With nearing deadlines for the Pre-completed tax return, the Tax Administration receives enquiries about face masks and remote work

Tax Administration Bulletin, 4/27/2021

The Tax Administration expects more corrections and additions to pre-completed tax returns this year than for a long time. Due to the pandemic, many individual taxpayers are filing corrections and added information for the first time. Taxpayers ask about deductions, especially on the expenses related to remote work and on the cost of face masks.

Tuesday, 4 May, one week from today, is the first deadline for wage earners’ 2020 tax return. The other deadline dates are 11 May and 18 May. In addition, the individual taxpayers who have received a decision on real estate taxes must file their corrections, if any, also by 4 May 2021, and the dates for paying real estate tax are 6 August and 6 October.

Some 4.9 million pre-completed tax returns were sent out to individual taxpayers during spring. This way, some 2.1 million wage earners and 1.2 million pensioners received their pre-completed returns by the start of April.

Last year, in the spring of 2020, some 1.3 million individual taxpayers made additions or corrections to their tax returns. This year, this number is likely to grow due to the exceptional circumstances that the pandemic has caused. Because many wage earners started working from home from March 2020 onwards, their total annual commuting expenses went down. On the other hand, many of them can now claim other deductions based on working from home. Those who still commute to work by public transport can claim a new deduction for face masks.

– Covid-19-related changes in taxes and deductions mostly concern wage earners. However, as many as 95% percent of them use MyTax to file their tax returns. So, we assume there will be no line-ups at tax offices for tax return submittals. According to Nilla Hietamäki, Communications Manager at the Tax Administration, people are now keen to learn about tax returns and to claim their deductions correctly.

Expenses for working from home are part of production-of-income costs and can be deducted

In the spring of 2020, an estimated one million wage earners started working remotely, some of them for the entire year. If remote work causes expenses, they fall under the category of “deductible costs for the production of income”.

The Tax Administration automatically deducts €750 from all wage earners’ income. Accordingly, if your total expense for the production of income last year stays below €750, you do not need to file any information about it.

Read more: Working remotely: how to report expenses on your pre-completed tax return

Commuters on mass transit receive tax deductions for face masks

Expenses for your daily travel between home and work are only deductible to the extent that you actually paid them in 2020. For many wage earners, the actual sum of these expenses is lower now than in previous years. This means that they must make some corrections to their pre-completed tax-return information, so as to only report the true amounts spent.

Your own liability threshold for commuting expenses is €750. Claim the commuting expenses on the tax return only if they were higher than €750.

If you wore a face mask when commuting by public transport and you bought the masks yourself, you can deduct them as part of your commuting expenses. However, if the masks were provided by your employer, they do not entitle you to deductions.

The tax deduction is €2 per each day when you made a trip that qualifies for the deduction for face mask expenses. The dates of your trips must be later than 13 August 2020, which is the date when THL, the Finnish The National Institute for Health and Welfare, gave its face-mask recommendation for public transportation.

Read more: “The Tax Administration expects fewer deduction claims relating to commuting” — Asunnon ja työpaikan väliset matkakulut ovat olleet suosituin verovähennys – Verohallinto ennakoi ilmoittajien määrän laskevan - vero.fi (in Finnish and Swedish)

Read the instructions and if necessary, ask for help

The tax.fi website contains full instructions for checking the Pre-completed tax returns, and how to remedy any errors or how to add information: The pre-completed tax return – making corrections in MyTax or on paper - tax.fi

In addition, you can call the telephone service, start a chat, or read the Tax Administration’s postings on social media. Because of the coronavirus situation, the Tax Administration recommends that individual taxpayers should avoid visiting the local tax office.