Individual Tax Numbers (TNs) in the construction industry – Frequently Asked Questions
What is a TN, and when will it start to be used?
The individual Tax Numbers, abbreviated as TN, must be shown on the name tags worn by all the personnel working at shared sites where many construction companies work together. This is an extension of the current work-safety rules that require construction workers to wear name tags. The Tax Administration has delivered official notices showing the individual TNs to all individuals, as enclosures of their tax cards for the year 2012 (tax card = a card stating the tax to be withheld from your wages for the year). Employees must then hand the tax cards with the TNs printed on them to their employers. The employer — or the main contractor within the building, construction and installation industries — must prepare name tags with the workers' photographs and TNs.
Foreign workers receive their TNs when they get their Finnish personal identity numbers at the tax office (or the Local Register Office if you stay a long time). Like Finnish workers, foreign workers must also give their TNs to their employers.
The start date of the obligation to wear name tags is planned to be 1 September 2012. There will be a transition period extending up to 1 March 2013 for the sites that have begun operations before 1 September 2012. But if construction begins in September 2012 or later, name tags must be worn immediately.
To whom do the new TN rules apply?
The new rules on individual Tax Numbers apply to people working on construction sites. The workers must also follow the requirements of section 52 a, Occupational Safety and Health Act (738/2002) to wear name tags with photos when working on construction sites. The name tags must have the individual's Tax Number (TN) printed on them. For the purposes of these rules, 'building/construction' refers to all erections of buildings, repairs and renovations, HEPAC jobs, demolitions and all kinds of civil engineering projects (earthmoving etc.).
The requirement to wear name tags concerns the individuals who work on shared construction sites (shared construction sites are sites where subcontracting is involved). However, the requirement does not concern those persons who transport goods to or from the site, nor does it concern workers on a site where a building (or a part thereof) is being built or renovated for private use.
The requirement to wear name tags concerns both employees and self-employed workers, thus including all independent contractors, professionals, businessmen and company partners. Everyone performing work on a shared construction site must wear name tags and keep them visible.
I am an office employee working in the site office. Will I also have to give my TN to my employer?
Yes, you must use your Tax Number (TN). You are among those whose place of work is a construction site, and this means that you must use your TN and to wear a name tag with your photo.
Where can I get my TN?
Individual Tax Numbers are printed
- On the original tax cards designed for the main occupation or the sideline occupation;
- On the explanation sheet enclosed with the tax card;
- On the official calculation for prepayments of income tax, and
- On the revised tax cards (for wage income and for nonwage compensation income) issued 14 June 2012 or later.
If necessary, you can ask for your Tax Number if you
- Call the Telephone Service at 020 697 070 (or +35820 697 070) or
- When you visit the local tax office and get a sheet of paper with your Tax Number on it.
Your employer is entitled to use the special e-service that returns all the Tax Numbers of the employees who are on the employer's payroll.
I do not work as an employee because I am self-employed. However, I do my work on construction sites. Will I also have to wear a photo-card name tag with my TN on it?
Yes, you must wear your name tag. You are not legally in an employer/employee relationship but that does not matter because the obligation to wear name tags also concerns independent contractors, self-employed tradesmen and businessmen.
Is it always required that employees must have a Finnish personal identity number in order to be entitled to a TN?
Everyone working on building sites must have a TN. To obtain it you must have a Finnish personal identity number. This rule also concerns those foreign workers who arrive in Finland for a short time only.
Do foreign workers who arrive in Finland for just one day have to request TNs?
Yes, they do. Even in this case they must wear name tags featuring their individual Tax Number. To obtain it, the worker must pay a visit to the tax office in person. However, the requirement does not concern those who just transport goods to or from the site. They are not legally required to wear name tags with photos.
It is part of the work-study programs at our trade school that teachers and students work at building sites for some time. Our teachers go to the building sites with the students to give instruction. In these circumstances, do they have to wear name tags?
Yes. Because your students and teachers spend time at shared construction sites, both the students and the teachers must wear the same kind of name tags as everyone else. They may use the name tags that your trade school has issued, with their photos and individual Tax Numbers printed on them.
Can technical colleges with students of construction and building ask for Tax Numbers and registrations for them?
Yes, educational institutions are entitled to make lists of their students that will need individual Tax Numbers. Write their names and personal identity codes into the list and have them put their signatures next to their names. Then write the name of the employee whom your educational institution authorises to act on behalf of the students to present this list as a request document for Tax Numbers and registrations. We will send the requested Tax Numbers back to this employee.
Are the Tax Numbers confidential?
Individual Tax Numbers are classified as confidential tax information that the Tax Administration cannot disclose to any other party except the individual taxpayer concerned. However, they must be shown on the name tags worn by all the personnel working at building sites.
In August 2012, there will be a new public Register of individual TNs in the construction industry, and this is where all valid TNs will be listed. After that, anyone will be entitled to search and find out whether the name or the TN of a construction worker exist in the taxpayer database of the Tax Administration. It should be noted that the TN does not show any individual's name — and, vice versa, to just know the name of an individual is not enough to let any outsider find out his or her TN.
