Nordic Agreement Concerning the Collection and Transfer of Tax
- Date of issue
- 1/1/2019 - Until further notice
This is an unofficial translation. The official instruction is drafted in Finnish and Swedish languages.
This guide discusses the Nordic Agreement Concerning the Collection and Transfer of Tax, also known as the TREKK Treaty. The guide explains the prerequisites for transferring tax between two Nordic countries and outlines situations in which an individual’s tax may be transferred. Additionally, it contains guidance on how employment within the Nordic countries must be reported to the authorities in various circumstances.
The Nordic Agreement Concerning the Collection and Transfer of Tax is based on Article 20 of the Nordic Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (Treaty No 37/1991). The agreement is also known as the TREKK‑Treaty after the Danish word ‘trække’ (‘withhold’). The current TREKK Treaty (Treaty No 97/1997) entered into force on 1 January 1998. The treaty is applied in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Faroe Islands (autonomous region of Denmark). Greenland is not party to the agreement.
TREKK governs the transfer of tax between the Nordic countries and determines the country where tax must be withheld or prepayments collected. Transfer operations of tax can under TREKK provisions be conducted when tax has been paid on the taxpayer’s income in one of the countries but the rights of taxation belong to another country. The transferred tax counts as a payment of a tax levied in the receiving country. The objectives of tax transfers are first, to ensure that the final tax on income is paid to the right country, and second, to avoid double taxation. Amounts can be transferred in connection with prepayments, tax assessment or corrective assessment. The TREKK Treaty is designed to prevent situations in which a taxpayer is given a tax refund on the basis of income that is taxable in another country.
For example, the TREKK Treaty is applicable to situations where a Nordic employer pays wages for work performed in another Nordic country. The objective is to prevent taxpayers from having to make prepayments, for tax due on such income, to more than one Nordic country. The agreement also aims to ensure that such wages do not escape prepayments altogether, but that prepayments are always collected either in the worker’s home country or in the country in which they work. ‘Home country’ refers to a taxpayer’s country of residence as defined in the Nordic Income Tax Treaty.
In this guide, “prepayments” refer to both tax withheld by the payer and prepayments made by workers themselves. Taxpayers may need to make prepayments if, for example, their employer is not liable to withhold tax on the wages it pays out in another Nordic country.
2 Overview of the TREKK Treaty
2.1 Scope of application
The TREKK Treaty applies to income tax governed by the Nordic Income Tax Treaty (Treaty No 26/1997). However, TREKK can only be applied to tax levied on specific types of income. It does not apply, for example, to tax at source charged on interest income or to employees’ and employers’ social insurance contributions.
The TREKK Treaty primarily applies to wages. It also applies to pensions and other social welfare benefits, such as sickness allowance. The treaty is applied to pensions regardless of whether they are earned income or capital income. Whether the pension is statutory or voluntary is also irrelevant. In addition to the above, the treaty covers business and trade income as well as remuneration for small-scale work that is taxed as the recipient’s personal income.
2.2 Competent authority
Tax transfers and correspondence relating to TREKK is regarded as a form of multilateral administrative assistance between Nordic tax authorities. The parties responsible for providing administrative assistance are the competent authorities in each country.
The competent authority under the TREKK Treaty for Finland is the Helsinki Area Tax Office. It is responsible for the correspondence relating to tax transfers, for reporting to foreign authorities, and for taxation. The competent authority is also responsible for sending requests, or making offers, relating to tax transfers to the competent authorities of other countries and for processing notifications arriving from other countries, regardless of the domicile of the taxpayer in question.
The Finnish Tax Administration’s unit called Payment and Collection (Maksu- ja perintäkeskus = Betalnings- och indrivningscentret) is in charge of any international recovery operations. This unit is also in charge of transferring tax funds under the TREKK Treaty in practice.
2.3 Exchange of information between the countries and reporting NT information
In order to implement the Treaty, the competent authorities of the Nordic countries must exchange information with one another from the prepayment stage onwards. The provisions of § 39, act on tax prepayment, set out an obligation for employers to provide information in case they have employees who work in another Nordic country. You must submit this information via the Income Register.
