Value added tax procedure for importation as of 1 January 2018
- Date of issue
- 8/25/2022 - Until further notice
This is an unofficial translation. The official instruction (record no. 5523/00.01.00/2021) is released in Finnish and Swedish languages. In case of divergence concerning interpretation, the Finnish or Swedish versions prevail.
Updates to the English translation include changes to section 1.2; and section 1.4 now contains an example related to instructions concerning goods delivery in the form of ship supply, also including other vessels such as aircraft. Section 1.4 now contains the definition of re-export. Further updates and changes were made to sections 2.3, including more precise information about loading and unloading, VAT-exempt transportation expenses, and calculations for the taxable amount. Section 2.4 has an update that concerns terminology. In addition, section 2.5 has a new passage concerning the special procedures with the impact of postponing importation. Chapter 3 now contains information on the effect of a court order given to the taxable person to abstain from the conduct of business. The previous chapter 5 is removed.
1 General information on the value added taxation of importation
1.1 Key changes as of 1 January 2018
As of 1 January 2018, the value added taxation of goods imported by taxable persons entered in the VAT register is transferred from the Customs to the Tax Administration. VAT-registered importers are required to calculate and report value added tax (VAT) on imports and the taxable amount on their own initiative, in their VAT return form, along with their other business transaction details relevant to the tax period in question. The VAT period for VAT on imports is the calendar month when the customs clearance decision was issued, and the period for related deductions is the same month. No VAT is payable if the imported goods are fully used for taxable business purposes i.e. purposes entitling to full VAT deductions.
The Customs will carry out the customs clearance procedure on imports as before. The Customs will no longer confirm the amount of VAT on imports, or whether or not imports of VAT-registered importers are VAT-exempt. The Customs will continue to levy customs duties and import charges on goods, as well as taxes other than VAT. Import charges levied by the Customs are determined on the basis of the nomenclature, origin and customs value of goods. This applies to all customers.
The Customs will continue to be in charge of the VAT of imports for importers other than those entered in the VAT register. Furthermore, the Customs will be in charge of value added taxation in cases in which the importer is a VAT-registered natural person and the goods are not imported for taxable business purposes.
The term “imported goods” refers to goods imported into the EU VAT area. As a rule, VAT must be paid on imported goods.
For information and guidance on distance selling, see the Tax Administration’s guide “Distance sales of import goods subjected to VAT” — Tavaroiden etämyynnin arvonlisäverotus (in Finnish and Swedish). In the context of distance selling, the ‘import scheme’ is a simple way to deal with VAT declarations and payments, in order to pay the VAT on imports for shipments or consignments of max. €150.00 in value, which are sold to consumers. For more information on the import schemes, see “Arvonlisäveron erityisjärjestelmät” — VAT special schemes (in Finnish and Swedish).
1.2 Competent authority
The updated legal rules concerning separation of jurisdictions between the Finnish Tax Administration and Customs came into force 1 January 2018. The rules of jurisdiction are applied by reference to the point in time when liability to pay value added tax arises, i.e., the time of acceptance of a customs declaration, which is automatically printed out on the customs clearance decision confirmed by the Customs.
The deciding factor in determining the competent authority is whether or not the importer is registered in the VAT register at the time of acceptance of the customs declaration (date available on the clearance decision issued by the Customs). VAT registration can be checked on the Business Information System (BIS) website (www.ytj.fi/en) using the importer’s Business ID. When the importer is registered in the VAT register at the time of acceptance of the customs declaration, the competent authority is the Tax Administration.
If the importer is not registered in the VAT register, the competent authority for the import VAT is the Customs. The latter types of importers mainly include private individuals and non-profit organisations which are not engaged in VAT-taxable activities. Additionally, the Customs is the competent authority when goods are imported in contravention of customs legislation. This applies to all customers. Examples of infringements of customs legislation relating to the importation of goods include not presenting the goods to the Customs at all, or failure to comply with the Customs’ procedural rules.
The Customs is also in charge of the import VAT by VAT-registered natural persons, which are not related to the importer's taxable business activities. Natural persons entered in the VAT register must use their Business ID to submit customs declarations for goods imported for their VAT-taxable business purposes. In such cases, the competent authority is the Tax Administration. For other types of imports, VAT-registered natural persons must use their personal identity code to submit customs declarations. In such cases, the competent authority is the Customs.
