Individual Tax Numbers — instructions for use
Date of issue:
In force until further notice
New legislation authorises the launch of measures against the underground economy in the construction industry. A new Act governing the mandatory Tax Numbers and the public Register of Tax Numbers was adopted in December. It is the first tool in a set of anti-underground measures listed in the Finnish Government's political program to be used for combating the underground economy in the construction industry.
The first stage comprises the introduction of Tax Numbers (TNs) and a public Tax Number register to be maintained by the Tax Administration on construction-industry workers. The Tax Administration will also be authorised to issue Finnish personal identity numbers to foreign citizens who arrive in Finland for temporary work. In the second stage, property developers will have to submit more detailed reports than at the present time on their building sites.
1. Amendments to legislation − the first stage
The Finnish Parliament has approved the new Act governing the use of individual Tax Numbers and the public register of Tax Numbers within the construction industry on 15 December 2011 (1231/2011, HE 58/2011). Other related amendments will enter into force during 2012 on a date to be defined by Government decree. The estimated dates for the amendments are:
- 1 June 2012 — the Tax Administration will be authorised to enter information in the Population Register System about foreign citizens arriving in Finland to work, which effectively means an authorisation to issue personal identity numbers. Local tax offices are authorised to distribute issue Tax Numbers, TNs, on request.
- 1 August 2012 — the public register of TNs within the construction industry opens.
- 1 September 2012 — all individuals who work on a construction site will be required to wear name tags that display their TNs. If operations on the construction site had started before 1 September 2012, a six-month transition period will allow the site to phase in the new name tags. The end date of the transition period is 1 March 2013.
2. What is the Individual Tax Number?
The Individual Tax Number is a 12-character string of numbers that does not reveal the individual's age, sex or date of birth. The TN does not change when the individual moves on to work for another employer or to work at another construction site. All workers and employees at construction sites must have a TN.
To receive the TN, the individual must already have a Finnish personal identity number existing in the Finnish Population Register System. Citizens of Finland receive their personal identity numbers automatically on the basis of their birth certificates. Citizens of other countries must request for their personal data to be entered in the Population Register System, and after doing this they will receive a personal identity number that entitles them to also receive a TN.
The Finnish Tax Administration has assigned and distributed TNs to all individuals who were registered as taxpayers in November 2011. The TNs are printed on the 2012 tax cards (documents showing the personal tax-withholding rates for 2012) which the Tax Administration has sent to all taxpayers, regardless of their citizenship.
The Tax Administration will also issue TNs to the individuals who have been entered in the register of taxpayers more recently. This requires that the individual has a Finnish personal identity number. This procedure will start 1 June 2012.
As for confidentiality, the same rules apply to the handling of TNs as are applicable to the handling of taxpayers' tax-assessment information. This means that TN information can only be given to those who are legally authorised to know a particular individual's TN.
TNs are printed on the name tags worn by people on construction sites, and the tags must be kept visible inside the construction site. In addition, all TNs will be entered in the public register and the new searchable website where users can check whether workers are tax-registered and whether a TN has been assigned to them.
2.1. The purpose of TNs
The introduction of the new system with TNs aims to ensure that those employed in the construction industry have been registered as taxpayers before they start working. This is necessary for an efficient tax control of workers, employers, and the self-employed within the industry, because anyone will be able to check whether workers are tax-registered.
Employers can order Tax Numbers for all their workers from the Tax Administration by sending an online request file to the Tax Administration at Ilmoitin.fi. see 4.1 below.
2.2. TNs are displayed on the name tags with the workers' photos
As of 2006, property developers managing or supervising a construction site have been required — under Section 52 a of Occupational Safety Act — to ensure that all who work on the site wear a name tag with a photo. Occupational Safety Act concerns the construction sites that are 'shared', in other words, sites where more than one employer or more than one independent contractor operate.
Name tags have no formal requirements as to their appearance but the law requires that they not only show the workers' names and photos but also whether an employer /employee relationship exists or whether they are self-employed independent contractors. They must show the worker's and the employer's names, and now also the workers' TNs.