This is done by submitting the “earnings payment report” to the Incomes Register complete with the section for “NT information”. When filling in the spaces of the earnings payment report, the employer must select either the NT1 form type or the NT2 form type depending on whether prepayments will be paid in Finland as previously, or in another country. For detailed guidance on how to file reports to the Incomes Register, click on Reporting data to the Incomes Register: international situations. The Finnish Tax Administration sends the submitted NT information on to the competent authority of the Nordic country in question. The authorities also have their own forms for information exchange, for offering tax transfers to other countries, or for requesting transfers from them.
No prepayments of tax need to be deducted from workers’ wages in the country in which they work if the tax authorities of that country have been given a certificate issued by the Finnish Tax Administration, guaranteeing that tax is being withheld in Finland (the NT1 information). The Tax Administration issues a certificate in order to inform both the employer and the worker on the fact that NT1 information has been submitted to the Incomes Register. The NT2 information, on the other hand, is used by the employer to notify the Tax Administration that no tax is being withheld in Finland apart from a minimum amount for covering the worker’s health insurance contribution, where applicable. Employers do not have to withhold tax if the so-called six-month rule applies, or if a worker’s tax card is amended and their wages are exempted from Finnish tax, pursuant to tax-treaty provisions.
The employers’ obligations to report information, and the exchange of information between the authorities, do not remove the taxpayers’ personal responsibility for filing tax returns as they earn income in the country in which they work or live. Any income from abroad, in addition to income from domestic sources, must be reported on tax returns filed in the country of residence.
2.4 Tax transfers and Finland’s internal laws
Finland’s internal laws include provisions that factor in the transfer of taxes pursuant to the provisions of the TREKK Treaty. Pursuant to § 34, act on assessment procedure, prepayments transferred from another country to Finland are used towards tax levied during the tax year in question, and prepayments transferred from Finland to another country are not. In addition, any tax transferred from another country to Finland pursuant to § 60 of the act is deducted from the amount of tax levied in Finland in connection with corrective assessment or re-assessment following an appellate authority’s decision, if the transfer took place before the adjustment. § 56 of the act on tax collection lists the categories of tax revenue that can be transferred from Finland to other countries.
These provisions on tax transfers contained in Finland’s internal tax laws and the TREKK Treaty make tax paid in another Nordic country partially comparable to tax paid in Finland. Taxpayers can be given credit for tax transferred from another Nordic country when tax is levied on them in Finland. That is why, according to the agreement, the country that receives a tax transfer cannot charge interest on the transferred amount. This prevents taxpayers from having to pay interest on back taxes for tax payments made initially in another Nordic country. In the same way, the Nordic country that sends tax funds to a receiving Nordic country is not expected to add any credit interest to the amounts.
3 Prepayments based on wages and employers’ forms
3.1 When can the country in which a taxpayer works demand prepayments?
Pursuant to the TREKK Treaty, a country where a taxpayer from another Nordic country works can demand that the taxpayer make prepayments, if the country of work also has the right to tax the worker’s wages in final assessment. The right to tax income is determined on the basis of the Nordic Income Tax Treaty. In other words, the country of work can demand prepayments if one or more of the following conditions are satisfied:
- The worker spends more than 183 days during a consecutive period of 12 months in the country in which they work in one or more stretches.
- The worker’s wages are paid by the employer’s permanent establishment in the country in which the work is performed.
- The worker is a leased employee.
- The work relates to a hydrocarbon deposit as referred to in Article 21(7) of the Nordic Income Tax Treaty and lasts for more than 30 days.
If an employer posts workers to another country so that the country of work has the right to tax the workers’ wages, the tax authorities of that country are not always able to obtain information about the work solely on the basis of their own taxation and registration system. The TREKK Treaty stipulates that a worker’s country of residence must inform the Nordic country in which they work of the beginning of such work, in order to ensure communication between the two countries and in order to safeguard the mutual coordination of prepayments.
If prepayments need to be made in the country in which a taxpayer works, their country of residence cannot demand prepayments.