The deciding factor for imports by legal persons is whether or not the importer was entered in the VAT Register at the time of acceptance of the customs declaration. Accordingly, any retroactive registration of an importer that submits an application for VAT registration after the goods are imported, and correspondingly, any retroactive de-registration have no impact on determining the competent authority, to which the jurisdiction belongs. The purpose for which a certain goods shipment is intended for is not important. For instance, local governments do not need to itemise the different purposes for which goods are imported at the time of import. The grounds on which the importer has been entered in the VAT register are also of no significance. For example, companies that are VAT-liable for letting of immovable property or primary producers may also be entered in the VAT register. If registration in the VAT register is pending at the time of acceptance of the customs declaration for imports, the import VAT is levied by the Customs.
Presence in the Finnish VAT register may be granted to foreign operators not treated as having a fixed establishment in Finland – such as buyers making intra-Community acquisitions – which have the notification duty obligation with regard to VAT. It is not possible for a business enterprise that has a notification-duty registration to submit a VAT return with VAT to be paid, to be deducted, or with VAT related to an import transaction. Accordingly a foreign enterprise registered for the notification duty must submit an application for VAT registration, if the enterprise imports goods.
In the case of a ‘VAT group’, formed by several VAT-liable parties, the members of a VAT group are deemed as importers that are entirely independent from one another. The VAT group’s members are treated as VAT liable, and the competent authority is therefore the Tax Administration. The state as well as government agencies and unincorporated government enterprises are also liable for VAT. The VAT status of each individual agency is not separately indicated in the Business Information System (BIS). If the importer is a government agency, it must use its individual agency Business ID for imports, and the competent authority is the Tax Administration.
1.3 Tax border of the Åland Islands
The Åland Islands are not included in the EU VAT and excise duty area. However, the Åland Islands are included in the EU Customs Union and EU customs territory. For VAT purposes, the status of the Åland Islands in relation to Finland and other EU Member States is that of a third country.
Due to the special status of the Åland Islands, there is a tax border between the Åland Islands and the EU VAT territory. In practice, the EU VAT territory refers to EU Member States, in which the rest of Finland is also included. The tax border means that, in trading with third country jurisdictions as laid down in the VAT Act, the provisions related to exports and imports apply when selling and shipping goods between the Åland Islands and the EU VAT territory. No VAT is payable on export trade, as the VAT is paid at the destination of the transport in connection with the importation. VAT is payable by sole traders and other importers on both imports from the Åland Islands to elsewhere in Finland and imports from elsewhere in Finland to the Åland Islands, unless the imports have been separately legislated as VAT-exempt.
More information on the rules and procedures relating to the tax border of the Åland Islands is available in the Tax Administration´s instructions Tax border of the Åland Islands for VAT purposes (available in Finnish and Swedish, link to Finnish) and Åland Islands tax border and importing goods.
1.4 Importation in Finland
“Imported goods” refers to the importation of goods into the EU. Goods are imported in Finland if the country is the EU point of entry for the goods. This is the main rule applied to imports from outside the EU customs and VAT territories, such as when goods are imported directly in Finland from China. Imported goods also include goods imported from the EU customs territory but outside the VAT territory, such as when goods are imported in Finland from the Canary Islands.
The time when the liability to pay VAT arises is the same as when the customs debt is incurred. The liability to pay VAT arises at the time of acceptance of the customs declaration for release for free circulation.
Importation is also deemed to take place in Finland if the imported goods have been placed into any of the following procedures specified in the Union Customs Code (UCC) when the goods have entered into the customs territory of the EU and the goods are in Finland when the procedure in question ends:
- the temporary storage of goods (UCC Article 144)
- the storage procedure specified in UCC Article 237
- the inward processing procedure (UCC Article 256)
- the temporary admission procedure with total relief from import duty (UCC Article 250)
- the external transit procedure (UCC Article 226)
- the internal transit procedures (UCC Article 227), or any of the above procedures used to import goods from a point located within the EU’s customs territory but outside the EU’s tax territory. For instance, if goods imported to Finland from the Canary Islands are in Finland at the time the internal transit procedure ends, the import is deemed to take place in Finland.
These customs procedures lead to a postponement in the payment of import VAT until the procedure ends with the release of goods for free circulation.
