Annual information return on dividends, instructions 2020

If a limited liability company distributes dividends to its shareholders, it is necessary to submit an annual information return to the Tax Administration. The information return must be also be submitted by companies that distribute amounts of money to shareholders out of their retained earnings, if the tax treatment of these distributions is the same as that of dividends.

  • All distributions of retained earnings by companies that are listed on a stock exchange are taxable as dividends, and must accordingly be detailed on this information return.
  • Distributions of retained earnings made by non-listed companies must be detailed as well if the treatment of the distribution is the same as that of dividends.
    • However, if a refund of capital paid to shareholders by a non-listed company is in question, which is taxable as a capital gain, the format to use is the one designed for capital refunds (VSPAOPAL, fillable Web form, in Finnish).

You have the option to submit the annual information return on dividends as a software-generated file (the VSOSERIE and VSOSVYHT data flows), on a fillable Web form on Form 7812 on paper.

The payor of dividends must submit the return electronically if the annual information contains data on five or more shareholders who received dividends. However, the requirement of electronic filing does not concern payors who are natural persons or estates of deceased persons.

Moreover, if payments of dividends are made in advance (as discussed in ruling T254 of the Supreme Administrative Court, 17 February 1999), the required facts about them must be provided in an annual information return, as well.

There are no distributions of dividends and no requirement to submit information on an annual return for general partnerships, limited partnerships, self-employed business operations, etc.

If the distribution of dividends involved non-cash payments to company shareholders, you must indicate the value of the assets distributed as dividends, i.e. the fair market values of those assets on the date of distribution.

As of 1.1.2019, any distributions of dividends that are based on the shareholder’s work effort must be reported to the Incomes Register. The report to the Incomes Register must in this case be submitted both for dividends that are taxed in the same way as wages, and for dividends that are taxed as receipts of trade income. The dividends based on the shareholder’s work do not additionally have to be included in an annual information return on dividends sent to the Tax Administration. (More detailed information on these distributions can be found in “Dividends and profit surplus based on work effort” — Työpanokseen perustuvan osingon ja ylijäämän verotus, detailed guidance in Finnish and Swedish, record no 1103/32/2009).

In the case of payments of substituted dividends, the annual information return must be sent in a different format (Form 7847 on paper).

If the shareholders who received dividends are non-resident taxpayers, you must provide the Tax Administration with itemisations for every beneficiary on the annual information return on payments to nonresidents (VSRAERIE, or the fillable Web form, or Form 7809e on paper). However, if the nonresident beneficiary is a foreign corporate entity and the paid-out dividends are linked to its permanent establishment located in Finland, you must give details on the dividend distribution on the annual information return on dividends.

If you have paid dividends to shareholders whose shares are deposited on an Individual Retirement Account (PS) for long-term savings, you should only indicate the sum total.

  • If the shareholders who received dividends are Finnish tax residents (persons with unlimited tax liability), you do not have to submit itemisations.
  • If the shareholders who received dividends are non-resident taxpayers, you must provide the Tax Administration with itemisations on the annual information return on payments to nonresidents (VSRAERIE, or the fillable Web form, or Form 7809e on paper).

If you have paid dividends to shareholders whose shares are deposited on Equity Savings Accounts (osakesäästötili; aktiesparkonto), you should only indicate the sum total.

  • If the shareholders who received dividends are Finnish tax residents (persons with unlimited tax liability), you do not have to submit itemisations.
  • If the shareholders who received dividends are non-resident taxpayers, you must provide the Tax Administration with itemisations on the annual information return on payments to nonresidents (VSRAERIE, or the fillable Web form, or Form 7809e on paper).  
  • If the equity savings account has been closed due to the shareholder’s (= account holder’s) death, the payor of dividends must withhold tax on any dividend payments relating to the shares that had been in the account at the date of death.
    • However, it may be that if the shareholder and account holder has died, there may have been a delay with the information on his or her dying, from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (the Finnish Digital Agency) to the payor, or to the service provider, and this has caused that no amount has been withheld on the dividends. However, in these circumstances, it is not necessary for the payor to remedy any errors in withholding that have been made between the date of death and the date when the payor was informed of it. Instead, the annual information return must be submitted in the same way as paid-out dividends are usually reported: the amount of dividends should not be included in the summary, under distributed dividends, and a normal itemisation of the dividends must be provided.

