Having a drink in Finland can make you stiff. And not because alcohol in large quantities could be lethal, but because of the price of spirits, which is the highest in Europe according to the figures published by the EU statistical office (Eurostat).
Just a week ago, the largest increase in excise taxes on fuels went into effect. Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Government is seeking additional revenue and and has turned its gaze towards alcohol. They see a margin to increase revenue. And in Finland, when it comes to taxes, the limit is sky high.
The controversial issue of a likely increase in alcohol taxes was raised by Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen. Speaking to the STT news agency, he said that the current coalition government program foresees an increase of 50 million euros revenue from the taxes on alcohol.
Next budget negotiations
The agreement does not specify when this increase in alcohol tax collection should be applied, and since it was not done last year, the Government can agree to it for 2021. According to Vanhanen, in the next round of budget negotiations cabinet members will discuss a timetable to implement higher taxes on alcoholic beverages.
When deciding, the government will take into account the impact that an eventual tax increase may have on the amount of alcohol that Finns import from abroad.
A year ago, in July 2019, neighboring Estonia decided to lower its taxes on booze by 25% to attract more Finns. Estonian authorities also made this decision to compete with Latvia, which in previous years had become a pole of attraction for a growing number of Finnish drinkers.