submitted once a year by 10 January. Furthermore, with the amendments to the rules for the carriage of timber that entered into force in 2017, the amount of data that must be submitted to the Tax and Customs Board was decreased.
- In total 300 companies involved in road transport of goods were exempt from the obligation to submit the questionnaire “Road transport”.
- The proposal to exempt smaller heating devices from the air pollution fee has been implemented. With the amendments of the Atmospheric Air Protection Act that entered into force in 2017, the threshold for the air pollution permit was raised in certain areas of activity. For example, combustion devices with capacity less than 1 MW no longer require air pollution permit, instead they must be registered.
- The proposal to connect the first health check of an employee with the probation period has been implemented with the amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that will enter into force on 1 January 2019, according to which, the health check must be organised for an employee, as a rule, within 4 months from the date of starting work.
- The proposal to abolish the obligation to report the activities of the working environment council has been implemented with the respective amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that will enter into force on 1 January 2019. Additionally, employers are exempt from the obligation to notify the Labour Inspectorate of forming the working environment committee, starting of the activities of a company and changing the area of activity.
- Since 2018, it is allowed to manually correct data in the e-Tax Board system and add declared persons or the imported TSD Note 1 and 2 file with tax sums.
- Commissioned transport was regulated and permit requirements for taxies were simplified in the Public Transport Act.
- Applying for the residence permit has been simplified and the possibilities for applying for the residence permit have been made more flexible. The number of additional documents required to be submitted upon applying for the residence permit has been decreased.
Various proposals for decreasing the administrative burden are still being worked on
- For the TSD report, there is a plan to abolish the obligation to submit the so called zero declarations from the year 2020.
- Work is ongoing on proposals as a result of which certificates must no longer be submitted to the register of economic activities that show the employee’s connection to the employer, because this connection can be established via the employment register.
- To digitalise the documents of the construction area, there is a plan to amend the Public Procurement Act and Building Code and make submission of data on BIM principles obligatory. A respective IT development project will be prepared.
- Development of the KOTKAS information system for environmental decisions is ongoing. This system will bring together all procedures related to environmental permits from the application for the permit and payment of the state fee to the declaration of the environmental fees and preparing annual reports.
From one end the administrative burden is decreasing while from the other it is increasing
Although during the recent years, the state has implemented various proposals for decreasing bureaucracy, the administrative burden of entrepreneurs has not decreased significantly. The reason for that is the fact that each year, many legal acts that increase bureaucracy are entered into force.
The Chamber as informed the state that the state should not deal with decreasing the administrative burden as a one-off project, but this should be worked on daily and across all ministries and governmental institutions.
By now the state has drawn up a view with a longer perspective on how to decrease the administrative burden of companies. One of the most important measures foresees arranging the state’s data management, plans to decrease the regulation of economic activities and sets the goal to assess the administrative burden as part of daily work.
Should you have any proposals regarding decreasing the administrative burden, please send us an email to juristid[at]koda.ee.