The amendment of Occupational Safety Act is estimated to enter into force on 1 September 2012, making the name tags with TNs mandatory. There will be a transition period up to 1 March 2013 for the sites that have begun operations before 1 September 2012. The transition period ensures that by 1 March 2013, all workers on all sites in the country will have TNs on their name tags.
2.3 Who must wear name tags?
The requirement to wear name tags concerns individuals who work on shared construction sites, that is, both employees and self-employed individuals including all independent contractors, professionals and any contracting parties who are in cooperation with them. Everyone working on a shared construction site must wear a name tag and keep it visible even if their work is not related to the building or construction trades. Consequently, office employees, security guards, caretakers and cleaners must also wear name tags. Additionally, if a trade-school has sent trainees and teachers to a construction site to fulfill the students' course requirements, both the trainees and the teachers must wear name tags issued by the trade-school that display the appropriate TNs.
However, the requirement does not concern people who are present on a site because they 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. Similarly, the requirement does not concern the workers on a site that does not coincide with the definition of a 'shared construction site'.
Workers will be given the name tags by their employers or by the main contractors of construction projects. Self-employed individuals must have their own name tags. Combination badges that are both site passes and name tags are permissible at some sites. Nevertheless, the main rule is that those who work on a construction site must have their TN on their name tags before they can start working and gain access to the site.
The amendment of Occupational Safety Act due for September will expand the obligation to monitor the use of name tags from property developers to the main contractors of building projects and to any parties in the role of an employer. Accordingly, subcontractors must ensure that their employees, and any partners cooperating with the subcontractor, do wear name tags. Failure to monitor the use of name tags will be punishable under Section 63 of the amended act because it will be deemed an offense against safety.
The official authorities that control the use of name tags are the representatives of the Occupational safety and Health Administration (Työsuojeluhallinto). For more information, visit (www.tyosuojelu.fi).
2.4. What kinds of construction sites does the amended act apply to?
Construction sites are areas where the Government decree on work safety in the construction industry (205/2009) is applicable. The decree defines 'construction' as follows:
To build something on land and underground and under water, to build new structures and to carry out capital repairs on existing structures; to provide technical maintenance to the buildings and structures concerned; to perform related installation, demolition, civil engineering work and to arrange and set up the work to be done on building sites. Additionally the definition also concerns the preparatory and planning phases of a future project.
Thus, the wording includes repair work carried out on a unit of real estate, including work on land, and on any buildings and permanent structures located on the land. The term 'permanent structures' refers to bridges, piers, power cables, water and heating utility networks and telecommunications networks. Construction work covers both the work related to buildings, and additionally, civil engineering on land and in the water.
To build houses and buildings not only covers construction but also capital repair work including changes, extensions, restorations, installations (of HEPAC, lifts and elevators, alarm systems and CCTV systems), finishing (special carpentry for the decorations, floor and wall covering, painting, glazing and stuccoing), rental services of machinery including the services of its operators/drivers, and the setup of fences and scaffolds for the site.
Civil engineering work on land and in the water includes groundbreaking, demolition and cleaning in connection with construction work-in-progress, the building of roads, streets, railways, airports and other structures for transportation purposes, the building of networks (for distribution of water, electric power, gas, heating, and networks for data communications, telecommunications and sewage systems) and the erection of permanent structures including bridges, piers and jetties.
3. The Tax Administration distributes Finnish personal identity numbers and TNs to foreign citizens staying temporarily in Finland
3.1. Introduction to the new procedure
To have a TN, there must first be a Finnish personal identity number. Therefore, foreign citizens must submit requests for entry in the Finnish Population Register System and for obtaining a Finnish personal identity number on the basis of the entry.
Starting June 2012, the Tax Administration will be authorised to make entries in the Population Information System — in the same way as local register offices do — concerning the foreigners who arrive in Finland to work for a temporary period and to issue them Finnish personal identity numbers. The authorisation of the Tax Administration in this matter is restricted to foreigners who stay under 12 months and for whom no Finnish domicile will be registered (i.e. no official record of a district where a permanent residence in Finland would be located). This means that the Tax Administration will usually enter the following data to the information system: Full name, Date of birth, Sex, Place of birth, Address, Citizenship, Native language and Occupation. Foreign citizens must fill out a registration form to obtain the Finnish personal identity number.
