The Economic Summit Of Orlando

876 WordsJun 5, 20154 Pages
One of the more unusual claims to come up at the recent economic summit in Orlando was this one from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: "You can fill out your tax return in Estonia online in five minutes." Now, we knew that 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis supposedly read books on Swedish land use planning for fun, but does Bush really spend his time studying up on tax administration policies in Estonia, a Baltic nation with roughly 1.3 million people? More importantly -- five minutes? Really? With tax compliance in the United States estimated to cost upwards of $107 billion in 2005, we knew we had to take a closer look. We started by asking aides to Bush -- who is preparing to officially announce his candidacy on June 15 -- for supporting evidence. They sent us links to two articles. In 2012, the website Business Insider called Estonia’s tax system "scarily efficient," noting that "the process takes an average of five minutes." The following year, The Economist agreed, reporting that "filing an annual tax return online, as 95% of Estonians do, takes about five minutes." We decided to go a step further and check with actual Estonians. So we contacted four journalists in Estonia who have not only written about economic policy but have filed taxes there themselves. Here’s the kicker: It turns out Bush was over-estimating how long the Estonian system takes. • "Yes, it is possible to file a tax return in Estonia online in five minutes. And probably even
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