Refund of VAT to foreign businesses established outside the EU

Date of issue
3/29/2017
Record no.
A222/200/2016
Validity
In force until further notice
Authorization directive
Act on the Tax Administration (503/2010), section 2(2)
Replaces guidance
A150/200/2013

This is an unofficial translation. The official instruction is drafted in Finnish and Swedish languages.

This guidance concerns the refund procedure of VAT if the applicant is a business established outside the EU. Refunds must be requested in writing, on a Form issued by the Finnish Tax Administration.

In some cases, foreign businesses have the right to receive refunds of the VAT included in the price of goods and services purchased here. The guidance refers to this type of refund as 'VAT refund for foreign businesses'. The requirements and conditions for obtaining a refund are explained in this guidance.

This guidance explains who and what types of business operations qualify for refunds and lists the purchases that may contain input VAT for which refunds are granted. There are instructions for filing the refund application and how a refund decision may be appealed against.

The guidance is updated and re-edited due to the new VAT rules that are effective in 2017. Some of the contents are rearranged.

The updates concern the following sections: 5.3 Required information on the Form, 6 Decisions may be appealed against, and 7 Codes used in VAT refund applications to Finland.

1 Introduction

This guidance concerns the refund procedure of VAT when the applicant is a business established outside the EU. Refunds must be requested in writing, on a Form issued by the Finnish Tax Administration.

Applications for VAT refunds must be made within 6 months after the close of the calendar year to which the refund period relates.

The guidance below is based on the provisions of the Value Added Tax Act (Arvonlisäverolaki 1501/1993). They define the circumstances and requirements for VAT refunds for those businesses that are established outside the European Union (§§ 150–156, VAT Act), and for those that are not liable to VAT for their sales, and that do not have a fixed establishment in Finland (§§ 122–126, VAT Act).

Refund to foreign businesses is based on the rules laid down in the Council Directive 86/560/EEC on the harmonization of the laws of the Member States relating to turnover taxes — Arrangements for the refund of value added tax to taxable persons not established in Community territory.

1.2 Rates of VAT

 

24 %

Foodstuffs and animal feed


Restaurant and catering services

14 %

Certain other services such as:

  • Passenger transport, accommodation in hotels, sales of books
  • Services offered in order to facilitate physical exercise or sporting activities
  • Services offered in order to provide admittance to sports events, cultural events, entertainment events; including entrance to the institutions that arrange such events.

10 %

 

1.3 Contact details of VAT refund authorities

Refunds must be requested in writing: Form 9550 must be submitted. Send the completed form to:

Finnish Tax Administration
PO Box 560
FI-00052 VERO
FINLAND

2 Requirements for applicants

Foreign businesses may have the right to receive refund of the VAT included in the price of goods and services purchased in Finland. VAT may be refunded to foreign applicants if the following requirements are met:

  • The applicant does not have a fixed establishment for VAT purposes in Finland from which the applicant is conducting business
  • The business of the applicant in Finland does not include any other selling of goods and services than

1. Sales to which reverse charge is applied
2. Sales in which the buyer is the State of Finland
3. Sales of transportation services, and ancillary services to them, exempted under §§ 71, 72 d or 72 h, VAT Act.

Reverse charge, referred to above in (1), concerns the following sales (and involves the obligation of the buyer, instead of the seller, to pay the VAT):

  • Sales of taxable investment gold (§ 8 a, VAT Act)
  • Sales of emission rights (§ 8 b, VAT Act)
  • Sales of construction services, and the renting out employees to perform construction work (§ 8 c, VAT Act)
  • Sales of scrap metal (§ 8 d, VAT Act)
  • Any sales made by foreign businesses with that do not have a fixed establishment for VAT purposes and that have not applied for a voluntary VAT registration in Finland (§ 9, VAT Act).

The right to a VAT refund also applies to businesses from countries without a corresponding refund system.

VAT paid in connection with the importation of goods can also be refunded.

Situations in which a foreign business has a fixed establishment in another EU country

Businesses outside the EU may have a fixed establishment for VAT purposes in an EU country other than Finland. If such a fixed establishment has paid some expenses in Finland, request for refunds of the input VAT may be submitted online via the VAT refund electronic portal of the EU country concerned. For further instructions, contact the tax authorities of the EU country concerned.