3.2 The NT1 information: tax withheld in the country of residence
If a Nordic employer posts its employees to another Nordic country so that the country in which the work is performed does not have the right to tax the workers’ wages, tax on the wages is withheld in the workers’ country of residence. The TREKK Treaty stipulates that proof of tax having been withheld in a worker’s country of residence must be presented to the country in which the work is performed, if necessary. Consequently, employers must inform the tax authorities in their workers’ country of residence of such work, by sending them the NT1 information.
The procedure for NT1 information in Finland is to fill in the “earnings payment reports” of the Incomes Register. The employer must give the information as soon as the worker begins his or her work in the other Nordic country. The Finnish Tax Administration sends the submitted NT information on to the competent authority of the Nordic country. The Tax Administration will additionally send the employer and the worker a notice stating that prepayments must continue to be made in Finland. When they receive the notice, the employer and the worker are not expected to respond to it. The Nordic countries have not given a commonly used name to the certificate that proves the NT1 information has been given.
If necessary, the worker presents the certificate to the tax authorities of the country of work. The country of work cannot demand prepayments after seeing the certificate. In practice, the certificate does not usually need to be presented in that country because its tax authorities receive the information from the tax authorities of the worker’s country of residence, or are able to verify otherwise that they do not have the right to tax the worker’s wages.
Example 1: A Finnish company posts a worker who resides in Finland to Sweden for a one-month job. When the job is finished, the worker returns to Finland. The company does not have a permanent establishment in Sweden and the worker is not a leased employee. Sweden does not have the right to tax the worker’s wages.
The employer fills in their earnings payment report, complete with NT1 information, to notify the Finnish Tax Administration that tax on the worker’s wages is being withheld in Finland. The Tax Administration send this information on to the Swedish Tax Agency. The Tax Administration sends a notice to the employer’s MyTax, and to the worker’s MyTax, stating that the Finnish employer continues to have the obligation to withhold tax in Finland.
However, the country where work is being performed can override the protection afforded by an NT1 certificate, by claiming that a worker is a leased employee. Pursuant to the TREKK Treaty, the country must in this case notify the worker’s country of residence if prepayments of tax need to be made in the country of work because the worker is actually a leased employee. The worker’s country of residence cannot demand prepayments if they receive such a notification. However, such situations often only come to light when the taxpayer contacts the tax authorities, or the authorities of the country of work request a tax transfer.
3.3 The NT2 information: no tax withheld in the country of residence
3.3.1 Working in another Nordic country
If a resident of Finland works for a Finnish employer in another Nordic country, so that their wages are subject to the six-month rule laid down in § 77 of the Finnish Income Tax Act, no tax is payable on their wages in Finland. Because no tax is withheld on tax-free earnings, the employer can choose to apply the six-month rule and forgo withholding tax on the worker’s wages, without any amendments to the worker’s tax card. However, the employer has an obligation to withhold health insurance contributions from the worker’s wages even if the wages are exempt from tax on the basis of the six-month rule. The relevant provisions can be found in Chapter 18, § 29.2 of the Finnish Health Insurance Act (1224/2004). The amount withheld is a “minimum withholding”.
If the six-month rule does not apply but the country of work has the right to tax the worker’s wages, the employer cannot choose not to withhold tax in Finland. The worker must request a new tax card to prevent the withholding of tax, or to lower the amount.
The employer can therefore lower the amount of tax withheld on the worker’s wages either on the basis of the six-month rule or the worker’s tax card, which eliminates double taxation. In both scenarios, the employer must fill in the earnings payment report and submit it to the Incomes Register in order to give the NT2 information to the Finnish Tax Administration, i.e. stating that no tax is withheld.
The report with the NT2 information must be filed within five days of the first occasion on which tax is not withheld on the worker’s pay relating to working in a foreign country. If work goes on after the end of the current calendar year, the employer must give the NT2 information again regarding this worker. The deadline for taking care of this is end of January. After the employer gave the NT2 information to the Incomes Register, the competent authority in Finland sends it on to the competent authority in the Nordic country concerned. The authorities of the Nordic country where the work is done can then take steps to request prepayments on the basis of the NT2. The Finnish Tax Administration’s guide on the tax treatment of income earned abroad describes the employers’ responsibilities in greater detail in situations where workers are posted abroad.
