Individual tax numbers and the public tax number register

Date of issue
3/31/2022
Validity
4/1/2022 - Until further notice

This is an unofficial translation. The official instruction is drafted in Finnish (Veronumero ja julkinen veronumerorekisteri, record number VH/798/00.01.00/2022) and Swedish (Skattenummer och offentligt skattenummerregister) languages.

This guidance replaces the previous guidance Individual tax numbers and the public Tax Number Register.

The tax number system used in the construction industry is extended to the shipbuilding industry as of 1 July 2022. For this reason, the act on the individual tax number and the tax number register in the construction sector (Laki veronumerosta ja rakennusalan veronumerorekisteristä 1231/2011) was repealed and a new act on the individual tax number and the tax number register (Laki veronumerosta ja veronumerorekisteristä 473/2021) was passed. There will also be changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Act in order to encompass the extended tax number system. The new act will enter into force on 1 July 2022. However, individuals working in the shipbuilding industry can be entered into the tax number register on request starting 1 April 2022.

There will be no changes to the tax number system for individuals working in the construction industry. The tax number system concerning the shipbuilding industry differs from the system in the construction industry in that a person working at a shipyard is registered in the tax number register for a maximum period of three years. Additionally, the construction industry’s obligation to provide information on contracts and construction workers does not apply to the shipbuilding industry.

1 Introduction

Everyone working on a construction site or at a shipyard must have a photo ID that displays their tax number. Additionally, the tax number must be in the public tax number register. The Finnish Tax Administration’s online information service allows users to check whether an individual worker’s name and tax number are in the tax number register.

The practice involving the individual tax numbers aims to ensure that those who work at a construction site or shipyard have been registered with the Tax Administration before they start working. The purpose of tax number registration is to monitor the validity of the personal IDs of individuals working in the construction and shipbuilding industries, as well as to monitor the tax-related obligations of employers, employees and self-employed workers.

2 Tax number and photo ID

2.1 Tax number

The individual tax number is a 12-character string of numbers that does not reveal the individual's age, sex or date of birth. If you work in construction and move from one site to another, or leave your current employer and start working for another construction-sector employer, your individual tax number will not change. All individuals working at construction sites or shipyards must have tax numbers.

To get a tax number, you need a Finnish personal ID, which must also be registered in the Population Information System. Finnish citizens receive their personal IDs automatically. Citizens of other countries must request for their personal data to be entered into the Population Information System, and after doing this they will receive a Finnish personal ID.

The Tax Administration’s normal practice is to issue tax numbers automatically to all natural persons who have a Finnish personal ID. The tax number must be displayed on the photo IDs that workers are required to wear at construction sites and shipyards. The obligation to carry identifiers at shipyards will enter into force on 1 July 2022.

Additionally, the tax number must be in the public tax number register maintained by the Tax Administration. Tax numbers are generally treated as confidential information in the same way as tax information. For this reason, the authorities are not allowed to distribute information on tax numbers to other outside parties than to those who are legally entitled to it.

2.2 Photo ID

The obligation to carry a photo ID and the requirements concerning the contents of the ID are the same in the construction and shipbuilding industries.  Provisions on these are found in sections 52a and 52c of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

As provided in section 52a of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the buyer of construction services who manages or controls a construction site must take action to ensure that everyone who works at the site wears a photo ID. The provision concerns shared construction sites.

Under section 2.1 of the Government Decree on safety in construction work, a construction site is considered shared if there is more than one employer, or more than one independent operator, working at the site simultaneously or successively.

Under section 52c of the Occupational Safety and Health Act entering into force on 1 July 2022, the employer exercising the main authority at a shipyard is obligated to make sure that the individuals working at the site are wearing photo IDs. The provision applies to shipyards that are considered shared workplaces. The information that must be displayed on the IDs is specified in section 52a of the act.

Under section 49 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a shared workplace is a workplace where one employer exercises the main authority and where more than one employer or more than one self-employed worker operate simultaneously or successively.

No officially required format has been specified for the ID. However, under section 52a of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the ID must contain the following information:

  • the person’s name
  • the person’s photograph
  • the employer's name
  • the person’s tax number, which must also be entered in the public tax number register
  • information on whether the worker at the site is an employee on the payroll or a self-employed individual.