Businesses with intra-Community sales or acquisitions in Finland

Intra-Community sales of goods (also known as 'intra-Community supply') refer to the supply of goods under an arrangement where the seller, the buyer, or a third party on their behalf, will transport the goods from Finland to another Member State. Intra-Community acquisition refers to the buying of goods, against payment, under an arrangement where the seller, the buyer, or a third party on their behalf, will transport the goods from one Member State to another.

Foreign businesses carrying out either intra-Community sales or intra-Community acquisitions in Finland are subject to the notification duty in Finland. They should register for notification duty, and file VAT returns and Recapitulative Statements to the Finnish Tax Administration.

If a foreign business wants to receive refunds for the input VAT relating to their deductible purchases, made in connection with their intra-Community supply in Finland, it is not enough to only register for the notification duty: the business should register for VAT in Finland.

In other words, foreign businesses making intra-Community sales are not eligible for VAT refund. They should file VAT returns in order to report their input VAT the same way as Finnish businesses do.

Foreign businesses making intra-Community acquisitions are eligible for VAT refund if they are not liable to VAT on their selling in Finland, and they do not have a fixed establishment for VAT purposes in Finland.
For more information, see our guidance 'VAT registration of foreigners in Finland'.

3 Business operations that qualify for refund

The right to refund requires that the purchases have been made for the applicant's business operations abroad which if carried out in Finland would give rise to a right to input VAT refund or deduction (see section 3.1 below). If the foreign country where applicant's business is established is one that has a value-added-tax system, it is also required that the purchases have been made for the applicant's business operations which give rise to a input VAT deduction there (see section 3.2 below).

3.1 Operation that would entitle to deduction or refund in Finland

The main requirement for VAT refund is that the applicant has made the purchases for business operations abroad which, if carried out in Finland, would entitle to a refund or a deduction. The right to receive a refund is governed by the legislation of Finland. The rules for VAT refunding include those that concern the VAT liability, those that concern partial rights to VAT deduction and those that concern the restrictions of the right to deduct. For more information on restrictions, see section 4 below.
To sum up, the right to VAT refund demands that one of the requirements below is met:

  • The purchase concerns the applicant's business operations abroad which, if carried out in Finland, would be taxable.
  • The purchase concerns the applicant's business operations abroad which, if carried out in Finland, would entitle the applicant to a refund according to the VAT Act (as activities known as 'zero-rated', see below in sections 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 for further details).
  • The purchase concerns the sales of transportation services in Finland, and ancillary services to them, which is not taxable under §§ 71, 72 d or 72 h, VAT Act (see section 3.1.1 below).
  • The purchase concerns the sales of goods and services by the applicant in Finland for which the buyer, instead of the seller, is liable to pay VAT (known as reverse charge - for more information, see section 3.1.3 below).
  • The purchase concerns sales of goods and services by the applicant to the State of Finland.

3.1.1 Operations subject to a zero-rate

If the purchase is related to applicant's business operations abroad, which would be treated subject to zero-rate if they were operated in Finland, the applicant is entitled to a refund for the input VAT. This implies that selling of zero-rated goods and services give right to deduct the input VAT when related purchases have been made.

If the foreign business has carried out certain sales of transport services or ancillary services to them, it is eligible to a VAT refund of the purchases related to those sales.

If the purchases relate to some other zero-rated operations in Finland (such as export trade, intra-community supply of goods, VAT-exempt vessels, or services related to them), the applicant is not eligible for VAT refunds normally offered to foreign businesses. To be able to deduct the input VAT in respect to these purchases, the foreign business should register for VAT in Finland. Input VAT is then refunded on the basis of VAT returns, in the same way as for the Finnish businesses.

For more information, see our guidance 'VAT registration of foreigners in Finland'.

3.1.2 Investment gold, gold material and semi-manufactured gold products

If the purchase relate to applicant's business operations in a foreign country, which if operated in Finland would be treated as exempt sales of investment gold, the foreign business is entitled to VAT refunds for:

  1. VAT paid on taxable investment gold bought from a supplier liable to tax,
  2. VAT that is included in the purchase of gold that will be transformed by the applicant, or at its request, into investment gold,
  3. VAT paid on any services for the transforming of the investment gold or other gold in respect of form, weight or purity.

