The rules on giving receipts to customers – Frequently Asked Questions

1. What kind of penalty can be expected for non-compliance with the new rules on giving receipts to customers?

The minimum penalty charge is €300, and the maximum €1,000. What is being penalised is negligence: the size of penalty charge depends on the nature of the negligence and whether it was repeated, and on the value of the goods or services sold.

2. When does a customer not have to be given a receipt?

The provisions of the new Act do not apply to:

  • Vending machines
  • Activities covered by the Act governing lotteries, games and draws
  • Outdoor market and grocery selling (except for the selling and serving of alcoholic beverages outdoors)
  • E-Commerce, where buyers can pay invoices without anybody representing the seller being present.

3. Are the new rules to help combat the underground economy?

Yes, they are an important step forward. However, in the view of the Tax Administration, an even more effective measure might have been mandatory certification of cash registers at all points of sale. This has been done in Sweden and has proven an effective way to combat the underground economy. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy is currently considering amending the Finnish legislation.

4. When is income likely to go unreported?

Certain industries in the service sector may present dishonest operators with opportunities to leave income unreported. This happens when their customers are private individuals paying in cash. In such cases, payments may be left off the books.

5. What methods are available to combat the underreporting of income?

Every individual citizen can do something by always asking for a receipt.

The OECD has published a list of measures including:

  • Communicating strategies to counter underreporting through staff training programs across government and the public sector
  • Running targeted information campaigns stating that underreporting income is a crime
  • Bringing legislation regulating cash register systems up to date
  • Making it illegal to own, to sell or to produce software that interfere with cash registers.

6. How can I appeal a penalty charge?

Contact the authority that imposed the penalty charge. If this is unsuccessful, the next step would be to lodge an appeal at the Administrative Court. Rulings of the Administrative Court may be appealed only by leave of the Supreme Administrative Court.

7. Do I have to have a cash register machine?

No; other technical solutions exist that allow you to print out receipts, and there are no restrictions against handwritten receipts.

8.  What must the receipt show?

  • Company name
  • Address including Business ID
  • Date of issue
  • Receipt number
  • Quantity and type of goods or services
  • Amount paid
  • Amount of VAT charged, itemized by rate.

For a sample receipt, see tax.fi/receipt

9. There is a number printed on each receipt – is this required?

The receipt number is required to identify the receipt. This is important because it allows all transactions to be recorded with no receipts unaccounted for.

10. Can receipts be handwritten?

Yes.

11. Do retailers always have to give a receipt even if the customer does not want one?

If you work for a company or are self-employed, you must automatically offer a receipt to all customers who pay you in cash. You can also offer it in an electronic format. Customers who don't want a receipt may decline your offer. You don't have to print it out if the customer does not take it. Receipts are an integral part of the income-reporting system in any company – for this reason, they must always be recorded in accounting. 

12. Do I have to keep a copy of the receipt in my accounts, or is it enough just to record the transaction itself?

If you use a cash register, you must post sales reports to your bookkeeping. If you use some other method, you are expected to post copies of receipts.

13. Given the rules about outdoor markets, is it necessary to give receipts in an indoor market or convention centre? What if there is a large event with some sales going on outdoors and indoors? What if a seller is doing business from an outdoor transportable kiosk?

Weather conditions and technical issues may make it difficult to use cash registers outdoors. However, the law requires all businesses serving alcoholic beverages outdoors to give customers receipts. Customers must be offered receipts for all indoor sales. Kiosks, booths or stalls are not treated as being outdoor or in a marketplace, if they are permanent structures and do business on an ongoing basis, even if they are moveable from one place to another.

Sales at festivals and other outdoor events are treated equally to sales at outdoor markets and fairs, and therefore it is not necessary to give receipts to customers.

14. What if a single cash register is shared by several businesses?

Receipts must show company details including Business ID in order to identify the company that actually sells the goods or services to the customer. If more than one company shares the same cash register, they must make appropriate arrangements. Customers may pay into a single cash register, but takings must be divided up among the companies concerned. The name of a contact person may be used to indicate which company should receive the amount recorded on an individual receipt. Companies making such arrangements would typically also agree to share rental and other business costs.

15. Must a doorman or security guard who receives tips in a cloakroom give out receipts? What if the payment goes to the restaurant? If the doormen or security guards are self-employed, do they have to give receipts to customers who pay them tips?

If the doorman is an employee of the restaurant, they must offer customers receipts. If the doorman is self-employed, they must offer customers receipts if their annual income from  their own business exceeds €8,500; even when customers tip them on a purely voluntary basis, they must offer them a receipt, because all income is taxable under the Business Tax Act.