People who are about to start work at a construction site or a shipyard are not entitled to begin working or to receive an access pass to the site until they have a photo ID with their registered tax number.

2.3 Obligation to wear a photo ID and how this is monitored

The obligation to wear a photo ID concerns everyone working at a shared construction site or at a shipyard that is considered a shared workplace. The obligation concerns both employees and self-employed workers. The latter category includes independent contractors who operate a trade or a business as self-employed individuals as well as shareholder-partners of various partnerships.

The job descriptions of the individuals working at a construction site or a shipyard are irrelevant. This means that photo IDs must also be worn by those whose work is not characterised as construction work, such as office workers, cleaners or guards at a construction site. In the same way, teachers and students of a vocational school of the construction trades must wear photo IDs when they perform work at a construction site or at a shipyard.

However, under section 52a of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, photo IDs are not required of those who are delivering goods to a site on a temporary basis, unless they participate in the construction work. Photo IDs are also not required at a site of a private individual where a building is either being built or repaired and it is intended for the individual’s private use. Photo IDs are not required on sites that are not shared construction sites.

Under section 52c of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a person delivering goods to a shipyard on a temporary basis does not need to wear a photo ID at the shipyard. Nor is the ID necessary for employees, who are crewmembers on a vessel owned or operated by the company commissioning or operating the vessel and who work in the shipyard in tasks related to the commissioning of the vessel.

The construction site’s project supervisor and the constructor must make sure that everyone who works at the site wears a photo ID as required by section 52a of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The responsible party at a shipyard is the employer who has primary authority at the site. In addition, the employers present at the construction site and shipyard must make sure their workers and their contracting partners wear the IDs. 

As provided in section 63 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, constructors, project supervisors and employers in the construction industry who have not enforced the requirement to wear photo IDs may be sentenced to a fine for violation of occupational safety and health. In the shipbuilding industry, it is the employer and the employer exercising the main authority at a shipyard that are fined for this type of negligence.

According to Government proposal 2/2021, it is not considered a violation of occupational safety and health, as referred to in section 63 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, when the registered tax number is missing from a photo ID due to compelling reasons. However, it is required that the tax number registration is done as soon as it is possible to do so. Such a situation may arise when specialists are urgently needed in the final stages of building a ship so that the shipbuilding project will not be delayed, and it was not possible to prepare for the arrival of the specialists in advance.

If there are compelling reasons and the work at a construction site or at a shipyard is carried out in such a short period of time that receiving and registering a tax number is not possible before the work is done, the tax number and its registration do not need to be applied retroactively if the worker has already left Finland. Such a situation may arise when work is done during the weekend and the tax offices are closed.

Occupational safety and health authorities monitor the use of the photo IDs. For more information on the use of photo IDs and how their use should be monitored, visit  www.tyosuojelu.fi.

2.4 The definition of a construction site

If a site falls within the scope of application of the Government Decree on the Safety of Construction Work (asetus rakennustyön turvallisuudesta, 205/2009), it is a construction site.  Section 1 of the Decree contains the following definition of what is considered construction and building:

  • Work relating to new buildings, renovations and maintenance of buildings and other structures that take place under or above the ground, or in water, as well as related installation work, demolition, civil engineering, and construction design.
  • The Decree is also applied to the preparation and planning of construction projects concerning such work.

Therefore, repair and construction work relating to a real estate unit, for example, must be treated as construction. A real estate unit refers to an area of land, a building and a permanent structure, or some part thereof. Permanent structures refer to bridges, piers, networks for the distribution of electric power, water, heating and networks for telecommunications. Construction work means both the construction of buildings and civil engineering.

Construction of buildings covers all kinds of buildings and structures, repair work, major improvements, alterations, extensions, renovations, installation work relating to buildings (such as electrical, insulation, heating, water piping, air conditioning, elevator systems, control and alarm systems), finishing work relating to buildings (special carpentry work, finishing of walls and floors, paint jobs, glazing jobs, rendering), offering the service of building machinery and equipment for rent (with a driver/operator), setup of fences and scaffolds.