For more information (in Finnish and Swedish) on the VAT treatment of investment gold, see our guidance 'VAT treatment of investment gold'.

3.1.3 Reverse charge

General liability to VAT under the reverse charge

Reverse charge is applicable when the seller is a foreign business that has no fixed establishment for VAT purposes in Finland from which he is conducting its business and has not applied for a voluntary VAT registration in Finland. In terms of these sales, the VAT is paid by the buyer. If the foreign business has no other selling in Finland than those falling into this category, it is entitled to VAT refund for foreign businesses relating to its purchases in Finland.

However, there are cases in which the reverse charge is not applicable. The foreign business, being the seller, is always liable to pay the VAT in the following circumstances:

  1. The buyer, too, is a foreign business with no fixed establishment for VAT purposes in Finland and no VAT registration in Finland.
  2. The buyer is a private person.
  3. The sale is a distance sale of goods from another EU country to private persons in Finland or to other non-VAT-liable persons comparable with them. For more information, see our guidance Rules and procedures regarding distance sales to non-taxable persons and VAT.
  4. The sale is passenger transportation services, or services associated with the admittance to teaching, scientific, cultural, entertainment or sports events, fairs, exhibitions or other such events

If the foreign business has made sales in Finland that correspond to the above definition, it is not entitled to VAT refunds for any part of your operation. To be able to deduct the input VAT in respect to these purchases, the foreign business should register for Finnish VAT. Input VAT is then refunded on the basis of VAT returns, in the same way as for the Finnish businesses.

For more information, see our guidance 'VAT registration of foreigners in Finland'.

Construction sector: reverse charge

Reverse charge is applied to certain construction services and related employee leasing in Finland. The reverse charge should be applied whenever both of the following conditions are met:

  1. The service has the characteristics of construction services or the characteristics of employee leasing for purposes of building, and
  2. The buyer is a business that sells construction services or rents out workforce as leased employees more than on a temporary basis.

Reverse charge scheme should be applied to the supply if a Finnish or a foreign business sells construction services to a foreign business, which in the course of its normal activities also is a seller of construction services more than on a temporary basis. If the foreign buyer does not have a fixed establishment for VAT purposes in Finland and has not voluntarily registered for VAT in Finland, it is required that the foreign buyer registers for VAT as notification duty concerning construction services, and starts submitting VAT returns to the Finnish Tax Administration. In this case, the returns should only contain information relevant to the construction services being rendered. To reclaim the input VAT on other purchases made in Finland, the foreign buyer may submit an application for VAT refund on the condition that the general requirements for such refunds are met.

For more information (in Finnish and in Swedish), see our guidance 'Reverse VAT liability in the construction sector'.

Scrap metal sector: reverse charge

The reverse charge is applied to the operations of the scrap metal sales sector; it should be applied whenever both of the following conditions are met:

  1. The buyer is a business registered for VAT;
  2. The goods sold are listed under the CN nomenclature, classified by the VAT Act as being scrap metal within the meaning of the customs tariff.

If both the seller and the buyers of scrap metal are foreign businesses not on the Finnish VAT Register, the reverse charge scheme (under § 9, VAT Act) is not applied on the supply of scrap metal. The foreign seller should pay VAT; this involves the obligation to register for VAT in Finland as a business liable to pay VAT. In this case, the foreign seller is not entitled to VAT refund for foreign businesses for any part of its operation. Input VAT is then refunded on the basis of VAT returns, in the same way as for the Finnish businesses.

For more information (in Finnish and Swedish), see our guidance 'Reverse-charge VAT on sales of scrap metal'.

Buyers of emission rights: reverse charge

As for the selling of emission rights (for combatting global warming) in Finland, the parties to the transaction must apply the reverse charge. What is meant by 'emission rights' is the allowance to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent during a specified period (within the meaning of the Council Directive 2003/87/EC on Greenhouse gas emissions). The party that should pay VAT is the buyer, if the buyer is registered for VAT in Finland. If the buyer is not VAT registered, the seller of the emission allowance is liable to account for the VAT and to pay it on the sale in the usual way. In this case, the foreign seller who has made sales in Finland that correspond to the above definition, is not entitled to VAT refund for foreign businesses for any part of its operation. To be able to deduct the input VAT in respect to these purchases, the foreign business should register for VAT in Finland. Input VAT is then refunded on the basis of VAT returns, in the same way as for Finnish businesses.