Such procedures do not include favourable customs treatment due to the end-use of the goods or the temporary admission procedure with partial relief from import duty. In such cases, the liability to VAT arises at the time when the customs declaration for placing imported goods to such a procedure is accepted. A VAT return must be filed and the VAT paid in the usual manner.
Re-export is an event that marks the ending of a procedure under which VAT on imports is postponed. In accordance with the provisions of the Customs Code, ‘re-export’ means exporting goods, which are not Union goods, away from the EU customs territory. Goods other than Union goods are those not manufactured in the EU, or those not customs-cleared for free circulation within the EU. It is permissible for undeclared goods under the customs authorities’ supervision, which at the time of re-exportation continue to be under one of the postponement procedures, to become re-exported to a non-EU country so that the goods are not released for free circulation. Under the circumstances, no importation is deemed to have taken place for VAT purposes. For more information, see the Finnish Custom’s “Re-export” guide.
In the framework of ship-supply delivery, goods arriving from non-EU countries can be delivered to vessels present in Finland, placing the goods under one of the procedures postponing the import; these water vessels of aircraft must be operating in international professional traffic. In the case of the external transit procedure being applied on a direct delivery of goods from a non-EU country to a vessel in international professional traffic, no importation subject to VAT is deemed to be taking place on the condition that the Customs’ rules on ship supply are adhered to. The above also requires that if the goods concerned were imported to Finland, they would be exempted from VAT and from excise duties (often called ‘tax and duty free’). For more information, see “Ship supply procedure” on the Custom’s website.
Example 1: Company “A” sells fuel to company “B”, a business that operates international maritime transport. Company “A” purchases the fuel in Norway, re-selling it to “B” in Helsinki, arranging for direct delivery to the ship mooring here. When company “A” transports the fuel to Finland, it is declared to the Customs office and placed under the external transit procedure. Company “A” delivers the fuel in a tanker truck to “B’s” ship directly. Company “A” received a permit from Customs for unloading the cargo consisting of fuel, into the vessel belonging to “B”. After this, “A” informs Customs of the volume of the fuel delivered, i.e. unloaded. This way, the fuel is pumped into “B’s” vessel, which marks the finalisation of the external transit procedure.
Under the circumstances, the fuel is never released for free circulation in Finland. Instead, it is ship-supplied directly to a vessel operating in international maritime traffic. The above constitutes no taxable event because it is not deemed as importation within the meaning of § 86 of the Value Added Tax Act. Accordingly, there is no requirement for “A” to declare a fuel importation in “A’s” VAT return.
If Union goods have been placed in the internal transit procedure of another EU country (in the EU customs territory and VAT area), and the goods are transported into Finland via a territory that is outside the EU customs territory and VAT area, to bring the goods into Finland this way is not considered importation within the meaning of the Value Added Tax Act.
The importation of goods is also deemed to take place in Finland when non-Union goods are in Finland as part of an inward processing procedure, customs warehousing procedure or temporary admission procedure, with total relief from customs duties, the customs rules applicable to the use of corresponding goods is applied to them, and non-Union goods become Union goods. Further information on the procedures used by the Customs is available on the Customs’ website.
No VAT is payable on imported goods which are transferred to the tax warehousing procedure. Further information on the tax warehousing procedure is available in the Tax Administration´s Instruction Tax warehousing for VAT purposes (available in Finnish and Swedish, link to Finnish).
2 Value added taxation procedure
2.1 Self-assessed tax
VAT on imports levied by the Tax Administration is a self-assessed tax. The procedural rules of customs legislation do not apply to self-assessed taxes. In general, taxable persons need to perform the computations to arrive at the amount of a self-assessed tax to pay, and then report and pay the tax on their own initiative. Importers liable for VAT need to do the same for the import VAT and the taxable amount on their own initiative, filling in their VAT return, along with their other business transaction details relating to the tax period in question. After customs clearance, the Customs releases the goods of VAT registered importers, regardless of whether or not the importer has paid the VAT on imports.
A VAT-registered importer who imports goods for its taxable business purposes entitling to input VAT deduction, declares the import VAT as payable and input VAT deductible at the same time. In such a case, no VAT is due. This procedure is referred to as postponed accounting of VAT, which applies automatically to all importers who have been entered in the VAT register. No special arrangements, criteria, or guarantees, are required.
