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Estonia: The Riigikogu passed the Act protecting consumers’ interests in e-commerce

NordenBladet — At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu approved the Act which strengthens the protection of consumers’ interests in e-commerce and improves the cooperation between authorities in detecting and resolving cross-border infringements.

The Act makes amendments that are necessary to implement the new directly applicable EU Regulation on the enforcement of consumer protection laws and cooperation between authorities (‘the CPC Regulation’). In addition, the procedural rules of the Consumer Disputes Committee is made more flexible.

The CPC Regulation directs Member States to ensure supervisory authorities sufficient powers which allow for effective monitoring in the digital environment. Therefore the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority is given additional rights – the right to obtain information from all persons (including from credit institutions) when identifying the person responsible in a transaction. The Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority is also given the right to prevent access to web interfaces (e.g. e-shop, mobile application) to ensure consumers’ rights. The exercise of the rights must be justified and proportionate in view of the nature and the overall potential harm of the infringement. With a view to implementing the Regulation, sanctions are amended and harmonised in the areas covered by the CPC Regulation.

Amendments are made to the procedure of the Consumer Disputes Committee in order to enhance and simplify the alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes. For example, it is possible to resolve disputes in a single-member committee, and by way of written proceedings without a sitting with the consent of the complainant.

91 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act on Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (103 SE), initiated by the Government.

The Riigikogu passed another Act:

The Act on Amendments to the Tax Information Exchange Act (89 SE), initiated by the Government, addresses the exchange of information in relation to arrangements that have an impact on taxation, the exchange of financial account information or the identification of beneficial ownership.

The main interest of tax authorities is to obtain information on aggressive tax-planning schemes that abuse loopholes between national tax laws. Aggressive tax-planning cannot be defined by standard hallmarks that would be constant in time, thus the Minister of Finance establishes by a Regulation a list of hallmarks that the relevant arrangements must meet when they are reported to tax authorities. A test that may present an indication of aggressive tax-planning or activities through which assets can be concealed is provided for.

In particular, providers of tax advice operating in Estonia who have developed a scheme must file information. The taxpayer files information concerning schemes commissioned from third countries or developed in-house. The taxpayer must also report arrangements in the cases when the lawyer or auditor who developed the arrangement does not file the information due to the obligation to maintain professional secrecy arising from law if the client does not exempt them from the obligation.

An arrangement must be reported to the tax authority within 30 calendar days, beginning on the day after the arrangement is transferred, or is ready for implementation, or when the first step in its implementation has been made, whichever occurs first. Tax authorities communicate the information collected to a central directory maintained by the European Commission.

88 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act.

 

Source: Parliament of Estonia

 


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