Coronavirus – Instructions for individual taxpayers
The due dates for filing and paying taxes have not changed.
Please note that the opening hours of tax offices have been restricted due to the coronavirus. We do not recommend visiting tax offices. You can use our e-services, call our telephone service or contact us by post. When visiting the tax office, please keep safety distance and follow the official recommendation to wear a face mask.
You can change the tax rate on your tax card
If your income has changed, you can request a new tax card.
- How to order a new tax card in MyTax
- Lay-offs: How to order a new tax card if you are laid off
- example calculations on how getting laid off can affect your tax rate
If you have taken an unpaid leave to take care of your child during the corona pandemic, or if you have been placed in quarantine after arriving from abroad, you may be entitled to temporary epidemic support granted by Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Temporary financial assistance due to an epidemic outbreak can only be granted for the period that the emergency conditions were in force, 16 March to 15 June 2020.
Request a revised tax card for benefits if necessary. Report the epidemic support you receive in MyTax under Benefits > Other benefit. If you do not provide a revised tax card to Kela, they will withhold 20% of tax on the support.
Prepayments can be changed
If you are supposed to make prepayments but your income has changed, you should check if you need to make changes to your prepayment amount.
Are you coming to Finland for work and need a tax card or a tax number and a tax card?
Call our service number 029 497 050.
Paying taxes – no changes due to corona
Difficulties caused by the coronavirus are not a reason to leave taxes unpaid. There have been no changes to tax amounts, due dates, late-payment interest rates or other payment procedures.
Real estate tax and back taxes will not fall due until late summer or autumn. Check the status and due dates of your taxes in MyTax.
Note: You can request a payment arrangement with eased terms. You must make the request by 31 August.
Request more time for estate inventory
You can request more time for conducting the estate inventory and submitting the estate inventory deed. You can make the request as follows:
- In MyTax (Home page > All activities > Inheritance tax > Extended time for estate inventory or submitting the deed of estate inventory)
- If you cannot use MyTax, you can call our service number 029 497 018 (standard call rates)
Parties preparing the estate inventory deed, such as banks, law offices or legal aid offices, can also request more time in MyTax.
Without the extra time, the estate inventory must be conducted within 3 months from the date of death and the estate inventory deed must be delivered to the Tax Administration within 1 month of the estate inventory.
You can use lunch vouchers to pay for food delivery
During the exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus, employees may have to work from home and may not be able to use their regular meal benefits in workplace cafeterias. Because of this, the Tax Administration has made temporary changes to its decision on fringe benefits.
The change concerns the use of meal benefit to pay for food delivery. The Tax Administration has decided on 19 August 2020 that the new regulations will remain in force until 31 December 2020.
During this time, employees are allowed to use their meal benefits to pay for the delivery costs of their meals in addition to the meals themselves. There have been no changes to the amounts or other terms of meal benefits. The employer may offer a maximum of €10.70 in meal benefit for each working day.
When can I deduct the cost of face masks?
If you wear a face mask in public transport during your commute
If you wear a face mask in public transport during your commute and you purchase the masks yourself, you can deduct the cost of the masks in your taxation as travel expenses. The deduction amount is €2 for each day during which you have travelled between your home and work after 13 August 2020, when the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare issued their recommendation for wearing masks in public transport. The personal liability threshold for commuting expenses is €750. If your expenses go over this threshold, report the entire amount of expenses. Do not subtract the threshold amount.
Your work requires wearing a mask
If your work requires wearing a mask, but your employer does not provide you with masks and you have to purchase them yourself, you can deduct the cost of the masks as expenses for the production of income. Each wage earner receives an automatic deduction of €750 as expenses for the production of income. If you have expenses for the production of income exceeding €750 per year, you must report the expenses yourself. You must fill in the full amounts, do not subtract the own-liability amount yourself.
Employer can provide face masks to employees exempt from tax
The employer can provide employees with protective equipment for work purposes exempt from tax to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
Face masks and other protective equipment can be considered part of preventative health care provided by the employer. This means that the masks are tax-exempt to the employer even if the employees also use them outside work, for example during commutes.
However, the employer cannot provide their employees’ family members with masks exempt from tax.