The registration form also includes questions through which the Tax Administration collects information for its own use, such as the Name of the employer or customer for whom the foreign citizen will be working, Length of stay in Finland, Start and End Dates of working in Finland, Estimated amounts of wages or compensation and Employment Status (whether they work under an employee-leasing contract, under an employment contract or as independent contractors who are self-employed).
We recommend that foreign citizens prepare for their visit to the local tax office by filling out the application form in advance. This will facilitate the process of issuing a tax-at-source card or an ordinary tax card. For more information, see the www.tax.fi article: Employees arriving in Finland/bulletin for foreign taxpayers.
After the local tax office has registered the details given on the application form the worker will be given a document showing their TN. The nature of this document depends on the tax treatment of the individual concerned. Consequently, it may be an ordinary tax card, a tax-at-source card, an explanation of the calculation of tax prepayments or a separate document indicating the TN.
It is not until this stage is completed that foreign citizens are entitled to receive a name tag from their employer or from the main contractor of the project. The name tags with photos and TNs let them gain access to the site and start working.
If the planned stay in Finland is longer than 12 months, the personal identity number is issued by the local register office (maistraatti; magistraten), not the Tax Administration. After receiving the Finnish personal identity number from the local register office, the foreign citizen can visit a local tax office to request a TN. In the case of foreign citizens staying longer than 12 months there may be family members also starting to live in Finland, and steps must be taken to have the local register office also enter the family members in the register.
Foreign citizens must visit the tax office in person when submitting the application for a personal identity number. Please note that not all the units of the Finnish Tax Administration issue them. For more information, see the list of tax offices issuing TNs on the last page.
3.2. Documentation to confirm identity
At the local tax office, the foreign citizen's identity will be checked from a passport or other official travel document. The Finnish Tax Administration will perform additional checks as to whether the individual's arrival and stay in Finland comply with the relevant requirements. For this reason it is important that the foreign citizens make sufficient documentation available to the tax office. The exact documentation requirements vary, depending on the country the foreign citizens are coming from. See below.
Citizens of EU member states or EEA countries
1. A valid passport or alternatively an official identity card of a Schengen country with a photo that enables easy identification and comparison.
2. If more than three months have elapsed after arrival in Finland, certificates of registration of a foreign citizen's residence permit will also be required. As noted above, this is not necessary if you arrived less than three months ago. For more information Registering a right of residence (www.poliisi.fi)
3. An employment contract or another written explanation of the main terms and conditions of the employer/employee relationship in respect of the work being done in Finland. This documentation is necessary because it provides confirmation that there is a justified reason for the authorities to issue a personal identity number and to enter the data in the registers concerned.
Citizens of non-EU, non-EEA states
1. A valid passport with a photo that enables easy identification and comparison.
2. In case you have arrived in Finland as a foreign citizen and the type of work that you do has not been listed in Section 81.1 of Aliens Act, you must have a valid residence permit of an employed person.
In the construction industry, the citizens of non-EU and non-EEA states cannot work in Finland without residence permits unless the work is a temporary subcontract assignment that the foreign citizen will perform as an employee of a company domiciled in another country of the EU/EEA, with a permanent employment contract, and with valid residence permits and work permits in the other EU/EEA country concerned. These permits must continue to be in force even after the date when the assignment in Finland is completed. Work may be done without a residence permit for a maximum of three months in the course of a six-month period.
For precise information on the legitimacy of residence and work, please visit the website of the Immigration Service at www.migri.fi.
3. An employment contract or other written explanation of the main terms and conditions of the employer/employee relationship in respect of the work being done in Finland. This documentation is necessary because it provides confirmation that there is a justified reason for the authorities to issue a personal identity number and to enter the data in the registers concerned.