Starting 2020, if dividends are paid on shares registered in a nominee account, 50 percent must be withheld on the payment if the payor cannot receive the information, necessary for purposes of taxation, about a shareholder who is a Finnish tax resident, and as a result, the payor is unable to provide the Tax Administration with that information.

If dividends were paid on a nominee-registered share, you must submit both the summary information and the itemisation (the VSOSYHT and VSOSERIE information flows electronically, or the corresponding fillable Web forms for summary and itemisation).

The itemisation section:

  • Select the “07 Paid dividends on a nominee-registered share, held by a Finnish resident taxpayer (beneficial owner not known)” type of payment, if the company that distributed the dividends is a stock-exchange-listed company.
  • However, you should select “01 (dividends)” as the type of payment if, by the time when you submit the annual information return, you have obtained information on the identity of the beneficiary.
  • In a situation where the payor of dividends knows only the name of the beneficiary or beneficiaries, you must provide the Tax Administration with itemisations (the VSOSERIE flow or the fillable Web form for itemisations) for each beneficiary.  See instructions under (32) Beneficiary’s Business ID or personal identity code.

The summary section:

  • If the itemisation contains dividends encoded under the 07 type of payment (Paid dividends on a nominee-registered share, held by a Finnish resident taxpayer (beneficial owner not known), you must enter them either as dividends (01) in the summary section or as distributions from retained earnings (04) as the case may be.

When to file the return?

The deadline for submitting the annual information return on dividends that can be “drawn” during 2020, i.e. become available for payment to shareholders during 2020, is by 1 February 2021.

You must submit the return, providing information on the beneficiary's dividends for the tax year that are ready for payment to him or her, even in cases where actual payment is not yet made.

Example: Three shareholders A, B and C are going to receive dividends from the company. The date when the company decision on dividend distribution is made is 14 November 2020, and the decision sets out that the dividends are ready for payment immediately i.e. on the same date.  Shareholders A and C get their dividends immediately, while shareholder B delays it (does not withdraw the money) up to 2 February 2021. Even in these circumstances, the company must use the annual information return that concerns the 2020 reporting year in order to report its entire distribution of dividends for the year, and the taxes withheld on them, with shareholder B included.

If the annual general meeting of shareholders does not expressly decide on a specific date when the dividends can be drawn, it is deemed that the date when the dividends are ready for payment is the date when the general meeting was held.

If the payor company has not become aware of a beneficiary until the following year, you should submit the annual information return to report this beneficiary's dividends and the taxes withheld on them later, i.e. for the year when the beneficiary finally draws the dividend payment. In this case, you must make sure that the dividends are not accidentally reported to the Tax Administration twice.

Completing the return

For each corporate decision to pay out dividends, you must submit separate information returns that contain the necessary itemisations and summaries. However, submit one return only if the company has specified several different dates when its shareholders can receive payment, and these dates fall in one single calendar year. If a corporate decision contains both a distribution of dividends and a distribution out of retained earnings, you must submit separate returns in order to provide information on the two distributions.

If dividends are paid out to shareholder-beneficiaries by more than one account operators who provide the necessary services relating to the payment transactions, it is permissible for each account operator to submit itemisations. However, the summary must only be reported once. The responsibility for filing the summary section lies with the company paying the dividends.

For more information, see:

Detailed instructions

Summary section

Name, address (1) and Business ID (2) of the distributing company

Note: Companies paying out dividends are not allowed to fill in a Sub-accounting unit ID in this field (fill in the company’s primary Business ID instead).

Year of payment (3)

Enter the calendar year when the dividends are available for cash payment to the beneficiary (=can be drawn). Enter that year even if dividend beneficiary(ies) had not yet cashed or received their dividends.

However, if the identity of a beneficiary is not known to the payor company, enter the calendar year when the dividends were cashed (= received) by beneficiary.

The tax year (7) and accounting period (8) for which the dividends were distributed

File an annual information return specifically for each tax year, i.e. one information return for every year. If the company has a non-calendar accounting year, fill in (7) with the calendar year when the end date of the accounting period occurs.

Chapter 13, §3 of Companies Act (Osakeyhtiölaki, 624/2006) allows distributions that can relate to three different accounting periods:

  1. Distribution of dividends, or additional dividends, for the most recent closed accounting year.
  2. Distribution of dividends for the accounting year preceding the most recent, if the latter has already been closed, but its statutory audit and official approval of the financial statement are yet incomplete.
  3. Distribution of interim dividends for the current accounting year; this alternative requires that e.g. interim financial statements have been audited and approved.