Buyers of gold: reverse charge

If the purchase of goods or services is related to supply of taxable investment gold, gold materials, or semi-manufactured gold in Finland or in foreign countries and the reverse charge has been applied to the sales transactions, the foreign business is entitled to receive a refund for the input VAT. A condition for the refund is that the business activity abroad would entitle to opt for taxation if carried out in Finland. The right to refund also concerns any goods and services that have been purchased for the purposes of selling a taxable intermediary service of taxable investment gold.

3.1.4 Financial services, insurance services, sales of tax-exempt banknotes and coins

If the purchase of goods or services is related to selling of financial services, insurance services, sales of tax-exempt banknotes and coins, as referred to in VAT Act, the foreign business is entitled to receive a refund for the input VAT. This requires that:

  1. The buyer is a business that does not have a domicile or a fixed establishment for VAT purposes in EU territory; or
  2. The selling is directly connected with goods intended for export from the EU.

3.2 Operation that would qualify for deductions in the country of establishment

If the country of establishment of the applicant's business has a VAT system, there are additionally a number of requirements and conditions that concern the refunding. The right to receive refunds requires that the applicant has purchased the goods and services for purposes of a business operation in that country, and the purchases give rise to right to deduct there. In these circumstances, the maximum refundable VAT is what the legislation of the country of establishment provides for.

What is meant by 'the country of establishment' is the country where the applicant has its domicile for purposes of business, or a fixed establishment for VAT purposes through which it carries out selling.

In the country of establishment, applicants may carry out business activities that in part are treated as deductible, and in part, as non-deductible supply of goods and services. The rules that primarily determine the amounts of VAT refunds are primarily the Finnish VAT rules that concern the liability to VAT of a business, those that concern partial rights to VAT deductions and the restrictions of the right to deduct. Although Finnish VAT rules determine the amount of refund, its maximum amount cannot be higher than what is deductible in the country of establishment.

If the purchases of goods and services are only partly intended for purposes that are deductible, it should be declared on the refund application form. The deductible proportion should be expressed in connection with each invoice and import document.

4 Accepted types of purchases with input VAT

What entitles the foreign business to a VAT refund includes the following taxable purchases:

  • Hotel accommodation, travel in Finland
  • Fuel and lubricants for cars, spare parts for cars, short-term car rental, and parking
  • Admissions to conferences, exhibitions and fairs
  • Samples of goods
  • Office supplies, photocopies, maps and professional literature.

The right to a VAT refund corresponds to Finnish VAT-registered businesses' right to deduct input VAT. The restrictions of deduction rights that are set out in VAT Act also apply to the refunds payable to foreign businesses. In this way, the following purchases, among others, are not eligible for refund:

Immovable property that the taxable person or his employees use as a residence, or as a kindergarten, as a recreational or leisure facility as well as goods and services connected with it or its use

  1. Goods and services related to transportation between the residence and place of work of the taxable person or his employees
  2. Purchases intended for the private consumption of the taxable person or his employees. Such a purchase is e.g. breakfast in connection with hotel accommodation.
  3. Goods and services for representation i.e. entertainment purposes.
  4. Purchase of passenger cars, and purchases of goods and services related to a passenger car, unless the car has been purchased solely for business purposes. No refunds are paid in case a passenger car is used for purposes that do not entitle to a deduction, even if such use would only represent a small percentage of the total.
  5. Expenses associated with the supply of exempt investment gold. (Please see 3.1.2. E.g. general costs and transportation costs in connection with sales operations are not eligible for VAT refund.)
  6. The goods and services that a foreign travel agent has bought from other businesses in his own name, and which are used directly for the benefit of the passengers or travellers. Travel agency services are within the VAT margin scheme. For this reason, the input VAT on such goods and services cannot be deductible and will not be refunded.

For more information (in Finnish or in Swedish) see our guidance 'Tax treatment of travel services under the VAT margin scheme'.