Civil engineering covers site preparation work, demolition work, cleaning at building sites, construction of transport networks (roads, streets, railways, waterways, airports), construction of networks (utilities, water, electric power, gas, sewage, IT) and other environmental structures and earthworks (bridges, piers).

For more information, see the Tax Administration’s guidance on the information-reporting requirement in the construction industry (section 3) and the website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (www.tyosuojelu.fi) where the following materials (in Finnish) can be read: “Construction work, shared sites”––Rakennustyö ja yhteinen rakennustyömaa (pdf) and “Further information on photo IDs, required recordkeeping and shared sites”––Lisäkysymykset tunnisteisiin, luetteloon ja yhteiseen rakennustyömaahan liittyen (pdf).

2.5 The definition of a shipyard

Under section 52c of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a shipyard is a shared workplace where vessels intended for merchant shipping or for the use of public authorities are being built or repaired and where vessels of 24 metres or more in length can be built or repaired.

Under section 49 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a shared workplace is a workplace where one employer exercises the main authority and where more than one employer or more than one self-employed worker operate simultaneously or successively in such a way that the work may affect other employees’ safety or health.

3 Personal IDs and tax numbers issued by the Tax Administration

In order to get a tax number, you need to have a Finnish personal ID. For this reason, if you are a foreign national who arrives in Finland, you must submit a request for a Finnish personal ID (unless you have one already). With the personal ID, you will be assigned a tax number as well.

Individuals are given a Finnish personal ID when their details are added to the Population Information System, which is maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. A foreign citizen can receive a Finnish personal ID by visiting a service location of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency or an office of some other authority that issues personal IDs.

The Tax Administration and the Digital and Population Data Services Agency have a joint mandate to issue personal IDs to foreign citizens who arrive in Finland to work. The Tax Administration enters the following details in the Population Information System: full name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, address, citizenship, native language, and occupation. The Tax Administration will also ask you for other details needed for taxation, such as information about your employer or client, the length of your stay and employment in Finland, your wages or income and the type of your contract (i.e. whether you are a leased employee, self-employed or have an employment contract).

Once the information has been recorded in the Population Information System, the person will receive a Finnish personal ID. They will also be given a document containing their individual tax number. The document may be a tax card, tax-at-source card or a specific certificate that indicates the individual tax number.

The Tax Administration enters the person’s tax number into the construction or shipbuilding industry’s public tax number register. After this, the employer, the project supervisor at the construction site or the employer exercising the main authority at a shipyard can issue the worker a photo ID and the right to work at the construction site or shipyard.

In order to be issued a personal ID the person needs to visit a tax office.  For more information about what documents are needed when applying for a personal ID, see the instructions Finnish personal IDs for workers arriving in Finland. The instructions also contain a list of the Tax Administration’s offices that issue personal IDs.

4 Public tax number register

4.1 Tax number register

The disclosure of information from the tax number register is laid down in section 6 of the act on the individual tax number and the tax number register (Laki veronumerosta ja veronumerorekisteristä 473/2021). The tax number register is a public information service where everyone, notwithstanding the confidentiality provisions, has the right to check whether an individual has been entered into the register. When you perform a search, you must type the worker’s first and last name, and also their tax number. The search does not work if you only type in a name, or only type in a tax number.

The information service tells whether a person’s details are in the tax number register and whether the person works in the construction or the shipbuilding industry. For persons working in the shipbuilding industry, the register also shows the end date of their registration. Any other information (such as the individual’s personal ID) is not shown.

The information service for individuals working in the shipbuilding industry will be implemented on 1 July 2022 when the new act on the individual tax number and the tax number register will enter into force.

Click the link on the Tax number register page to access to the information service.

4.2 Entering tax numbers into the register

The mere fact that the Tax Administration has issued a worker a tax number does not mean that the person has been entered into the tax number register. The Tax Administration enters a person into the register when requested to do so. When making the request, it must be specified whether the person is to be entered into the construction industry’s or the shipbuilding industry’s register.