In spite of the above, for the purposes of information reporting, all kinds of dividends are considered distributions for the most recent closed accounting period (= latest closure of period before the date of company decision to pay out dividends). As a result, the relevant tax year will be the tax year of the most recent closed accounting year.

The date when the company agrees to distribute the dividends determines the year to be entered, regardless of the date when beneficiary(ies) actually cash the dividends, which may be a later date.

However, if payments of dividends are made in advance (as discussed in ruling T254 of the Supreme Administrative Court, 17 February 1999), the year to fill in is the year when such advance distribution is carried out.

Example: Company accounting year is the calendar year 2019. On 15 April 2020, the Annual General Meeting approves the company’s profit-and-loss account and balance sheet for 2019. The following distributions of dividends were decided by the company during the 2020 calendar year and accounting year:

(1)  15 April 2020, distribution for the 2019 accounting year (the 2019 financial statements having been audited and approved),

(2)  31 January 2020, distribution for the 2018 accounting year (the latest annual financial statement that had been audited and approved at that time), and

(3)  30 June 2020, distribution relating to the 2020 accounting year (there was an interim financial statement, containing an interim profit-and-loss account and balance sheet).

For tax purposes, all of the above dividends are deemed as having been distributed for tax year 2019.

Type of payment (9)

You must indicate on the Web form whether the payment consists of dividends (01) or of a distribution of the retained earnings of the company (04). Every type of payment has a code, in accordance with the specification of data records. These codes must be used.

When submitting the summary section, the type of payment should be either 01 or 04 depending on the type of distribution. For example, if you submitted an itemisation that contained the 07 payment type for dividends, the type of payment on the summary must be either 01 or 04.

Type of incorporation on the date of decision to distribute dividends (10)

Indicate the correct type of company: Listed on a stock exchange (J) or other company (M).

For tax purposes, in accordance with the act on income tax, received dividends in the hands of a beneficiary are divided into tax-free income, and taxable capital income, and earned income. In order to facilitate the division, it is important to indicate the type of the company (valid on the date when it decides to distribute dividends).

Date of corporate decision to pay out dividends (11) and the date of commencement of the payment (12)

You must complete a separate information return for every date when it is agreed at the shareholders’ meeting of the company that a distribution of dividends is made.

If the annual general meeting of shareholders did not expressly decide on a date when the dividends can be drawn (= commencement of payment), enter the date when the general meeting was held in (12).

However, submit one return only if the company has specified several different dates when its shareholders can receive payment, and these dates fall in one single calendar year. Enter the date in (12) when the first partial amount of dividends can be drawn, i.e. received.

If you are an account operator, you can enter the date of payment in (12) that the company has referred to in its decision to distribute dividends.

If the payment of dividends is made in advance (as discussed in ruling T254 of the Supreme Administrative Court, 17 February 1999), the date to fill as the date of decision to distribute dividends is the date when such advance distribution was decided or agreed.

The total amount of dividends agreed to be distributed for the tax year (20)

Enter the total of the dividends to be paid out, as indicated in the company decision that you referred to in (11) above. The total must also contain the dividends that go to shareholders who keep their shares in PS Individual Retirement Accounts, in Equity Savings Accounts, and under nominee registrations.

Total amount of tax withheld on distributed dividends (21)

Enter the amounts that were withheld during the calendar year on the dividends you referred to in (20) above.

The total amount of payable dividends that the shareholders have not cashed by the end of the calendar year (22)

Enter the total amount of unpaid dividends, corresponding to the decision to pay out dividends that you referred to in (11) above.

Fill in (22) only in the following cases:

  • The company has agreed when deciding on the distribution that shareholder-beneficiaries can draw the dividends during more than one calendar year.
  • There are some unpaid dividends, going to the shareholder-beneficiaries of which the distributing company has not been aware during the year of commencement of the payment.

The total amount of dividends reported in earlier calendar years for the same tax year (23)

Fill in (23) only if dividends relating to one single tax year have been reported during more than one calendar year. Enter a sum total that contains the previous calendar years’ dividends to residents and nonresidents alike.

The total amount of dividends distributed to nonresidents (24) and The total amount of tax withheld at source on the payments made to nonresidents (25)

Enter the sum total of dividends distributed to non-resident taxpayers into (24). Correspondingly, enter the total of taxes withheld at source into (25). If any adjustments were made, you must indicate the above amounts as they are after the adjustments.

The total must also contain the dividends that go to non-resident shareholders who keep their shares in PS Individual Retirement Accounts, in Equity Savings Accounts, and under nominee registrations.

