Nearly all Estonia's taxpayers file returns via net

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The Independent Online

Virtually all of Estonia's taxpayers used the internet to file their 2009 income tax returns by the deadline, which fell on the last day of March, tax officials said Friday.

The Estonian Tax and Customs Department confirmed that 92 percent of the country's 556,234 taxpayers required to file annual income tax returns did so electronically, cutting costs for tax collectors.

"Development of public IT-services is very important in Estonia generally and also at the Tax and Customs Department," Dmitri Yegorov, Deputy Director of Tax and Customs Department told local media Friday.

"It makes life more convenient for citizens on the one hand and on the other hand it also helps the state to save money, that is particularly important during the current hard times in economy," he added.

Dubbed "e-stonia," the tiny Baltic EU state of Estonia with a population of 1.3 million is known for its high-tech innovation, e-government and electronically accessible public services. It was hard hit by the global economic crisis suffering an estimated 14.1 percent contraction in GDP in 2009.

Officials also explained that the number of actual taxpayers in Estonia is in fact higher than the 556,234 required to file annual returns.

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