2.2 Taxable person
The party liable to pay VAT on imported goods is the declarant (§ 86 b, VAT Act), i.e., the person in whose name the customs declaration is filed. The term “declarant” also refers to a person in whose name the declaration for temporary storage, entry summary declaration, exit summary declaration, declaration for re-import or notification of re-export is filed.
A customs declaration can be filed by a person who is able to provide all the information needed to apply the rules regulating the goods in question. The person in question must also be able to present the goods in question to the Customs. However, if special obligations are imposed on a specific person regarding the acceptance of the customs declaration, they must file the customs declaration personally or through a representative.
If a representative acts in their own name on behalf of a principal, the arrangement is referred to as indirect representation. In such a case, the party liable for the import VAT is the importer of the goods, i.e., the principal, not the indirect representative. A person who is in the position of a declarant or the principal of the declarant, at the time that the imported goods arrive in the EU (EU VAT area) from the EU’s customs territory (e.g. arrive from Åland to other parts of Finland), is also liable to import VAT. Only the principal, i.e., the importer of the goods, is entitled to deduct the import VAT. The import VAT and the taxable amount need to be declared on the VAT return filed by the principal, as is the corresponding deduction on goods that have been imported for use entitling to a deduction.
When an indirect representation is used, the representative must enter the personal identity code of the principal in the customs declaration, if it concerns a private import of a natural person. In all other cases, the Business ID of the principal must be used.
2.3 The value deemed as the taxable amount
In principle, the taxable amount on imported goods is the customs value, determined by Customs in accordance with EU customs legislation (§ 88, Value Added Tax Act), to which the items referred to in § 91, § 93 and § 93a of the Value Added Tax Act have been added. The customs value is determined by Customs in accordance with EU customs legislation. The rules have not changed concerning calculation of the taxable amount. An importer liable to VAT must calculate the taxable amount and the VAT on a self-initiated basis, i.e. independently. The VAT amount is arrived at by multiplying the taxable amount by the VAT rate (24%, 14% or 10% as the case may be). VAT rates are determined by reference to the type of the goods.
The taxable amount in the case of VAT on imports is determined in the same way both for importations on which VAT must be paid, and for importations that are exempted from VAT. No requirement arises to pay VAT on import in connection with importations exempted from VAT under the law. Legal provisions concerning exemptions from the liability to pay VAT on imports are found in § 94, § 95 and § 96 of the Value Added Tax Act, and additionally, in § 72 h of the Value Added Tax Act.
Customs primarily determines the customs value on the basis of the goods’ “transaction value”. “Transaction value” is the price that is paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the customs territory of the EU. In accordance with customs legislation, a commercial invoice which includes the price and terms of delivery of the goods must be presented for the customs clearance process. Customs issues a customs clearance decision stating the goods’ customs value and the charges levied by Customs. If the price or a component thereof is presented in a currency other than the euro, the amounts must be converted into euros using the exchange rates confirmed by Customs.
For arriving at the taxable amount, the taxes, duties, import charges and other charges, excluding value added tax, collected by the state and by the European Union during the customs clearance process are added to the good’s customs value. In addition, the taxable amount is inclusive of any taxes and other charges paid outside of Finland. However, car taxes or oil damage duties are not included in the taxable amount. (§ 93, Value Added Tax Act)
The taxable amount on imports also includes the costs listed in § 91 of the Value Added Tax Act, i.e. transport, loading, unloading and insurance of the goods, as well as other costs related to the importation to the first destination in Finland, as specified in the transport contract. If it is known at the time when the liability to pay the VAT on import arises, that the goods will be transported to another destination in Finland or to another destination in another EU country, the costs of transport to that destination are also included in the taxable amount. The destination is the location referred to by the freight bill or other transport documents relating to the imported goods. If the destination cannot be identified, the first place of unloading may be deemed the destination. This rule applies to transports organised by both the seller and the purchaser. According to § 71(2) of the Value Added Tax Act, the sale of transport, loading and unloading services and other services related to importation is not subjected to VAT, if the value of the services must be included in the taxable amount of the imported goods.
Example 2: A business enterprise, liable to pay VAT and having a VAT registration, imports goods from China to Helsinki, from where the goods are transported to their final destination, Tampere. The customs date on the customs decision is 14 February 2022. Based on the customs clearance decision, customs value is €8,750 and the total amount of duties and import charges is €323.75. Total costs of unloading and loading the cargo as well as transportation from Helsinki to Tampere are €1,426.25. The taxable amount for import VAT is €10,500.00 (customs value €8,750 + customs duties €323.75 + the costs of unloading and loading the cargo as well as transportation from Helsinki to Tampere €1,426.25).