Once the checks are made, the Tax Administration will enter the foreign citizen's personal data in the Population Register System. The personal identity number will then be issued without further delay. No fee is charged for the registration.
4. The public TN register of the construction industry
The new act contains provisions on a public TN register for the construction industry and maintained by the Tax Administration. Information on the individual TN and other registered data on the person concerned are entered in it. This public register will open in August 2012. As of August, anyone will be entitled to search and check up on an individual's name and its correspondence with a TN, in other words, whether the data on a construction worker is tax-registered or not.
When enquiries are made into the public TN register it is necessary to know both the individual's first and last names and the TN. It is not possible to only search a name or a TN as separate search inputs. Search results will tell whether the input name and TN match, in other words, whether the individual is found in the register or not. No other information e.g. no personal identity number is disclosed in answer to an enquiry or search.
4.1. Entries in the Register
When the TN is issued it does not automatically mean that the worker is entered in the public TN register. You have to request for registration. Requests may be made by the construction workers themselves, by their employers, or by the main contractors of projects. In addition, the Tax Administration may enter an individual in the register on its own initiative.
Up to 31 January 2012, construction-industry employers were entitled to request that their workers' TNs be registered at the same time with the direct transfer of their withholding information in December 2011 - January 2012. Thus, the requests made before 31 January, those workers on construction sites for whom such a request was made will automatically be entered in the public TN register that will open on 1 August 2012.
If the employer has not requested the workers' TNs as a direct-transferred information by the end of January, or if the worker concerned has started work in 2012, the employer must ask for registration separately. This request can be submitted electronically, by telephone or by paying a visit to a local tax office. The Tax Administration recommends that employers request for their workers to be entered in the public TN Register for the construction industry electronically at Ilmoitin.fi, if the request covers more than 20 TNs of individual workers. Further information on the online procedure will be available in June.
An individual's data can be removed from the public TN register on the request of the worker when he or she has shown proof that he no longer is a construction-industry employee. Examples of satisfactory proof include an explanation showing that he has moved on to work for another company which does not operate in the construction industry. In addition, the Tax Administration may remove an individual from the register on its own initiative if he or she no longer works at any construction sites in Finland.
However, removal from the public TN register cannot be effected if the employer asks for it, or if another party that originally requested for registration asks for it. Although the personal identity numbers linked to TNs are employer-specific, the TN itself is specific only to the individual worker concerned. Therefore, there is no justifiable reason that an employer or a main contractor should have the right to request removal of an individual worker's data from the public TN register. Only the individual worker is in position to decide whether a valid entry in the public TN register will continue to be necessary for him or her after he or she stops working in the construction industry.
5. Upcoming changes planned for the second stage in 2013
For 2013, a new reporting procedure has been planned to facilitate the capture of up-to-date information on construction workers and contracts. At present, a similar procedure is in use on a voluntary basis in some of the member companies of the construction companies' national federation.
The future reporting requirement calls for the main contractors to file monthly reports to the Tax Administration listing all the workers and other recipients of compensation who are currently working on the sites. It also requires all subcontractors to give up-to-date employee information to the main contractor, who then submits the information to the Tax Administration.
Any party acting as a customer will be required, for the purpose of tax monitoring and control, to report to the Tax Administration their subcontractor identities and details, and the amounts paid to the subcontractors. As a result, even in situations where long chains of subcontractors are involved, all parties who order some work from another party must report their subcontracting and their use of leased employees.
A new Government proposal is planned for 2012 to be given to the Finnish Parliament in order to propose amendments required for the new reporting procedure. This requires that the questions that still remain open are first resolved in areas including the exact scope of the future reporting requirement. However, the new procedure will be introduced during 2013. The Tax Administration will publish more instructions on the new requirements governing construction-site reporting and its methods, and the dates when the new requirements come into force after the Government proposal has been given.
By matching the received information with its database content, the Tax Administration can perform more “real time” checks on taxpayers' tax compliance: this means a better monitoring system of VAT and employer's contribution payments, better responses to various forms of negligence, improved updating of the Prepayment register, and further improvements to the quality of tax auditing and tax recovery. This information-reporting requirement also empowers the Tax Administration to make better appraisals of certain taxpayers' actual tax status and if necessary, have them entered in the Register of taxpayers, the Register of employers, the Register of VAT taxpayers or the Prepayment Register as appropriate.