3.3.2 Working in Finland
An employer based in another Nordic country can post a worker to Finland so that prepayments on their wages are made to Finland. In such cases, the employer draws up a notification of work being performed in Finland by submitting the NT2 information in the worker’s country of residence, and the competent authority of the worker’s country of residence forwards it to the Helsinki Area Tax Office in Finland. If the employer does not have a permanent place of business in Finland or an agent who takes care of payroll, the employer has no obligation to withhold tax in Finland. The worker therefore needs to set up prepayments themselves. If the employer has a permanent place of business in Finland, they also have an obligation to withhold tax in Finland. In such cases, the worker usually needs to request a tax card for their wages.
Even if Finland had the right to tax the wages of a worker performing work in Finland on the basis of the Nordic Income Tax Treaty, the wages of a nonresident worker are tax-exempt unless they count as income received from Finland as referred to in § 10, Income Tax Act. For this reason, foreign workers should give as comprehensive an account of their circumstances as possible to the authorities so that the authorities can prepare their decisions on prepayments.
An employer based in another Nordic country may continue to withhold tax on wages paid to workers posted to Finland and pay it to the worker’s country of residence. In these situations, the competent authority of the worker’s country of residence sends the NT1 form received from the employer to the Helsinki Area Tax Office in Finland. The correctness of taxation is checked in Finland. If the TREKK Treaty gives Finland the right to demand prepayments because Finland is the country of work, the Helsinki Area Tax Office notifies the authorities of the worker’s country of the new circumstances, and the fact that tax needs to be paid to Finland.
3.4 Changes to the right of the country of work to tax the wages
If an employer originally gave NT1 information stating that tax will be withheld in a worker’s country of residence, but the withholding of tax is subsequently discontinued in that country, the employer must give the NT2 information to the tax authorities of the employer’s country of residence. In this case, the new notice from the employer will overrule the information provided previously (the NT1 information). In such situations, the employer must not refund the worker for any tax already withheld.
Example 2: A Finnish company posts a worker who resides in Finland to Denmark on a contract intended to last four months. The employer has initially informed the Finnish Tax Administration that tax on the worker’s wages will be withheld in Finland (giving the NT1 information). However, the employer subsequently decides to extend the contract to nine months. This means that the worker will end up staying in Denmark for more than 183 days, and Denmark therefore has the right to tax the worker’s wages pursuant to the Nordic Tax Treaty. At the same time, it is discovered that the six-month rule applies to the worker’s wages in Finland. In connection with the next payday, the employer only withholds the minimum amount. The employer submits the earnings payment report to the Incomes Register in order to notify the Finnish Tax Administration that tax is no longer withheld in Finland. The Helsinki Area Tax Office sends the message on to Denmark.
3.5 Mutual agreement if two countries demand prepayments
If prepayments have been charged on the same income in two Nordic countries, the country that was not entitled to demand prepayments must return any prepayments made there. The competent authority of the other country must be notified before the refund is paid, and it can demand that tax be transferred to that country, if necessary.
A worker’s country of residence and the country in which they work can both interpret their national tax laws and the Nordic Tax Treaty to mean that they have the right to tax the worker’s wages. In such an event, the TREKK Treaty determines which one of the two Nordic countries gets the right to demand prepayments. If the tax authorities of a country that must, pursuant to the provisions of TREKK, forego demanding prepayments, refuse to accept a decision made by the tax authorities of another Nordic country, the dispute is resolved by means of a mutual agreement between the competent authorities.
If the country of work has demanded prepayments on the basis of one of the criteria listed in Section 3.1 above, the worker’s country of residence cannot demand prepayments until the dispute has been resolved. The country of work, on the other hand, cannot demand prepayments until the dispute has been resolved if the worker’s country of residence has sent the NT1 information, the contract is for no more than 183 days of work during a 12-month period, and the employer is based in the worker’s country of residence.