For more information, see — Maahantuonnin arvonlisäveron peruste (available in Finnish and Swedish)
At the time when the goods are released for free circulation, the taxable person is issued an appealable customs clearance decision indicating the following information: customs value, amounts of customs duties and import charges, date of acceptance of the customs clearance decision, the end date of the clearance process, and more. The correct period for the VAT on import, payable to the Tax Administration, is the calendar month when Customs issued the decision (§ 135 a, Value Added Tax Act). The decision’s date of issue is recorded either under “release for free circulation” or under “customs clearance date”.
If a special procedure specified in § 100 a is applied to the taxable person’s imports, the VAT’s period is the month during which the liability to pay VAT arose, i.e., based on the date of acceptance of the customs declaration. Further information on the above-mentioned special procedure described in § 100 a of the VAT Act is available in section 3 “Special procedure”.
The same rules apply to the periodisation of the liability to pay VAT and of the deduction of VAT. Deductions must allocate the same tax period as the VAT on importation. No VAT is payable if the imported goods are fully used for the taxable business activities.
2.5 Filing and payment of value added tax
VAT-liable importers need to declare their VAT on imports in a VAT return on their own initiative, along with their other business transaction details relevant to the tax period in question. VAT must be paid for each tax period on the taxable person’s own initiative. The reference number for self-assessed taxes must be used when paying VAT. Each taxable person has their own, permanent reference number.
If the taxable person’s tax period is the calendar month, the deadline for the payment of VAT is the 12th day of the second month following the tax period (§ 147, VAT Act).
The VAT return form has two sections for reporting VAT on imports:
- The taxable amount on imports is reported under ”Imports of goods from outside the EU”.
- The VAT on imports is reported under “Tax on imports of goods from outside the EU”.
In certain situations, VAT is not payable on imports which take place in Finland (Articles 94–96 and 72 h of the VAT Act). This applies to the import of investment gold, for example. These types of imports are reported in the VAT return as follows:
- The taxable amount on imports is reported under ”Imports of goods from outside the EU”.
- No payable VAT is involved in the case of imports that are exempt. The amount to fill in under “Tax on imports of goods from outside the EU” is €0.00.
In situations where the goods were placed under the external transit procedure or another procedure that postpones importation, i.e. one of the arrangements listed in § 86a of the Value Added Tax Act, none of the reportable information listed above must be entered on the VAT return. The point in time for the VAT return to be completed with regard to the importation is when the procedure is ended, and the goods are released for free circulation – provided that the goods are in the territory of Finland at that time.
The provisions laid down in the Act on Assessment Procedure for Self-assessed Taxes (Laki oma-aloitteisten verojen verotusmenettelystä 768/2016) are applied to imports of persons liable to VAT for which the Tax Administration is the competent authority. The rule regarding a minimum payment of €5.00 for levied or collected taxes does not apply to the above imports. (§ 101 b, VAT Act)
If information affecting the calculation of the taxable amount of imported goods changes afterwards, such as the customs value or other charges levied by the Customs, the VAT return must be re-filed to correspond to the new information. A replacement return must be used to report the corrections to the Tax Administration, on the taxable person’s own initiative. Further information on how to correct an error in the VAT information reported is provided on the Tax Administration’s web page.
The customs clearance decision and the related documents must be stored as part of the accounting documents. They are also a precondition for the right to deduct VAT (§ 102 a, VAT Act).
3 Special procedure
Rather than using the normal procedure for granting postponement for the payment of import VAT, the Tax Administration may impose the importer on a special procedure if the importer has committed or is considered likely to commit an infringement, for a maximum period of 36 months (§ 100 a, VAT Act). In the special procedure, the company reports and pays the VAT on imports separately to the Tax Administration, and the Customs does not release the goods to the importer until a VAT return has been filed and the VAT payment made. The correct period for the VAT on imports is the calendar month when the customs declaration was accepted.