No refund is paid on purchases that are exempt from VAT, such as airline tickets for international flights. No refund is paid when the invoice wrongly includes VAT. If a seller has raised an invoice for goods or services with VAT, but no VAT should be payable in the circumstances, the Finnish Tax Administration will not refund the input VAT. Instead, the buyer should contact the seller to request for refund of incorrectly invoiced input VAT.

5 Applications for VAT refunds

5.1 Refund period

The refund period shall not be more than one calendar year or less than three calendar months (in other words, 3 to 12 months that all should fall into the same calendar year). Refund periods may only consist of entire calendar months, not parts of a calendar month. However, an application can cover less than three months e.g. December only, that is, if this is all that remains of the calendar year.

Refund periods must be in the past. This means that if the date of submittal is 15 July, the period concerned cannot include the month of July. Consequently, such an application cannot include any invoices dated on July that year.

An application cannot be submitted only on the basis that the applicant has received the invoice. In addition, is required that the goods has been supplied, or service has been rendered, or payment has been made. The input VAT on the purchases is related to the refund period during which the latter of the two following events occurred:

  • Goods were delivered, service rendered, or full or partial payment was made in advance of delivery;
  • Invoicing for the goods or services was done.

If the application concerns VAT on imported goods, its application period must be the month of customs clearance.

If the applicant has forgotten to include an invoice relating to an earlier period during the current calendar year in a previous application, it is permissible to include that in another application that concerns the same calendar year. In this way, an applicant who has forgotten a January purchase invoice from his application for the January-to-April period, it is permissible to include the input VAT on that invoice in another application, made at the end of the year. In this case, it is required that the refund period is specified as 'January to December'.

Examples:
'A' participates in a seminar held in February 2017. However, the invoice for this seminar arrives to 'A' earlier, and is dated 15 December 2016. 'A' settles it on 7 January 2017. Conclusion: 'A' must include this invoice in a refund application during the 2017 calendar year.

'B' submits a refund application in May 2016 for the period 1 January to 31 March 2016. In July that year, 'B' notes that one of the invoices of February 2016 was left out. 'B' submits a new application on 31 August for the period 1 April to 30 June 2016. To correct the situation with the forgotten invoice, it is permissible for 'B' to include it in this application, but 'B' must change its period to 1 February to 30 June 2016. In February 2017, 'B' prepares yet one more application for the 2016 calendar year. Its period is 1 July to 31 December 2016.

In December 2016, 'C' submits a VAT refund application for the period 1 January to 31 October 2016. However, in March 2017, 'C' finds out that two invoices that were dated for September 2016 were left out. The two forgotten invoices would yield a VAT refund of €40.00. 'C' does not have any other 2016 invoices that would qualify. Conclusion: because minimum to be refunded is €50.00, 'C' cannot submit a new application for the two forgotten invoices.

5.2 Minimum VAT refund

If an application that relates to the entire calendar year or to its remaining part, the refundable amount may not be less than €50. In this context, the 'remaining part of a calendar year' refers to October, November and December. If application is submitted during the calendar year, the minimum amount is €400

5.3 Required information on the Form

Refunds must be requested from the Finnish Tax Administration. A form must be completed. It is Form 9550, which may be completed in English, Finnish or Swedish. Applicant's signature on the completed form is treated as an affirmation that all the facts and information are reported correctly. Signatory must be someone with the right to sign for the company, or someone who has a letter of authorisation signed by someone with the right to sign for the company.

As of 1 January 2017, it is no longer required to enclose invoices and import documents. Instead, applicants should fill in the invoice details (similarly for import documents) when completing form 9550.

Application form for foreign businesses outside EU for requesting refund of VAT (9550)

Tax number issued by the applicant's home country

Applicant must give value added tax identification number or tax reference number issued in the country of establishment. The VAT identification number or tax reference number is shown on certificate issued by the tax authority in the applicant's home that should be attached to the application. If applicant e.g. due to authority practice in the applicant's country of establishment has neither a VAT identification number nor a tax reference number the applicant should state the number corresponding to the trade register number. In such case an original extract from the trade register should be attached.

It is mandatory to give a tax reference number issued in the country of establishment. When applicant files a new application, the same number should be used.