3.6 Cross-border commuters
The tax collection provisions of TREKK that determine which Nordic country can demand prepayments (Articles 3–6) do not apply to cross-border commuters as referred to in the Nordic Income Tax Treaty. However, cross-border commuters are governed by the TREKK provisions on tax transfers, which means that tax levied on cross-border commuters can also be transferred at various stages of taxation. For more information, see the Finnish Tax Administration’s guide on the tax treatment of cross-border commuters.
4 Business income from another Nordic country
As a rule, the Nordic Income Tax Treaty gives the right to tax business income to the country in which the company is domiciled, if the company does not have a permanent place of business in another Nordic country in which it is doing business. The country in which a self-employed person performs work can also tax the worker if they spend more than 183 days of any 12-month period in that country. Unlike the case of wages, the TREKK Treaty never prevents a worker’s country of residence from demanding prepayments on business income. In addition, prepayments are not transferred between countries; instead, the agreement only covers final income tax in the context of business.
Income tax paid on earnings or capital income from a natural person’s business can be transferred under the TREKK Treaty. The agreement also applies to corporate income tax and tax at source on remuneration for work.
If a company conducts business in another Nordic country without making prepayments there, and the company is later found to have had a permanent establishment in that country, the country can request that tax be transferred there. When transferring final tax, the country of residence of such a company can restrict the size of the transferred amount to not exceed the amount of the refund given to the company (see Section 5.4). If the fact that a permanent establishment had been formed is discovered afterwards, the tax paid to another Nordic country is only taken into account in the final assessment or in a corrective assessment. Transferable tax refunds are likely to materialise in such circumstances.
The earnings of foreign businesses operating in Finland are usually considered to constitute “trade income”, paid to a nonresident. As a rule, Finnish payers need to withhold 13% of such remuneration or, in the case of self-employed persons, tax at source at a rate of 35%, unless the foreign business has been entered into the Finnish prepayment register. If Finland does not have the right to tax the business income of a company domiciled in another Nordic country, the company can request a tax card in advance to release payers from responsibility to withhold tax. Companies can also request a refund of any tax at source paid from the Finnish Tax Administration retrospectively. In such cases, Finland has an obligation to initiate a transfer procedure under TREKK.
5 Tax transfers
5.1 Transferring tax from Finland to another Nordic country
The procedure for transferring tax from Finland to another Nordic country can be initiated either by Finland, or the other Nordic country. If the other country has the right to tax a worker’s income and prepayments have been made in Finland, the tax can be transferred. If a tax treaty gives Finland the right to tax the worker’s income, or if there is no transferable tax, no transfer takes place. Tax can be transferred in connection with prepayments, tax assessment or corrective assessment. If prepayments are transferred to another Nordic country, the taxpayer does not get credit for them in Finland. In these circumstances, an official decision is made to transfer the prepayments to the other country.
If the other country refuses Finland’s offer to transfer the tax, the taxpayer is given credit for the prepayments in Finland or paid a refund. If the other country decides that no tax is due there, the Finnish Tax Administration checks the grounds for the refusal and the correctness of the Finnish tax assessment. Pursuant to Article 26 of the Nordic Income Tax Treaty, Finland can, in some circumstances, tax income that is tax-free in another country.
5.2 Transferring tax from another Nordic country to Finland
If it transpires, in connection with tax assessment or otherwise, that tax has been withheld in another Nordic country but Finland has the right to tax the income in question, a tax transfer procedure is initiated. It can be initiated either by the Finnish tax authorities or the tax authorities of the other Nordic country. If tax is transferred to Finland, the taxpayer is given credit for the transferred amount as if the tax withheld or prepayments had been paid on to the tax authority in Finland. No interest is added in Finland to amounts of tax transferred to Finland. Any tax or prepayments transferred to Finland from a Nordic country that are not used towards a taxpayer’s tax liability are refunded to the taxpayer.
Only the amount of tax required in Finland is requested to be transferred. If Finland only requests the transfer of some of the tax paid in another country or if there are no grounds for requesting a transfer, the taxpayer must apply to the authorities of the other country for a refund of any excess or mistakenly paid amounts.