6. Information on legal acts and statutes
The bill HE 58/2011 (www.eduskunta.fi)
New acts and amendments coming into force:
Laki veronumerosta ja rakennusalan veronumerorekisteristä (1231/2011, www.finlex.fi) (the Act governing the use of TNs and the public register of TNs)
Laki työturvallisuuslain muuttamisesta (1232/2011, www.finlex.fi) (Act on the amendments to Occupational Safety and Health Act)
Laki väestötietojärjestelmästä ja Väestörekisterikeskuksen varmennepalveluista annetun lain 22 §:n muuttamisesta (1233/2011, www.finlex.fi) (Act on the amendments to be made in the Acts governing the Population Register System and the electronic authentication services provided by the Population Register Centre)
Laki verotustietojen julkisuudesta ja salassapidosta annetun lain 17 §:n muuttamisesta (1234/2011, www.finlex.fi) (Act on the amendments to the Act on Public Disclosure and Confidentiality of Tax Information).
The following is an excerpt from the statutes on occupational safety that include important amended provisions governing the use of name tags on construction sites:
The obligation to make name tags available and to enforce their use
§ 52 a, Occupational Safety Act
Name tags to be used by individuals who work on shared construction sites
Whoever is in charge of the management or supervision of a shared site must ensure, by means of clauses in the agreements or contracts he signs or by other available means, that everyone working there wears a name tag with a photo and keeps it visible. The name tags must indicate whether the worker is an employee or a self-employed individual. They must also indicate (in reference to Act no 1231/2011) the Individual Tax Number registered in the public TN register. Workers' name tags must also show their employer's name.
The above provisions also apply to:
- The main contractor or other main operator;
- The employers in relation to their own employees and contracting parties.
However, no name tags are required of:
- People who transport goods temporarily;
- People on the construction sites where a building (or a part thereof) is being built or renovated for private use.
(Työturvallisuuslaki 52 a §
Yhteisellä rakennustyömaalla työskentelevän henkilön tunniste
Yhteistä rakennustyömaata johtavan tai valvovan rakennuttajan on tekemissään sopimuksissa tai muutoin käytettävissään olevin keinoin huolehdittava siitä, että jokaisella siellä työskentelevällä on työmaalla liikkuessaan näkyvillä henkilön yksilöivä kuvallinen tunniste. Tunnisteesta on käytävä ilmi, onko työmaalla työskentelevä työsuhteessa oleva työntekijä vai itsenäinen työnsuorittaja. Tunnisteessa tulee olla näkyvissä veronumerosta ja rakennusalan veronumerorekisteristä annetussa laissa 1231/2011 (www.edilex.fi) tarkoitettu henkilökohtainen veronumerorekisteriin merkitty veronumero. Työntekijän tunnisteessa tulee lisäksi olla työnantajan nimi.
Mitä tässä momentissa säädetään rakennuttajasta, sovelletaan myös:
- pääurakoitsijaan tai muuhun päätoteuttajaan;
- työnantajaan omien työntekijöidensä ja sopimuskumppaniensa osalta.
Tunnistetta ei kuitenkaan tarvitse olla:
- tilapäisesti tavaraa työmaalle kuljettavalla;
- sellaisella työmaalla työskentelevällä, jossa rakennusta tai sen osaa rakennetaan tai korjataan rakennuttajana olevan yksityishenkilön omaan käyttöön.)
Definitions of 'construction site' for purposes of the amended legislation
Ordinance no 205/2009 governing work safety in the construction industry
Section 1 This Ordinance applies to the work of construction on land, underground, and in the water of buildings and other structures, including capital repair, technical maintenance and related installations, demolitions, civil engineering work; and the arrangement and setting up of such work. This Ordinance applies to the preparatory and planning phases of such work.