If the applicant is a member of a VAT group in their country of establishment, the application must be submitted by the VAT group. However, if the individual entity has a VAT registration number of its own, it is entitled to submit an application independently concerning the purchases the entity has made.

Bank account details in a bank located in an EU country

The Finnish Tax Administration pays the refund to the applicant or to a party to whom the applicant has referred to. The refund will be paid by bank transfer, either to a bank in Finland or in another EU country. The refund will not be paid to any bank outside the European Union. It is important that the applicant provides complete bank details. Name and address of the bank, the 'IBAN' account number, and the 'BIC' code of the bank have to be mark on the application form. The refund is paid in euros.

Applications should include a specification of invoices and import documents

Each invoice and import document should be listed. Applicant should give the following details:

  • Sequence number of the invoice or import document
  • Invoice date, invoice number or import document date and number
  • Name of the Finnish seller of goods or services (for import documents, fill in the name of the seller established outside the EU)
  • Seller's Business ID of the Finnish seller, Y-tunnus in Finnish (not applicable for import documents)
  • Price in Euros excluding VAT
  • The amount of VAT in euros
  • Deductible portion expressed as a percentage (see section 3.2.1 above, The deductible proportion)
  • Requested amount to be refunded, in Euros
  • Code for describing the nature of purchased goods and services.

Finland only accepts the codes listed in section 7 below. You must give the main code and its sub-code numbers (required formats: x.y or x.y.z). For example, car rental business is a service indicated by the 2.5 code. For rental services of a van, truck or other goods transport vehicle, the code is 2.4. For a complete list of expenditure codes, see section 7 below. For each invoice or import document, you can use as many codes as are necessary. However, if your application form were to contain codes that are not valid for Finland, or if it only displays a main code number without the appropriate sub-code, this part of your application may be rejected.

Signature

Completed application forms must be signed. The signatory should be someone with the right to sign on behalf of the applicant.

5.4 Required enclosures

Certificate of the applicant's line of business

Application forms must be enclosed with documentation issued by the tax authorities of the country of establishment that gives details on the type of business the applicant operates. This documentation or certificate is treated as being valid for one year starting from its date of issue.

If the applicant is a seller of taxable investment gold, the documentation should prove that the applicant operates such a business in your country.

Power of Attorney

It is permissible for an agent (or a representative) to complete the VAT refund application form on behalf of the applicant. Such an agent may be domiciled in Finland or elsewhere. If an agent completes the form, a Power of Attorney should be enclosed. It should indicate whether the agent is only authorised to submit the application or whether he also is authorised to receive the payment.

Power of Attorney which is effective until further notice does not have to be attached to every application the agent makes. However, the Finnish Tax Administration retains the Power of Attorneys not longer than six years. Therefore, even a Power of Attorney which is effective until further notice should be attached to the application every six years.

See here for a model Power of Attorney (pdf)

The model Power of Attorney is formatted as being effective until further notice. However, Power of Attorney drafted by applicant in free-text format is also accepted, if it contains the same information as the model.

Documents attached to a request for further information by the Tax Administration

As of 1 January 2017, it is no longer obligatory to enclose invoice and import documents with refund applications. However, the Finnish Tax Administration may ask the applicant to furnish the original invoice and import documents, or copies of them, if this is necessary. It continues to be required that the invoices have the mandatory information printed on them:

VAT details on the invoices

It is required that the enclosed invoices have the following VAT details printed on them:

  • Invoice date of issue
  • Invoice number
  • Seller's VAT registration number (i.e. their Finnish Business ID)
  • Names and addresses of the seller and the buyer
  • Quantity and category of goods sold, extent and category of services sold
  • Delivery date of goods, completion date of service delivery, or date of payment of an advance payment, if such a date can be defined and it is not the same as the date of issue of the invoice
  • Base of VAT, specifically for different VAT rates if applicable, unit price without VAT, any credits and discounts, if they have not been included in the unit price
  • The rate of VAT that applies to what is being sold
  • Total amount of VAT charged
  • Reference to a previous invoice, if the invoice is intended as a correction to it.

Simplified information of the invoices

Invoices with simplified information are acceptable in the following circumstances:

  • The sale of goods or services is for €400 or less as the invoice total;
  • The invoice concerns retail sales (or similar, where majority of the buyers are private individuals);
  • It concerns restaurant and catering services or passenger transport services;
  • The invoice is a printout from a parking meter or a similar device.

