Legislation on the obligation to give a receipt (laki kuitintarjoamisvelvollisuudesta käteiskaupassa 658/2013)

On 30 August 2013, the Parliament has adopted two Acts that come into force 1 January 2014, making it mandatory for businesses to provide a receipt to all their customers for cash purchases. 
Legislation on the obligation to give a receipt (laki kuitintarjoamisvelvollisuudesta käteiskaupassa, in Finnish)

The authorities that enforce the new law are the Tax Administration and the Police. In addition, Regional Administrative Agencies (AVI) supervise the retail sales of alcoholic beverages at licensed restaurants.  Legal Register Centre is the authority that imposes penalty fees for negligence.

Overview of the legal provisions

From 1 January 2014 onwards, business operators must offer the buyers of their goods and services a receipt of payment, if the buyer has paid in cash or through a method of payment similar to cash. Receipts may also be offered in electronic format. The provisions of the new Act apply to all businesses, irrespective of sector, with more than €8,500 of net sales per year (from. 1.1.2016 €10,000).

You must set out the following details on receipts:

  1. your business name, contact details and Business ID
  2. date of issue of the receipt
  3. an identification number of the receipt, or other detail specifying it  
  4. the quantity and type of goods, or a description of services
  5. the amount of money paid for the goods or services, and the amount of VAT payable, itemised by each VAT rate, or the price without VAT, itemised by each VAT rate.

The provisions do not apply to:

  1. Selling via vending machines
  2. Activities referred to in the Act governing lotteries, games and draws
  3. Outdoor market and grocery selling (except for the serving of alcoholic beverages outdoors)
  4. Operations of e-commerce, including the settling of invoices and other situations where the buyer makes a payment independently, i.e. not in the presence of a representative of the business being the seller.

Negligence charge:
If a business enterprise has failed to issue receipts as required, the supervisory authorities may order it to pay a negligence charge.  The minimum charge is €300, and the maximum charge is €1,000.

Enforcement and test purchasing

The authorities that supervise compliance with the rules may pass on data on their supervision activity and collected negligence charges to other supervisory authorities, without regard to secrecy requirements.

They are also entitled to monitor the compliance of a business enterprise at its premises, if the obligation to issue receipts concerns that enterprise, or if it is probable that it concerns that enterprise.

Because it is customary in some lines of business that cash purchases are made at the homes of the individuals who operate the business, or in the immediate vicinity of their homes, the provisions of Finland's Constitution on the right to privacy may restrict the monitoring activity. Therefore, compliance monitoring in an individual's permanent home is permitted only on the condition that the space actually is used for business purposes, and that there are reasonable grounds to suspect non-compliance. There must also be a direct need for monitoring, for the purpose of ascertaining that the obligation to provide receipts is being fulfilled.

The supervisory authorities are also entitled to perform test purchases if reasonable grounds exist to suspect non-compliance. Such purchasing must be directly necessary in order to clarify that the rules on receipt issuance are being followed.

Provisions governing requests for review of decisions on negligence charges

Businesses request a review of the decisions of the supervisory authorities, addressing them to the authority concerned. As the second instance, they may lodge an appeal with the Administrative Court, and after receiving appropriate permission, with the Supreme Administrative Court.