2 § This Ordinance uses the following definition:
1) For a 'shared construction site': it is a site where work within the meaning of Section 1 above is performed and where there is, simultaneously or subsequently, more than one employer or independent contractor who receives compensation for his work;
(Valtioneuvoston asetus rakennusalan työturvallisuudesta 205/2009
1§ Tätä asetusta sovelletaan maan alla ja päällä sekä vedessä tapahtuvaan rakennuksen ja muun rakennelman uudis- ja korjausrakentamiseen ja kunnossapitoon sekä näihin liittyvään asennustyöhön, purkamiseen, maa- ja vesirakentamiseen sekä rakentamista koskevaan suunnitteluun. Lisäksi asetusta sovelletaan näitä töitä koskevan rakennushankkeen valmisteluun ja suunnitteluun.
2 § Tässä asetuksessa tarkoitetaan:
1) yhteisellä rakennustyömaalla työpaikkaa, jolla tehdään 1 §:ssä tarkoitettua työtä ja jolla samanaikaisesti tai peräkkäin toimii useampi kuin yksi työnantaja tai korvausta vastaan työskentelevä itsenäinen työnsuorittaja;)
Definition of the 'start date' of a construction site during the transition period
Statute governing the effective date of the Amendment 1232/2011 of Occupational Safety Act:
Work on a construction site must be regarded as started when the Startup Meeting has been held within the meaning of Section 121 of Land Use and Building Act (maankäyttö- ja rakennuslaki 132/1999) or a notice has been submitted to the authorities in charge of occupational safety. However, in any case, work on a construction site must be regarded as started at the point of time when construction work has started.
(Työturvallisuuslain muuttamisen L 1232/2011 voimaantulosäännös:
Työmaa katsotaan aloitetuksi, kun maankäyttö- ja rakennuslain (132/1999) 121 §:ssä säädetty aloituskokous on pidetty tai ennakkoilmoitus työsuojeluviranomaisille on annettu. Työmaa katsotaan kuitenkin aloitetuksi aina viimeistään silloin, kun rakennustyö on aloitettu.)
7. Units of the Tax Administration that issue personal identity numbers
The following tax offices handle applications for Finnish personal identity numbers. No fee is charged. Personal identity numbers are also issued by local register offices — called 'maistraatti' in Finnish; 'magistraten' in Swedish — and the offices of the Social Insurance Institution (Kela). However, local register offices and Kela do not issue Tax Numbers.
Ahvenanmaan verotoimisto: Maarianhamina (Åland Islands)
Etelä-Karjalan verotoimisto: Lappeenranta, Imatra
Etelä-Pohjanmaan verotoimisto: Seinäjoki
Etelä-Savon verotoimisto: Mikkeli (Customer service closes on 19.9.2014), Savonlinna
Jokilaaksojen verotoimisto: Ylivieska, Raahe
Kainuun verotoimisto: Kajaani
Keski-Pohjanmaan verotoimisto: Kokkola
Keski-Suomen verotoimisto: Jyväskylä, Jämsä (Office to be closed down on 1.1.2015)
Kymenlaakson verotoimisto: Kouvola, Kotka
Lapin verotoimisto: Rovaniemi, Sodankylä, Kittilä
Meri-Lapin verotoimisto: Kemi, Tornio
Sisä-Suomen verotoimisto: Tampere, Hämeenlinna
Pohjanmaan verotoimisto: Närpiö, Pietarsaari, Vaasa
Pohjois-Karjalan verotoimisto: Joensuu
Pohjois-Pohjanmaan verotoimisto: Oulu
Pohjois-Savon verotoimisto: Iisalmi, Kuopio, Varkaus
Päijät-Hämeen verotoimisto: Lahti
Pääkaupunkiseudun verotoimisto: InTo, Vantaa, Vuorikadun toimipiste (Helsinki Area Tax Office in Vantaa and at Vuorikatu)
Satakunnan verotoimisto: Rauma, Pori
Uudenmaan verotoimisto: Järvenpää, Lohja, Porvoo
Varsinais-Suomen verotoimisto: Salo, Turku.