Telecommunication company Ericsson recently released an hour-long, documentary-style film called “Life in a networked society” about e-services in Estonia.
“Life in a networked society” looks into Estonia’s e-elections, e-taxes, e-school, e-medicine and other innovative solutions in public services which cut bureaucracy and costs.
The film includes conversations with decision-makers such as Minister of Economic Affairs and Communication Juhan Parts, IT Technology College associate professor and board member Linnar Viik, and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
Ilves recounts how the e-tax system came about: “Probably the first big thing was doing your tax return online. By the end of the 1990’s, 97-98 percent of people were filing their tax returns online. It’s so much easier because all your numbers are handy there. You don’t have to sit there and add things up. And this had an additional effect of dramatically increasing compliance. People paid their taxes more efficiently, which allowed us to actually reduce tax levels and suddenly the Estonian government found out that they had budget surpluses because more people were paying taxes.”