When your beneficiaries are nonresident taxpayers, you must submit itemisations on them on a separate annual information return (the VSRAERIE flow or Form 7809e).

Dividends distributed on shares deposited in Finnish residents' Individual Retirement Accounts under “PS” long-term savings contracts (26)

Enter the sum total of dividends distributed on shares deposited in “PS” accounts held by Finnish residents. No itemisations are necessary regarding dividend yields on each share when the dividends go to Finnish tax residents who have a “PS” account.

Dividends distributed on shares deposited in equity savings accounts, held by Finnish residents (27)

Enter the sum total of dividends distributed on shares deposited in equity savings accounts held by Finnish residents. No itemisations are necessary regarding dividend yields on each share when the dividends go to Finnish tax residents who have an equity savings account.

Itemisations for each beneficiary

Fill in one line to indicate all the dividends distributed to one single beneficiary even if there had been more than one series of company shares.

Beneficiary's name (31)

Give the full name (first name and last name or the company name in full).

If you are reporting dividends that are of the 07 type of payment, enter the beneficiary's name if you know it. If you do not know the beneficiary’s name, enter the nearest custodian (registered intermediary) to the beneficiary as the beneficiary’s name. If you do not know who the nearest custodian (registered intermediary) is, enter “unknown” as the beneficiary’s name.

Note: However, if all the reportable information on the beneficiary's identity has become known to you by the time when you submit the annual information return, enter 01 as the type of payment.

Beneficiary’s Business ID or personal identity code (32)

Enter the beneficiary’s Business ID or personal identity code in full.

If the dividends are paid on shares that are nominee-registered and:

  • The payor of dividends knows only the name of the beneficiary or beneficiaries, enter 010101-UUUU as the personal identity code.  If you know the beneficiary's date of birth, enter the code as “ddmmyy-UUUU” so as to indicate the date of birth.
  • If the payor does not have information on the beneficiary of dividends when the payor prepares their annual information return, the payor must fill in “(31) Beneficiary's name” with information on the custodian, nearest to the beneficiary, of whom the payor has knowledge. In this case, enter the beneficiary’s Business ID in the form of a temporary “dummy” ID: 0000000-0.  Either enter a sum total of the dividends or submit specific itemisations on every distribution of dividends to every beneficiary that remains unknown. If you choose to submit specific itemisations for every beneficiary that remains unknown, you must give a transaction code or other identifier for every itemisation (data element 049).
  • If there is no beneficiary information available to the payor, and you do not (or the payor does not) know the nearest custodian (registered intermediary), enter “unknown” as the beneficiary’s name, and use the 0000000-0 string as a dummy identity code. Either enter a sum total of the dividends or submit specific itemisations of every payment of dividends to every beneficiary that remains unknown. If you choose to submit specific itemisations for every beneficiary that remains unknown, you must give a transaction code or other identifier for every itemisation (data element 049).

Dividends (Gross amount) (34)

Enter the total of dividends, referring to the company decision to distribute dividends (11) that the beneficiary has the right to receive (=draw). Enter the sum total of the beneficiary’s dividends as a gross amount; do not subtract the amount withheld.

Amount withheld on the dividends (35)

An amount must be withheld on the dividends paid out. A distribution of retained earnings of the company is to be treated in the same way as a distribution of dividends.

  • The amount to withhold on dividends paid out by a listed company is 25.5 percent.
  • The amount to withhold on dividends, paid out by a company that is not listed on a stock exchange, is 7.5 percent up to €150,000. For the exceeding amount, the withholding rate is 28%. The distributing company is under the obligation to keep itself informed of how much dividends has been paid to a single beneficiary.
  • If dividends are paid on shares registered in a nominee account, 50 percent must be withheld on the payment if the payor cannot receive the information, necessary for purposes of taxation, about a shareholder who is a Finnish tax resident, or if the payor is unable to provide the Tax Administration with that information.

When you pay dividends to beneficiaries, you must apply the above rates to carry out the withholding unless the beneficiaries show you a (revised) tax card containing a withholding rate that the Tax Administration has calculated for the dividends to be received.

No tax withholding is carried out when the beneficiary is not a natural person or an estate of a deceased person, or when the total amount of the dividends is €20 or less. The 20-euro threshold does not apply on dividends on shares kept in a nominee-registered account, if the payor has no information available on the beneficiary (permitting specific itemisation of the beneficiary or beneficiaries).