Employer can pay for an employee's coronavirus test
If the employer finds that testing is necessary to ensure that the employee can continue working in these exceptional circumstances, the employer can pay for the employee’s coronavirus test directly to the medical centre that conducted the test, or to the employee in exchange for a receipt, exempt from tax. The employer can deduct the costs of coronavirus tests that are necessary for work purposes. If the employer company receives reimbursement for the testing expenses, it is regarded as taxable income for the employer.
The same principles apply to the coronavirus testing of an owner-entrepreneur working in the company if the testing of any other employees is reimbursed in the above manner. The tax exemption or deductibility of coronavirus testing is not affected by the scope of the other occupational health care services offered by the employer.
These principles also apply to self-employed operators of a business or agriculture. Self-employed individuals can also deduct the expenses of their own coronavirus test in the tax assessment of their business or agricultural operation. The deductibility of coronavirus testing is not affected by the scope of the other occupational health care services that the self-employed individual has provided for themselves.
The employer cannot pay for the coronavirus tests of their employees’ family members exempt from tax. These tests are regarded as the family members’ living expenses.
Employers can offer meals to employees in virtual recreation events
Employers can arrange tax-exempt recreational activities for employees virtually. In situations like the coronavirus epidemic, it may not be possible for employees to meet physically. Recreational activities can be exempt from tax if they are arranged by the employer and the benefit received by the employees is reasonable and ordinary. This means that virtual Christmas parties and other informal staff events can be considered tax-exempt recreational activities even if the employees do not physically attend the event.
Employers can also offer meals to employees in virtual recreation events. The meals can be exempt from tax if they are arranged and paid for by the employer. For example, the employer can order the food to be delivered to the employee’s home or the employee can go pick up the employer’s order. Another possibility is to send coupons or virtual coupons with code numbers to employees. Then the employee can go to a collection point to take out a meal consisting of employer-selected courses. The meals described above are tax-free if the coupons can only be exercised on a certain day (during the virtual recreation event, etc.) in one single collection point.
However, if instead of the arrangement described above, the employer provides meals to employees at a virtual event by offering them gift vouchers for a grocery store, restaurant or food delivery service, these cannot be considered tax-exempt meals arranged by the employer. Benefit in the form of a gift voucher is treated as pay for the employee. Similarly, it cannot be considered a tax-exempt meal arranged by the employer if the employee pays for their meal, saves the receipt, and presents it to the employer for reimbursement.
Under current tax rules, employers can give their workers a voucher with €400 of tax-exempt balance per year (section 69, subsection 5 of the act on income tax (Tuloverolaki 1535/1992, “TVL”)). The tax rules have not set out a time limit for the worker to exercise the voucher. Among Finnish employers, it has become commonplace to upload the voucher value to a mobile app.
So, because any unused end-of-year balance will not be charged to the employer, they only have to pay for the value that their workers actually spent. As the voucher balance is zero when the new year begins, the mobile app itself prevents the transfer of an unused voucher from one year to the next. New sports vouchers are again uploaded next year, and the balance must stay under the 400-euro limit.
It is typical for associations to arrange opportunities for their members to participate in events and celebrations that are related to the association’s goals. In general, when a member participates in an event, it can be viewed as a tax-exempt benefit received by that member.
Due to the coronavirus, many associations in Finland have found it appropriate to cancel their regular events, celebrations, etc. Instead, it is now quite usual for associations to offer some new forms of benefits for their membership.
However, it is important to note that the current corona situation has not led to legal amendments that would have changed the tax treatment of membership benefits. Tax-exempt benefits can be offered on the condition that the benefits are closely related to the activities of the association that offers them. A further requirement is that the benefit is made available to all members in exactly the same way. In addition, it must be a reasonable benefit and its characteristics should not deviate from what is conventional and normal among associations.
Examples of acceptable benefits include a members’ magazine or gazette, a cash discount available to members by arrangement with a retail company connected to a nonprofit association, or the organising of various “members-only” events. It is not acceptable and not tax-exempt to offer members a valuable item, a gift card, or other benefits in money’s worth. In addition, no tax-exempt vouchers for recreation, cultural events and sports are possible as an association-provided benefit. The vouchers can only be available to employees who work under an employment contract for an organisation that is their employer.
Example: Although an association has always arranged a Christmas celebration in the form of a luncheon, it has refrained from arranging it for Christmas holidays in 2020. Instead, it sends 15-euro coupons to all its members, entitling them to pay for a lunch at a restaurant. In this case, the receipt of the coupons is treated as income in the hands of each individual member, subject to earned-income tax. The association must prepare a report on them and submit it to the Incomes Register.