5.3 Tax transfers at various stages of taxation in Finland
5.3.1 Transferring prepayments
There are practical reasons why prepayments cannot always be made in the country that is ultimately found to have the right to tax a worker’s income. Employers who post workers to another Nordic country often initially withhold tax in the workers’ country of residence, as they cannot know for sure whether a worker will end up staying in the country in which they work for more than 183 days. When work begins, it is often impossible to know whether the employer will end up having a permanent establishment in the country of the work, or whether the authorities of that country will consider the workers to be leased employees. Another possibility is that prepayments are made in the country of work but it later transpires that only the worker’s country of residence has the right to tax their income if, for example, the worker ends up spending less time in the country in which they work than originally intended.
If prepayments have been collected from a worker in another Nordic country but a tax treaty gives Finland the right to tax the worker’s income, an assessment can be made, even at the prepayment stage, as to whether the prepayments to be transferred from the other country will be enough to cover the worker’s tax liability in Finland. However, Finland cannot demand prepayments on the basis of the same income for which a worker has already made prepayments in another Nordic country. For this reason, making any missing prepayments in order to avoid back taxes is the taxpayer’s responsibility. A taxpayer can, for example, ask the person who pays their wages to withhold more than what is indicated on their tax card.
Tax withheld from a worker’s wages pursuant to the Finnish Prepayment Act, or prepayments made by them otherwise in Finland, can be transferred to another Nordic country on the basis of the TREKK Treaty before the Tax Administration has completed the worker’s assessment for the year. The amount transferred to the other country is deducted from the prepayments for which the taxpayer is given credit.
Prepayments can be transferred from Finland to another Nordic country as long as the taxpayer could be given credit for them in Finland on the basis of the Finnish Tax Assessment Procedure Act. In other words, prepayments can also be transferred if a worker’s employer has withheld tax on their wages but failed to file reports to the Incomes Register on this, or failed to pay the amount to the tax authorities. In such circumstances, the amount can only be transferred if there is reliable proof that tax has been withheld.
Pursuant to § 22, Prepayment Act, tax withheld from a worker’s wages can be refunded to them if it was withheld from income that is considered tax-free in Finland. A refund can be paid, for example, if a worker’s wages are tax-free on the basis of the six-month rule. However, tax cannot be refunded on the basis of a taxpayer having worked in another Nordic country until that country has been made a tax transfer offer.
5.3.2 Transferring tax refunds
After tax assessment is finalised, refunds, as referred to in § 50, Act on Assessment Procedure, can be transferred from Finland to another Nordic country if, for example, the exemption method or the six-month rule has been applied to a taxpayer’s wages but prepayments have not been transferred. This may be the case if a tax transfer request from the other Nordic country only arrives in Finland after the Tax Administration has completed the worker’s tax assessment for the year. The tax assessment end date has been changed as of the tax year 2018: every taxpayer has a specific end date. If the taxpayer has already been paid a refund, no transfer can be made.
Example 3: A Finnish resident worked at a building site in Sweden for one month and then returned to Finland. His Finnish employer had given the Finnish Tax Administration NT1 information when the work began, and has also withheld tax from what the worker had earned in Sweden.
During the tax assessment for the year, it transpires that the building site actually constituted a permanent establishment for the employer, and for this reason, Sweden receives the taxing rights over the worker’s wages for one month. The exemption method is applied to this amount in Finnish taxation. The taxpayer will be receiving a refund. Finland offers to transfer tax to Sweden. After this, the Swedish Tax Agency is expected to respond by making a transfer request. However, Finland does not receive Sweden’s request until after the worker’s tax assessment has been completed. The Finnish Tax Administration deducts the amount to be transferred from the worker’s tax refund before paying it to him or her. The Finnish Tax Administration notifies the worker of the transfer.
If the exemption method or the six-month rule is only applied to the taxation of wages in a reassessment, any refund arising from assessing the taxpayer’s taxes again as referred to in § 76, Act on Assessment Procedure, can be transferred to another Nordic country.
Example 4: A taxpayer who has moved from Finland to Denmark has had a second job in their new country of residence working for a Finnish employer, and has made prepayments to Finland in the same way as his colleagues do in Finland. He has forgotten to file an income tax return in Denmark. The oversight is discovered two years later, and Denmark wants back taxes with interest. The taxpayer attempts to clear up the situation in Finland and it turns out that under the tax treaty, only Denmark had the right to tax the wages. Denmark asks Finland to transfer the tax paid in Finland to Denmark.
