Reason for erroneous tax letters determined – new letters will be sent to taxpayers

News, 8/12/2019

The section in the source code of the tax letter printing system which caused the error has been discovered, and no more erroneous letters will be sent. Printing and mailing of Tax Administration letters will begin again.

A total number of 2,836 erreoneous letters were sent out. They were dated 6 August. Around 27,000 letters were printed in the same batch. When the letters were being printed, details of other taxpayers were transferred to the erroneous letters. The erroneous letters were sent out due to the system settings in the printing phase.

- In the printing phase, details of other taxpayers have ended up on some of the letters. The details concern spouses, bank account numbers, QR codes relating to enveloping, and tables with for example tax decision details, text and figures. Details may have been transferred to the same erroneous letter from one or several taxpayers. No personal identity codes have been found among the details transferred by mistake, says Mika Koskelo, director of the Tax Administration’s ICT Service Unit.

In most cases, the erroneous letters look confusing, because there may be overlapping texts, for example. The same letter may also contain text in both Finnish and Swedish.

The Tax Administration will contact the taxpayers whom the error concerned

The Tax Administration is currently going through the details in the erroneous letters in order to find any identifiable details relating to another taxpayer. The spreading of tax information via the erroneous letters is a data protection offence. The Tax Administration has contacted the Data Protection Ombudsman, and will by letter contact the taxpayers who have been affected by the offence.

- We will contact all taxpayers who have received erroneous letters or whose identifiable details have been transferred to another taxpayer’s letter. The matter is serious and we sincerely apologise for the data protection offence, says Mika Koskelo.

Taxpayers do not need to contact the Tax Administration themselves.

The Tax Administration will send a new letter with the right contents to those who have received an erroneous letter dated 6 August.