The rules on giving receipts to customers in Finland – Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. What kind of penalty can be expected for non-compliance with the new rules on giving receipts to customers?
  2. When does a customer not have to be given a receipt?
  3. Are the new rules to help combat the underground economy?
  4. When is income likely to go unreported?
  5. What methods are available to combat the underreporting of income?
  6. How can I appeal a penalty charge?
  7. Do I have to have a cash register machine?
  8. What must the receipt show?
  9. There is a number printed on each receipt – is this required?
  10. Can receipts be handwritten?
  11. Do retailers always have to give a receipt even if the customer does not want one?
  12. Do I have to keep a copy of the receipts for every sale in my books, or is it enough just to record the sales transaction itself in the books?
  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?
  14. What if a single cash register is shared by several businesses?
  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?
  16. If my organisation is an entity promoting the public good (a non-profit), do I have to give out receipts to customers?
  17. Does a taxi driver have to give a receipt to the passenger?

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 future, advances in automation will probably allow business enterprises to start issuing electronic invoices and receipts with structural functionalities, permitting fully automated bookkeeping of all sales. When such changes in accounting systems are designed, note is taken of the actual needs of small and medium-sized companies.

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. To receive payment from a customer is an essential business transaction in any company – for this reason, these transactions must be recorded in accounting.

12. Do I have to keep a copy of the receipts for every sale in my books, or is it enough just to record the sales transaction itself in the books?

Your bookkeeping must contain records of your transactions in such a way that all the information necessary for determining your liability to pay taxes can clearly be found in your books. If you receive cash from your customers, you are required to enter the amounts without delay in your bookkeeping, in a chronological order, reflecting the operation of your sales day-by-day.

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. No difficulty can be associated with the audit trail, which must be clearly visible between the sales transaction, the receipt, and the entries in your books.

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.

16. If my organisation is an entity promoting the public good (a non-profit), do I have to give out receipts to customers?

Yes, if you have customers that buy something from you paying cash when your organisation conducts its operation of a business, you must offer your customers a receipt even if the Tax Administration had given you an exemption from income taxes (i.e. your organisation has been issued an official decision on exemptions granted to nonprofit entities, and the decision is still in force). Entities that promote the public good must give their customers receipts when they conduct their operation of a business when the turnover is higher than €10,000 a year.

17. Does a taxi driver have to give a receipt to the passenger?

The rides given to taxi passengers must be recorded in a driver’s logbook unless the taxicab is equipped with an electronic meter device that prints out receipts. The logbook (or the printed report from the taximeter) must contain an itemisation of all revenue received for the rides. In addition, it must show a total value of all kilometres driven since the beginning of the tax year.

The income has to be divided into amounts paid to the driver in cash, amounts paid to him/her in the form of credit payments, and other, miscellaneous amounts of income. The kilometres driven since the start of the year must be divided into taxi-service kilometres against payment, kilometres necessary for the operation of the taxi but not paid for by any customers, and kilometres driven for private and miscellaneous purposes.

If the taxi company – or the taxi driver operating a business – has a taximeter that prints out receipts, the logbook described above is created by the printed reports from the meter.