When will the new public register of TNs be open for use?
The authorities in charge plan to open the new public register 1 August 2012. The future website address will be www.vero.fi/veronumerorekisteri.
I have read the instructions and it has become clear to me that I will never need the TN number that has been issued to me. Consequently, I request that it be removed from the official records that concern me. I am worried about some dishonest third party taking advantage of my TN. Is there a possibility for this?
The Tax Number is permanent and cannot be removed for the official tax records that concern you. It should be noted that the TN does not show anyone's date of birth or personal identity number. This information cannot be derived from the TNs. They are not used for any other purposes than worksite identification and for checks on whether workers are tax-registered. No third party can find out anyone's name on the basis of a TN. The authorities will remove the TN and the taxpayer's name from the public Register and its information service after the taxpayer ceases to be a construction worker who works or does business in the construction industry.
Will the TN be changed every year?
No, because the Tax Number is permanent.
From what date onwards must construction workers wear name tags featuring their Tax Numbers and where can I get such a card?
Many workers have already worn name tags to gain access to construction sites. The new requirement to wear name tags with a photo and the Tax Number printed on it will start on 1 September 2012.
There will be a six-month transition period that concerns the sites that have started work before 1 September 2012. This means that the end date of the transition period will be 1 March 2013 i.e. the date when all construction workers must wear name tags. When construction sites start after 1 September 2012, everyone must wear name tags as soon as they start working.
The tax office or the Tax Administration is not the place where the name tags are distributed. Instead, construction workers should get their name tags from their employers or from the main contractor of the project.
Do construction workers who are employed by foreign companies need TNs?
Yes they do. They must use their TNs in the same way as workers who are employed by Finnish companies.
Does the new TN system apply to construction companies only? Surely it will not concern a residential building that starts a renovation project?
All shared construction sites (where many companies are working at the same time) are concerned. This includes the residential renovation project sites where more than one contractor is carrying out work.
Who is ultimately responsible for making sure that all workers have TNs?
The party carrying ultimate responsibility is the property developer, i. e. the owner of the construction project. Aside from this ultimate legal responsibility, the main contractor of the site is also responsible for ensuring that everyone working there will wear the name tags with photos and TNs. Furthermore, subcontractors and similar entities must ensure that their direct employees and other suppliers on site wear the name tags.
Does the public Register of Tax Numbers show the new entries immediately after the registration at the tax office is complete?
No, the public Register of Tax Numbers does not get updated immediately. The new Tax Number will show the next day.
Where does an employer on a site get the TNs for the workers?
Employers can submit a request via www.ilmoitin.fi for their workers' TNs. The technical specification of the computer file is in here:
www.vero.fi: Etusivu > Syventävät vero-ohjeet > Sähköinen asiointi > Kehittäjät > Tietuekuvaukset > Tietuekuvaukset > Suorasiirrot ja muut ilmoitukset
TNs were also communicated to the workers when their tax cards were distributed during the December 2011 - January 2012 mailing season. Some employers will not need TNs until after 1 March 2013, and they can look them up on the tax cards or submit a direct e-transfer request for them by 31 January 2013. For more information on the direct transfer, click TN requests connected with requests for online withholding information.
Because TNs are classified as confidential tax information they cannot be disclosed over the telephone. The e-service allows the Tax Administration to identify the party submitting the request for the TNs. This cannot be done on the telephone. If the employer does not request the TNs collectively, each worker must obtain his/her own TN and then give it to the employer.
TNs are used on the name tags, but are they also used somewhere else? Will I need them when I file the annual Employer Payroll Report at the end of the year?
No, the main identifier for purposes of income tax assessment continues to be the personal identity code (not the TN). The personal identity codes are the identifiers that employers must use for Employer Payroll Reports.
I have foreign construction workers on the payroll — where can I get their TNs?
If you have foreign employees who have not yet received a Finnish personal identity number and a Finnish TN from the authorities, you should make it clear to them that they must visit a tax office in Finland. The tax office will either grant a Finnish personal identity number directly or offer help if there are complications. Workers with Finnish personal identity numbers can be given tax cards, source-tax cards or other official documentation that displays their TNs.
I am an employer. How can I make sure that my employees give me their authentic individual TNs issued by the Finnish Tax Administration?
When the authorities have created the register and made it operational, anyone will be entitled to search and find out whether the name or the TN of a construction worker exist in the taxpayer database of the Tax Administration. As an employer, you should use the tax card given to you by your employee as your source of TN information. Alternatively, your employee might give you a special sheet of paper from the tax office that shows his/her TN.
What is the proper way to check the Tax Number Register online?
Business companies and other users can visit www.tax.fi and launch the Public register of Tax Numbers checking module. Its address is found on the www.tax.fi/taxnumber page. Users can run the checks one by one typing each employee name and Tax Number into the appropriate fields. Business companies may prefer to use the direct transfer service of Tax Number information for faster multiple checking. Direct transfer requests must be submitted via the www.ilmoitin.fi website and they must contain employee names and personal identity codes. For more information, click: Specifications - Direct data transfers and other e-filings