According to section 5 of the act on the individual tax number and the tax number register, the request to enter a worker into the register can be made by the worker, their employer, the project supervisor at a shared construction site or the employer exercising the main authority at a shipyard. In addition, the Tax Administration may also enter individuals into the tax number register on its own initiative.    

The following details are entered into the tax number register: the person’s name and Finnish personal ID, the tax number saved in the Tax Administration’s system, and information on whether the person works in the construction or the shipbuilding industry. Additionally, the end date of registration is recorded for those who work in the shipbuilding industry.

If a person works both at a construction site and at a shipyard, they are entered into the tax number register for both industries.

Under section 7 of the act on the individual tax number and the tax number register, persons working in the shipbuilding industry are registered for a period of three years. The employer, the worker or the employer exercising the main authority at a shipyard, can renew the registration at any point while it is still valid. In such a case, a new three-year period starts from the renewal date.

As previously, construction workers are registered for the tax number register with no end date of registration.

For individuals who were in the tax number register on 31 March 2022, the Tax Administration specifies on its own initiative that the individuals work at a construction site. Individuals working in the shipbuilding industry can be entered into the tax number register on request starting 1 April 2022. Tax number registration will become mandatory in the shipbuilding industry as of 1 July 2022.

Employers can request tax numbers for their employees on a centralised basis by sending a file containing the employees’ personal IDs to the Tax Administration electronically. When making the request, the employer can also ask the Tax Administration to enter the workers into the tax number register. See the instructions on the Tax number page for more information on the procedure.

4.3 Removal from the tax number register

According to section 7 of act on the individual tax number and the tax number register, the personal information of a person working in the construction industry may be deleted from the register at their own request when they no longer work at a construction site. The individual must provide a statement that they no longer work in the construction industry. For example, they may have moved on to work for an employer outside the construction industry. 

The Tax Administration may, on its initiative, delete someone’s information from the tax number register if two years have passed and no employee details of the construction industry, within the meaning of section 15b of the act on assessment procedure (Laki verotusmenettelystä 1558/1995), have been submitted to the Tax Administration.

Persons working in the shipbuilding industry are registered for a period of three years. After the three-year period, the Tax Administration removes, on its own initiative, the details of a person working in the shipbuilding industry if the employer, the worker or the employer exercising the main authority at a shipyard has not renewed the registration.

The personal information of a person working at a shipyard can also be removed from the register at their own request, if the person provides a statement that they no longer work in the shipbuilding industry.

If a person has been registered for both the construction and the shipbuilding industry, it is possible to remove their registration from one of the industries.

The removal of registration cannot be carried out at the request of any other parties. This means that the employer or project supervisor of a construction site or the employer exercising the main authority at a shipyard cannot request the removal of a worker from the register. A tax number is given to each taxpayer personally and the primary party for whom the tax number is important is the person themself. Consequently, the person themself is the only party who can estimate whether or not the registration will continue to be necessary after the termination of employment, for example.

The Tax Administration does not send separate notifications concerning removals it has done on its own initiative. The validity of registrations can be checked from the public tax number register.

On request, the Tax Administration can re-enter a person’s information into the register. Tax numbers are permanent: if someone’s information is re-entered, the old tax number will be used because it does not change to a different one.

5 Information-reporting requirement in the construction industry

In addition to the control processes that involve the tax numbers and their public registration, monthly reports to the Tax Administration are also required in the construction industry. This information-reporting requirement does not apply to the shipbuilding industry.

The information-reporting requirement in the construction industry concerns activities related to construction, repairs and maintenance at a construction site, and all the businesses and employees engaging in such activities.

The buyer of construction services must give details on all the contractors and contracts of a site. In a subcontracting chain, each buyer, for their part, is required to file reports on their subcontractors. The reporting requirement concerns construction services within the meaning of the Value Added Tax Act, services involving setup and dismantling of scaffolding when this relates to construction, and services of providing leased employees to work in construction.

The site’s project supervisor must submit information on all workers and all other paid operators working at a shared construction site. All subcontractor companies and other businesses present at a shared construction site must give their employee details to the project supervisor.

For more information, see the instructions Information-reporting requirement in the construction industry.