What is the Incomes Register?
The Incomes Register is a national online database. It contains comprehensive information on individuals' wages, pensions and benefits. Data providers report individuals' earnings to the Incomes Register in real time, whenever a payment is made.
Initially, as of 2019, the Incomes Register will contain information on wages and earnings. Information on pensions and benefits will be added as of 2020. The obligation to report information to the Incomes Register will apply to all wage payers as of 1 January 2019 and to all payers of benefits as of 1 January 2020.
Data can be submitted via an interface, by uploading files in the Incomes Register's e-service or by entering the information in an online form. Information can only be submitted on paper in special circumstances. Administering the Incomes Register will be the responsibility of an Incomes Register Unit, which will be established as part of the Tax Administration.
The data held in the Incomes Register will be used by the Tax Administration, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland Kela, the Unemployment Insurance Fund as well as earnings-related pension providers and the Finnish Centre for Pensions ETK as of 1 January 2019. The number of parties using the information will increase in 2020, when agencies and institutions overseen by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Statistics Finland, the Education Fund, non-life insurance providers, unemployment funds and occupational safety and health authorities, among others, begin to use the data held in the Incomes Register.
Public authorities and other users of the information will only be able to access register entries to which they are entitled and which they need. The Incomes Register will not create any new rights to information. Information from the Incomes Register will only be disclosed if the user in question is entitled to the information on the basis of the applicable laws.
Goals of the Incomes Register
The Incomes Register Project is one of the key initiatives of the current government in the area of digital public services. The project is coordinated by the Ministry of Finance. Various goals have been set for the Incomes Register.
The Incomes Register will simplify employers' reporting obligations.
At the moment, employers need to supply information about the wages they pay to various parties in a number of technological formats and according to different schedules. In the future, employers will only need to submit such information once to the Incomes Register, from which the parties who need the information can retrieve it. The Incomes Register will replace the most common reporting obligations. If complementary data is also submitted to the Incomes Register, it will also replace many pay certificates and other reports that employers currently need to supply in benefits applications, for example.
The information can be submitted to the Incomes Register using a technical interface. This refers to an electronic link between a payroll system and the Incomes Register, which allows earnings payment data to be reported directly from the payroll system into the Incomes Register without any need for the party reporting the data to log into a separate Incomes Register reporting service. This reduces the amount of manual work involved in the reporting process.
Income earners' perspective
In the future, income earners' own earnings payment data, pensions data and information on any benefits paid will be easily accessible from a single location in real time. Income earners will be able to use the Incomes Register's e-service to browse their own income information or any information they have been authorised to access. For the first time, income earners will have a real-time overview of their earnings payment and benefits data.
They will also be able to use the Incomes Register to check whether their employer has complied with the reporting obligations. This has not been possible before – potential omissions have not been spotted until income earners have received their next pre-completed tax return or pension statement, or when they have next had to deal with the authorities in some other matter.
The parties using the data held in the Incomes Register will be able to search the Incomes Register directly for individual income earners' income information. Data users will be given access to the information as and when they need it for their respective decision-making processes. Only the information that each user has been authorised to access will be disclosed from the Incomes Register.
This will make things easier for citizens, as their income information will be up to date in the Incomes Register and they will have no need to report the information to the authorities when making applications, for example.
Income earners will also be able to request extracts concerning their own income information from the Incomes Register.
Data users' perspective
The Incomes Register will automate several of the processes of parties that use the data. It will also enable real-time monitoring and simplify correspondence with other data users.
The Incomes Register will provide an up-to-date repository of earnings, benefits and pensions data for the data users' decision-making processes. Public authorities and other users of the data will only be able to access the register entries to which they are entitled and which they need. The Incomes Register will not create any new rights to information. Information from the Incomes Register will only be disclosed if the user in question is entitled to the information on the basis of the applicable laws. The Incomes Register will provide up-to-date income information, which will allow users of the data to improve their own processes. For example, income earners will no longer need to supply their income information to the authorities in connection with applications.
The Incomes Register is also designed to prevent the growth of the shadow economy. The Incomes Register will make it possible to detect omissions in reports very soon after payment. Moreover, it will no longer be possible to report information only to specific authorities, since the information in each report will be accessible to all users of the Incomes Register data. As the reports will be used in the processes of multiple data users, any omissions in them will be spotted faster and can therefore be rectified more efficiently.