Latvians pay taxes willingly, says tax chief

The majority of taxpayers in Latvia, or 57 percent, pay off their due taxes on their own free will, the Baltic country’s tax chief Ieva Jaunzeme said at a public leadership conference Friday.

Jaunzeme, who heads the State Revenue Service, said that this is a fairly good result, given that in some countries only 5 percent of taxpayers pay their taxes voluntarily.

“A professional and fair Revenue Service will encourage people to pay their taxes, but people should change their attitude as well,” Jaunzeme said, stressing that if the tax authority turns a blind eye on non-payers, nothing will change.

One of the main tasks for the future is to figure out the motivation behind tax evasion and to take an individual approach to each taxpayer, Jaunzeme said.

She said that just like private businesses, the revenue service is segmenting its clients, dividing them into reliable, supervisable and encourageable taxpayers. The tax authority has full trust in the first group and works with the supervisable and encourageable taxpayers to help solve their issues.

The rest of the revenue service’s clients are divided into unregistered, unsustainable and restrictable taxpayers. The latter group includes clients whose operations are undesirable and must be restricted by all means at the revenue service’s disposal.