Example: An association has not organised a summertime celebration for its member in 2020. In the same way, it has also cancelled all other events this year. To compensate for this, the association has decided to send a new smartwatch to every member. In this case, the receipt of the watch is treated as members’ income, subject to earned-income tax. The association must prepare a report on the distribution of the watches for the Incomes Register.
Example: An association has decided to make arrangements for a members’ Christmas party where the attendance takes place online, i.e. a virtual Christmas party. The association also sends off virtual coupons containing a code. The members can use the coupons to buy dinner. They go to a specific pickup point to collect the dinner at a specific time frame. The meals described above are a tax-exempt benefit if the coupons can only be exercised on a certain day (the day of the virtual Christmas celebration) in one single pickup point. From this, it follows that it cannot be considered a tax-exempt dinner, arranged by the association, if every member first pays for their meal, saves the receipt, and presents it to the association for reimbursement.
You can deduct travel expenses for your commute according to the lowest available ticket price or cost of vehicle use, regardless of what method of travel you have actually used. You cannot deduct the expenses of using your own car unless there is no public transportation available at all. Employer recommendation or belonging to a risk group is not sufficient grounds for calculating the deduction based on your own car use.
Working from home may cause you expenses that are deductible in taxation. These include workspace costs, furniture expenses, and data connection fees.
You are liable to pay tax on these types of income.
If you do not have your own company
If you also receive wage income, you can take these other types of income into account on your current tax card. Report this income as other earned income. This way, you will pay the taxes on the income before your final tax assessment.
File the income you receive in 2020 on the tax return that you will receive in the spring of 2021. Enter this income on the tax return as other earned income. You can deduct the expenses caused by the production of this income from the amount of income you have received. These may include expenses for equipment or other materials.
Example: You hold three separate concerts through a streaming service. You do not have a company, so you file the income and expenses on your own tax return. You stream the concerts from your apartment that you rent. You use a computer that you bought in the beginning of the year as well as a microphone you bought specifically for this purpose. You receive viewer donations through the streaming service.
File the income on your next year’s tax return as other earned income. You can claim deductions for the entire price of the microphone and a part of the price of the computer. If you can prove that you have used the computer for work, you can deduct 50% of its purchase price. The computer cost €1,200. 50% of this, i.e. €600, is considered an expense deductible in tax assessment. The cost of your internet connection is also deductible. You can claim a deduction for 50% of the costs for the months during which you used the connection for work.
You can claim the standard deduction for home office costs. If you earn occasional secondary income by working from home, the deduction is €225. The standard deduction includes all indirect costs caused by working from home.
If you work as a private individual:
• Keep notes of your income and expenses.
• Check your pre-completed tax return in MyTax.
• Remember to take your income into account on your tax card.
• Keep all receipts and other documents for 3 years after your tax assessment has been completed.
If you have your own company
Include the income and the related expenses in your company’s accounting and on your business tax return. Take the income into account in your prepayment assessment, as well.
If you work through your own company:
• Include the income and expenses in your company’s accounting and on your business tax return.
• Remember to take your income into account in your prepayment assessment.
• Remember to also take any VAT into account.
When is income from a fundraising campaign taxable?
Income received from a fundraising campaign is considered other earned income if donors receive compensation in exchange for their money, such as products, services, shares, memberships or participation in an event.
If no compensation is given to donors, you will need a fundraising permit from the police.
See news article (published 17 March)
In general, no Finnish income tax is imposed on wages you receive for work done in a foreign country if you work there for a minimum of six months (known as the six-month rule) and you do not stay in Finland for more than six days per each month of work.
Your wages may be tax-exempt even if you spend more time in Finland
The Tax Administration has issued a statement that the coronavirus pandemic can be considered a force majeure that forces the employee to spend more time in Finland than what is allowed within the six-month rule. The force majeure is deemed to apply for the length of time that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel abroad. This will apply to all countries in the world as long as the coronavirus-related warnings issued by the Ministry are in force.
In these circumstances, the wages you receive for work done in a foreign country can be exempt from Finnish tax even if you spend more days in Finland than what is normally allowed, provided that the other requirements of the six-month rule are met.