In this way, simplified information is enough on receipts from a department store, train tickets, bus tickets, machine-printed receipts for parking fees etc.

The following details are required for the simplified invoices:

  • Invoice date of issue
  • Seller's name and VAT registration number (i.e. their Finnish Business ID)
  • Quantity and category of goods, or a description of services
  • Total amounts of VAT charged specifically for each VAT rate, or bases of VAT, specifically for each VAT rate.

5.5 Last date to apply for refund

Applications for VAT refunds should be made within 6 months of the end of the calendar year to which the refund period relates, i.e. by 30 June. For example, the last date to apply for a refund relating to a VAT taxable period within the 2016 calendar year is 30 June 2017. Application forms arriving after that date are not taken into consideration.

6 Decisions may be appealed against

As of 1 January 2017 a written claim for adjustment can be submitted to the Board of Adjustment in order to appeal against a VAT refund decision or a debiting decision. The claims should only concern the VAT on purchases that had been included in the original VAT refund application.
The claim for adjustment should be addressed to the Board of Adjustment but it should be sent to the Finnish Tax Administration. If the appeal concerns a decision which is dated in 2016 or earlier, the appeal process follows the previous rules, that is, the complaint is addressed to Helsinki Administrative Court but should be sent to the Finnish Tax Administration.
Claims for adjustments cannot be delivered electronically. They should be written either in Finnish or in Swedish.

Mandatory contents for the claim for adjustment:

  • Appellant's name
  • Which decision is being appealed against
  • Which section of the decision the claim concerns, and the suggested change to the decision, and
  • On what grounds the changes the appellant seeks the changes.

If a representative lodges the claim for adjustment on behalf of the appellant, a Power of Attorney should be enclosed, and its text should expressly authorise the representative to lodge a claim.

The claim for adjustment should be made within three years of the calendar year of the period the refund decision concerns. However, the claim for adjustment can always be made within 60 days from receiving the notification of the decision. Decision documents are treated as having arrived to their recipients and therefore notified to them on the seventh day after the Finnish Tax Administration has sent them via postal services.

Example:
'A' wants to make file in a claim for adjustment concerning a VAT refund decision, dated 9 October 2017, issued by the Finnish Tax Administration. The decision concerns the period from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. 'A' should have the claim for adjustment delivered by 31 December 2019, and the letter should be written out as per the 'Instructions for Appeal' text enclosed with the VAT refund that 'A' received. Although the claim for adjustment is addressed to the Board of Adjustment, 'A' should deliver it to the Finnish Tax Administration.

7 Codes used in VAT refund applications to Finland

Applicants should use the codes listed in the text of the Commission implementing Regulation (EU) No 79/2012, Annex III, to describe the nature of goods and services purchased in Finland. The code is expressed by using both the main and the sub code (in format: x.y or x.y.z). Several codes may be used per invoice or import document if necessary. If the application were to contain codes that are not valid for Finland, or if it only displays a main code without the appropriate sub code, this part of the application may be rejected.

Fuel
1.3 Fuel for means of transport for paying passengers
1.4 Fuel used specifically for test vehicles
1.5 Petroleum products used for lubrication of means of transport or engines
1.6 Fuel purchased for resale
1.7 Fuel for means of goods transport
1.8.1 Fuel for passenger and multipurpose cars
Used exclusively for business purposes
1.8.2 Fuel for passenger and multipurpose cars
Used partly for commercial passenger transport, driving instruction or rental purposes
1.8.3 Fuel for passenger and multipurpose cars
Used partly for other than 1.8.2 purposes
1.9.1 Fuel for motorcycles, caravans and vessels for recreational or sports purposes, and aircraft with a mass less than 1 550 kg
Used for commercial passenger transport, driving instruction or rental purposes
1.9.2 Fuel for motorcycles, caravans and vessels for recreational or sports purposes, and aircraft with a mass less than 1 550 kg
Used for business purposes
1.10 Fuel for machines and agriculture tractors
1.12 Fuel for means of passenger transport other than 1.8 and 1.9.