Quantity of shares (pcs.) (36)

Enter the share quantity held by the beneficiary on the date of dividend distribution.

Example: The beneficiary has 3 shares of the ‘A’ series and 2 shares of the ‘B’ series. Enter “5” as the quantity of shares.

If the beneficiary has no shares, and dividends are being paid only because of the beneficiary's right to receive a distribution of profits, enter the quantity of shares that serves as the basis for figuring out the amount distributed.

Enter the quantity of the shares as an integer, not as a decimal value. If the beneficiary owns a fraction of a company share, it is necessary for the beneficiary, in his or her personal tax return, to give details on the exact quantity of shares that they own.

Beneficiary carries pension insurance under YEL or MYEL (37)

Tick the “yes” box (or if you file electronically, use the appropriate code number), if the beneficiary carried a YEL or MYEL pension insurance relating to the business of the dividend-distributing company on the date when the dividends were first available for payment (could be drawn)

Residential property (an apartment, a house) (38)

Tick the “yes” box (or if you file electronically, use the appropriate code number), if the following circumstances apply:

  • The beneficiary or his family have used a house or apartment belonging to the distributing company during the year when the dividends are taxable income
  • The beneficiary or the beneficiary's family are shareholders, holding at least 50% of the shares, or have 50% of all the votes (at the closing date of the accounting period preceding the year when the dividends are first available for payment (can be drawn)) Tick the “yes” box (or enter the code) also if the beneficiary alone has owned more than 30% of company shares or votes.

Loan of money (39)

Tick the “yes” box (or if you file electronically, use the appropriate code number), if the following circumstances apply:

  • The company that distributes the dividends operates a business
  • The beneficiary or the beneficiary's family are shareholders, holding at least 10% of the shares, or have 10% of all the votes, at the closing date of the accounting period preceding the year when the dividends are first available for payment (can be drawn)
  • An amount of money has been lent to the beneficiary or family, with a loan balance that has not been repaid back to the company by that date

For more information on how to fill in fields (37), (38) and (39) see “how to report dividends received by a beneficiary who has a pension insurance in accordance with the MYEL and MYEL legislation” — MYEL- tai YEL-vakuutetun saaman osingon ilmoittaminen and “how to report living in a company dwelling and shareholder borrowing on the annual information return for dividends” — Asunnon ja rahalainan ilmoittaminen osingon vuosi-ilmoituksella. (in Finnish and in Swedish; the links above are to the Finnish versions.)

Account operator’s/Third-party filer’s Business ID

This field is only for those who submit the annual information return on behalf of the payor of dividends.

ISIN code of the share

This data element is only for a listed company distributing dividends.

If one account operator pays dividends from various book-entry accounts to one beneficiary and the company shares have the same ISIN code, file just one annual information return for those dividends.

Transaction code or other identifier

If you are reporting a payment of dividends, and the type of payment is 07, and you are submitting specific itemisations for every beneficiary that remains unknown, you must fill in this field with a transaction code or other identifier. The “other identifier” can be any string of alphanumeric characters that you create for this purpose. There must be a different identifier for every itemisation.

The document to be issued to the beneficiary

The Tax Administration does not have an outline for the exact format to be used when giving a document to beneficiaries of dividends. However, the minimum requirements for the information content on such a document is as follows:

  • Beneficiary's name, personal identity code or Business ID
  • The accounting period for which the dividends are distributed
  • The quantity of shares and their type or category
  • Name of the company that distributes dividends
  • Amount of dividends
  • The amount that was withheld on them

Making corrections, completing the data elements for identification

In accordance with the replacement procedure, if you submit a new return with the same identity information, it replaces the return you had submitted earlier. For one beneficiary, there can be no more than just one return with the same identification. If the data elements related to identification contain an error, the data must be reset to zero. The data element must be replaced with a new one.

The identification items relating to this information return are:

  • The identifier of the return, i.e. the “flow” (used only when you submit electronically)
  • Type of payment
  • Year of payment
  • Business ID of the dividend-distributing company
  • The tax year for which the dividends were distributed
  • The date of the decision to distribute dividends
  • The date of commencement of the payment, i.e. the first day when dividends can be drawn
  • Beneficiary’s Business ID or personal identity code, and the beneficiary’s name
  • The account operator’s Business ID
  • An ISIN code (this data element is among the identification details only if an ISIN has been issued)
  • A transaction code or other identifier (this data element is among the identification details only if such a code/identifier has been issued)

For more information, see Making corrections to submitted annual information.