VAT on blogging

The threshold is now €15,000 instead of €10,000. The new, higher threshold of VAT applies to accounting periods with start dates in 2021.

A blogger may receive a reward from a company for writing a blog. The reward does not have to be money: it can also be products or services that the company provides for the blogger’s use.

If you blog about a company’s products or otherwise boost the company’s visibility and receive a reward for it, from the point of view of taxation you are selling advertising or marketing services to the company. The sale is subject to VAT, which means that you must pay VAT on the reward you receive. The VAT rate for advertising and marketing is 24%, i.e. the general tax rate.

However, if your turnover is no more than €15,000 per accounting period, you do not need to register for VAT or pay VAT. Read more about the VAT relief scheme

Also read more about the accounting period and turnover

Are royalties subject to VAT?

A blog post is a literary work, so the blogger has a copyright on the blog. A reward paid for an artistic work or a literary work may be exempt from tax in the case of copyright assignment. However, this does not apply to works of advertising or photographs. If their copyright is assigned, VAT must be paid. 

Content cooperation between a blogger and a company is often actually marketing, so the rewards are subject to VAT (if your turnover is more than €15,000 per accounting period).

FAQ about VAT and blogging

You do not have to pay VAT on your wages. You do not have to pay VAT if you are employed by the company and blogging is your work task for which you are paid wages. 

For example, a beauty blogger may receive a reward from a company for bringing visibility to the company’s product, such as a moisturising cream or the company’s beautician service. The company agrees with the blogger that the blog will include a link to the company’s website or another brief reference to the company. The company pays the blogger’s moisturising cream or appointment with a beautician that they wish to be described in the blog. The blogger tests the product, writes their own observations in the blog and adds their own photos.

The blogger receives a fixed reward for the blog post, agreed in advance. The blog post is published on the blogger’s own website and they write the post using their own tools. The blogger has not assigned the copyright on the blog post to the company. Further, the blogger’s photos cannot be used by the company, unless separately so agreed. 

Even if the company does not attempt to influence the content of the blog post but the blogger writes about their views and observations quite freely and in their own personal way, the post is regarded as marketing and advertising. The blogger has to pay VAT on the reward if their turnover is more than €15,000 per accounting period. The VAT rate applied to marketing and advertising services is 24%, i.e. the general tax rate.

In the United States of America, for example, it is customary to have a Donate button on the blog, which the readers can click if they want to donate money to the blogger. In Finland this is still rare.

The donor does not receive any direct consideration for the money, i.e. they do not buy anything from the blogger. Giving a donation is voluntary, and the donor can even determine the about by themselves. This kind of activity is not subject to value added taxation, so the donations are not subject to VAT.

Selling online advertisements placed in connection with a blog is considered sale of e-services. You need to determine the advertisements’ country of supply. In practice, the country of supply of e-services is the buyer’s country. If the buyer’s country is Finland, you must pay VAT to Finland. 

Because you do not receive a reward for blogging, your blogging is not associated with a selling activity. You are therefore not liable to pay VAT.

If the company uses your photo in their own activity, the reward they pay you is a royalty on the photo. The country of supply for the right of use must be determined, and other details will also affect value added taxation. Value added taxation is determined on a case by case basis, so contact the Tax Administration, if necessary.