Hiring of means of transport
2.4 Hiring of means of goods transport
2.5 Hiring of passenger and multipurpose cars
2.6 Hiring of motorcycles, caravans and vessels for recreational or sports purposes, and aircraft with a mass less than 1 550 kg
2.12 Hiring or means of transport other than 2.5 and 2.6.

Expenditure relating to means of transport (other than goods and services referred to under codes 1 and 2)
3.3.1 Purchase of a means of transport for paying passengers
3.3.2 Maintenance of a means of transport for paying passengers
3.3.3 Purchase and installation of accessories for a means of transport for paying passengers
3.3.4 Garaging or parking of a means of transport for paying passengers
3.3.5 Other expenditure relating to a means of transport for paying passengers
3.4.1 Purchase of a means of goods transport
3.4.2 Maintenance of means of goods transport
3.4.3 Garaging or parking of means of goods transport
3.4.4 Expenditure relating to means of goods transport other than 3.4.1, 3.4.2 and 3.4.3.
3.5 Maintenance of passenger and multipurpose cars
3.6 Maintenance of motorcycles, caravans and vessels for recreational and sports purposes, and aircrafts with a mass greater than 1 550 kg
3.7 Expenditure, other than maintenance, garaging and parking relating to passenger and multipurpose cars
3.8 Expenditure, other than maintenance, garaging and parking, relating to motorcycles, caravans and vessels, for recreational and sports purposes, and aircrafts with a mass greater than 1 550 kg
3.15 Maintenance of means of passenger transport other than passenger and multipurpose cars, motorcycles, caravans and vessels for recreational and sports purposes, and aircraft with a mass greater than 1 550 kg
3.16 Garaging or parking of means of passenger transport
3.17 Expenditure, other than maintenance, garaging or parking relating to means of transport other than passenger and multipurpose cars, motorcycles, caravans and vessels for recreational and sports purposes, and aircraft with a mass greater than 1 550 kg.

Travel expenses, such as taxi fares, public transport fares
5.1 For the taxable person or an employee of the taxable person
5.2 For someone other than the taxable person, or an employee of the taxable person

Accommodation
6.1 Expenditure on lodging and accommodation for the taxable person, or an employee of the taxable person
6.2 Expenditure on lodging and accommodation for someone other than the taxable person or an employee of the taxable person
6.6 Expenditure on lodging and accommodation for onward supply

Food, drink and restaurant services
7.1 Food and drink provided by hotels, bars, restaurants and boarding houses, including breakfast
7.2 Food and drink provided in the context of a conference, fair, exhibition or congress
7.4 Restaurant services purchased for onward supply

Admission to fairs and exhibitions
8.1 For the taxable person or an employee of the taxable person
8.2 For someone other than the taxable person or an employee of the taxable person

Expenditure on luxuries, amusements and entertainment
9.1 Purchase of alcohol
9.2 Purchase of manufactured tobacco
9.3 Expenditure on receptions and entertainment

Other
10.1 Tools
10.2 Repairs within a warranty period
10.3 Services connected with education
10.4.1 Work on immovable property
10.4.2 Work on immovable property used as a dwelling
10.4.3 Work on movable property other than code 3
10.5.1 Purchase or hiring of immovable property
10.5.2 Purchase or hiring of immovable property used as a dwelling, or for recreational or leisure use
10.5.3 Purchase or hiring of movable property connected with or used in immovable property used as dwelling, or for recreational or leisure use
10.5.4 Purchase or hiring of movable property other than code 2
10.6 Provision of water, gas or electricity through a distribution network
10.7 Gifts of a small value
10.8 Office expenses
10.9 Participation in fairs and seminars, education or training
10.11 Expenditure on postage of mail to countries outside the EU
10.12 Expenditure on fax and phone in connection with accommodation
10.13 Goods and services acquired by a travel organiser for the direct benefit of the traveller
10.14 Goods purchased for resale other than 1.6
10.15 Services purchased for resale other than 6.6 ja 7.4
10.16 Work on property
10.17.1 Expenditure on immovable property used as a dwelling, or for recreational or leisure use
10.17.2 Expenditure on immovable property other than what is referred to by code 10.17.1.


Mika Jokinen
Senior Tax Specialist

Markku Parviainen
Tax Specialist