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Saeima committee okays reducing excise tax on strong alcohol until end of February 2020
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    Saeima committee okays reducing excise tax on strong alcohol until end of February 2020

    RIGA, June 27 (LETA) - The Saeima Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee today approved for the final reading the bill cutting the rate of excise tax on alcohol to 15 percent until February 29, 2020.

    The tax cut is supposed to take effect on August 1, 2019.

    The Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee rejected the proposal to reduce excise tax on beer as well.

    Saeima might vote on the bill at an extraordinary meeting on July 8. The Saeima Presidium is yet to decide on calling the meeting.

    Martins Bondars, chairman of the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee, told journalists that lawmakers might still decide on the tax rate’s regulation after February 29, taking into consideration agreements on budget legislation, but that will depend on Latvia’s talks with Estonia, which are necessary to “prevent the situation where two countries engage into excise tax rivalry”.

    Under the draft legislation endorsed today by the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee, excise tax on strong alcohol will rise on March 1, 2020 as planned. The regulation has been left in place at Saeima at the initiative of Saeima member Janis Dombrava (National Alliance).

    As reported, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) believes that excise tax on alcohol should be the same in all three Baltic states.

    He said that in that way Latvian, Estonia and Lithuania would not engage in “unnecessary wars”, but would instead use the excise tax as one of the instruments in the fight for public health.

    Latvia’s latest tax measure comes as a response to Estonia’s decision to lower excise duty rates on beer, cider and strong alcohol by 25 percent as of July 1.

    Meanwhile, Lithuania’s Finance Minister Vilius Sapoka said in an interview with BNS that Lithuania is not going to reduce its excise tax rates on alcoholic beverages.

    • Published: 27.06.2019 14:36
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