When the request arrives, the Finnish Tax Administration investigates the case and makes decisions on how his income is taxed in Finland and performs a reassessment as necessary. Any tax refund that materialises is transferred to Denmark.
5.3.3 Transfers of taxes withheld at source
Finland can also offer to refund tax at source, as referred to in § 11, Act on the Taxation of Nonresident's Income, for transfer to another Nordic country. Refunds may need to be paid if, for example, a higher amount of tax at source had been collected than was allowed under the Nordic Income Tax Treaty. If tax at source was collected on a nonresident’s wages but all of the work was done in another Nordic country, internal laws alone will prevent Finland from taxing the wages. Tax at source can be refunded either on the basis of a request, or on the initiative of the tax authorities. Pursuant to § 11.3 of the Act, tax at source that is transferred to another country is not refunded to the taxpayer.
5.3.4 Mutual agreement procedure
In the same way as many other international agreements, the Nordic Income Tax Treaty contains provisions on a mutual agreement procedure (MAP). The tax treaty gives taxpayers the right to challenge the double taxation of their income through the competent authorities of the countries in question. The MAP procedure is usually the last resort for eliminating double taxation, after the appeals procedure has first been exhausted.
If a taxpayer has paid tax in Finland but the right to tax their income is found to belong to another Nordic country during the course of a MAP, a tax transfer procedure is initiated on the basis of § 56, line 4, Act on Tax Collection.
5.4 Limitations and deadlines for tax transfers
At the prepayment stage, the amount of tax to be transferred must not exceed the prepayments that should have been made on the income in the country requesting the transfer. In addition, the amount transferred cannot exceed the amount of prepayments made in the country receiving the transfer request.
At the prepayment stage, transfer requests to the authorities of other Nordic countries must arrive by
- 1 February of the year following the year during which the income was earned in the case of Denmark and the Faeroe Islands,
- 1 April of the year following the year during which the income was earned in the case of Norway, and
- 31 May of the year following the year during which the income was earned in the case of Iceland, Sweden and Finland.
After these deadlines, the transferring country has the right to spend any prepayments accumulated there to cover its own income tax from the tax year in question first. In other words, countries can limit the amount transferred according to the refund received by the taxpayer in question.
If a tax transfer proposal is only made three years after the end of the year during which the income in question was earned, the transferring country can also spend the tax revenue to cover other tax claims before the transfer. At this stage, all domestic taxes and charges have priority over the transfer regardless of the tax year.
If a taxpayer is due a refund on the tax paid for a certain income in one of the Nordic countries and another Nordic country makes a claim for the tax, such as imposing back taxes on the same income, the refund must be postponed. The postponement continues until the other country requests a transfer according to the deadlines given in Section 5.4.
If excess tax paid on income earned in one Nordic country needs to be refunded in another Nordic country and the country in question has not requested a transfer, that country must be notified of the refund before it is paid. If the notifying country does not receive a transfer request within 30 days of sending the notice, the refund can be paid. The same applies to situations where a taxpayer requests a tax refund.
The 30-day deadline can be extended if necessary, as it is not always possible for the other country to process the notice that quickly. The tax authorities can agree on the postponement of the refund payment with the taxpayer in question. This helps to avoid a situation where the taxpayer would need to pay the tax to the other country themselves. This would also allow the other country to charge interest on the late tax. Moreover, tax remaining unpaid in another country might need to be collected from a taxpayer in Finland if the other country requested official assistance for collection from Finland on the basis of the Nordic Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.
5.5 Tax transfers and exchange rates
Transfers of tax revenue from Finland to other Nordic countries are made on the basis of the latest euro reference rates determined by the European Central Bank. Tax transferred by foreign authorities to Finland is entered into the Finnish Tax Administration’s account in euros. The taxpayer in question is given credit for the transferred amount according to the euro amount recorded in the Finnish Tax Administration’s account. The conversion of sums paid to Finland is performed by the bank that conveys the payment.