The Tax Administration may set a VAT-liable importer liable for a special procedure if in the last 12 months the importer has materially neglected, or it can be assumed the importer will at some point materially neglect, to fulfil their tax obligations in the manner specified in § 26(3) of the prepayment act (Ennakkoperintälaki 1118/1996). Based on the criteria for removal from the Prepayment Register (§ 26(2–3), prepayment act), account may also be taken of negligence on the part of organisations or corporations previously managed by the importer, the negligence of persons who manage the organisation or corporation liable for tax, or the negligence of other organisations or corporations managed by such persons. The identification of negligence covers all of the company’s tax types, as well as neglect of the accounting obligation. Also start-up companies may be set under the special procedure based on the same criteria.
In addition to the above, the Tax Administration may set a VAT-liable importer to the special procedure on the basis of repeated or serious infringements of customs legislation. The Customs monitors compliance with the above criteria and reports on them to the Tax Administration.
Further, the Tax Administration may set an importer to the special procedure if the party liable to pay the VAT is given an order to abstain from the conduct of business, pursuant to the Finnish Business Prohibition Act (Laki liiketoimintakiellosta 1059/1985). Where the party liable to pay the VAT is a corporate entity or partnership, the Tax Administration can set the party to the special procedure if a natural person, who is among the Directors, is given an order to abstain from the conduct of business.
The Tax Administration issues an appealable decision when it sets the importer to follow the special procedure. A notice of the decision is delivered to the importer before the decision takes effect and the importer is provided with an opportunity to provide additional information. The appeal period is 60 days from receiving notice of the decision. Regardless of any ongoing appeal process, a decision can be enforced pursuant to § 31(2) of the Administrative Judicial Procedure Act (586/1996). If an importer wishes to obtain the imported goods as fast as possible, the importer can file and pay the import VAT separately to the Tax Administration as soon as the customs declaration has been accepted, prior to the general deadline for the VAT return and payment of VAT (§ 147, VAT Act).
Example 3: The importer is placed in a special procedure. A customs declaration on imported goods is accepted in May. The importer declares the import to the VAT return for May; however, the importer can file a separate VAT return for the import VAT in May, immediately after the customs declaration has been accepted. At the same time, the importer pays the VAT on imports using the reference number for self-assessed tax. Taxes or deductions on other business transactions, for which the tax period is May, are not yet included in the VAT return because their period of filing and payment does not end until the 12th of July. Other payable taxes and deductible taxes relevant to the May tax period must be included on the replacement VAT return to be filed on July 12 at the latest, which must also include the import VAT reported earlier. Deductions on import tax, paid separately, need to be reported in the usual manner as concerning the calendar month when the customs clearance decision was made. In practice, a customs clearance decision cannot be made before the VAT on imports has been paid in case the importer has been set into the special procedure. As a result, an importer placed in a special procedure will not receive the deduction before the payment has actually been made.
4 Advance ruling and written guidance
Upon the written application, the Tax Administration may issue an advance ruling on how the VAT Act should be applied to a certain business transaction. The Tax Administration may also provide written guidance to persons liable to tax (§ 189, VAT Act).
Applications for advance rulings concerning VAT on imports may be processed either by the Customs or the Tax Administration. The deciding factor is whether or not the applicant is registered in the VAT register at the time when the application is filed. If the applicant is registered in the VAT register at the time when the application for advance ruling is filed, the advance ruling on the VAT on imported goods is issued by the Tax Administration. However, if the applicant is a natural person who has been entered in the VAT register and the imported goods to which the advance ruling is applied are not related to the person’s business operations, the advance ruling is issued by the Customs. The provisions concerning advance rulings issued by the Tax Administration apply, where applicable, to the issue and validity of advance rulings (§ 190(5), VAT Act).
If the applicant was registered in the VAT register at the time when the application for advance ruling was filed, it is of no significance if the applicant is removed from the VAT register during the validity of the advance ruling, or even before the advance ruling is issued.
Correspondingly, it is of no significance if the applicant of an advance ruling issued by the Customs is entered in the VAT register during the validity of the advance ruling, or even before the advance ruling is issued. The advance ruling is binding even in the above situations, provided that the facts affecting the legal issue have not changed. Removal from or entry into the VAT register in itself has no effect in practice on the binding nature of the advance ruling, because the material provisions on the taxation of imports are the same regardless of whether the party responsible for levying the VAT is the Tax Administration or the Customs.
Further information on applying for an advance ruling is available in the Tax Administration instruction ”How to file an application for advance ruling and the decision thereon” — Ennakkoratkaisuhakemuksen tekeminen ja siihen annettava päätös (available in Finnish and Swedish, link to Finnish).