Buyer of real estate – remember the transfer tax and registrations of title

Pay transfer tax and ask for registration of your ownership with the National Land Survey of Finland if what you are buying is:

  • a unit of real estate i.e. a lot with a building – such as a one-family house – or a parcel of land, possibly with a summer house on it, etc.
  • real estate in the form of woodlands or agricultural fields
  • real estate consisting of a fractional share in a parcel of land 
  • a building located on leased land with a transferable contract of lease.

Buyers are required to calculate the amount and make the payment by themselves. If it seems unclear what the amount of the tax base is, you can ask the Tax Administration to prepare a statement. Send us a free-text request letter.

Exemptions from transfer tax may apply if you are a first-time homebuyer. Nevertheless, it is always necessary to have your ownership registered.

1

Calculate the tax

Transfer tax is 4% on the price paid, or on the value of other compensation. 

2

Pay the tax

Pay the tax in 6 months after you have signed the deed of sale or other agreement.

See instructions for payment

3

Request registrations

Register your ownership by confirming the transfer of title to you or register your lease contract with the National Land Survey within 6 months after you have signed the deed of sale or other agreement.

For transfer of title you need to present at least a receipt proving that you paid the transfer tax.

When you apply for registration of title or registration of lease, you don’t need to file a separate transfer tax return to the Tax Administration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Normally, buyers are required to calculate the amount and make the payment by themselves. However, it may be that it remains unclear what exactly is the tax base. If you find yourself in this situation, you can submit a free-text request to ask us to prepare a calculation.

Enclose a photocopy of the contract of purchase, or enclose some other documentation providing enough information so we can give you an answer. Statements are not issued until after the contract has been finalised and signed. If there are more than one buyers, each one of them must submit a separate request. Look up the nearest tax office where requests can be dropped off. We will send you the statement by post.

A typical example of circumstances where the Tax Administration’s statement is useful is when you have obtained real estate property through an exchange deal. The statement also addresses the other factors that have an impact on the amount of transfer tax including circumstances where real estate property has been obtained as a result of a division of property, or division of inheritance, and there are some elements involved that are open to interpretation.

Pay the transfer tax as instructed by the statement. Submit a copy of the statement to the National Land Survey when you apply for registration of title.

If you don’t request registration of title or lease within 6 months, you will have to pay late payment interest although you might have paid the transfer tax on time.

There is a 20-percent increase of transfer tax for each 6-month period that begins. However, this is only done up to a maximum of one hundred percent. In such cases, no separate surtax will be collected for delayed payment.

If you filed the registrations on time but did not pay transfer tax in 6 months after the date when the deed of sale was signed, you must pay transfer tax with an additional surtax.

To calculate the surtax, launch the Calculator.

If the previous owner has neglected their title registration obligations, you as the buyer must pay the outstanding transfer taxes for the earlier transfers, including the late-payment penalty charges, for a 3-year period. You bear responsibility for the taxes for 10 years if the date of purchase was prior to 1 January 2017.

If you bought the real estate at an auction for enforced sales, you are not responsible for the previous taxes.

If you bought a building on a rented lot, the following to alternatives will apply:

  1. The building can be located on a lot for which there is a transferable contract of lease; this may mean that the local council owns the land, and it is permissible to transfer the rights of leasehold and rights of use to third parties without the council’s consent. Look up the relevant provisions of the lease contract to see whether it is transferable. Ask the National Land Survey of Finland to register your transferable leasehold.
  2. The building may have been bought without the land or without a transferable lease

Normally you don’t have to pay transfer tax on a unit of real estate or part of it if you receive it in a division or through inheritance. However, if you paid a payment for the real estate in money or assets that are outside the divided whole, you must find out whether you are expected to pay transfer tax. For more information, see "Changes of ownership after a division of matrimonial property" (in Finnish or Swedish): Osituksen yhteydessä tapahtuvat omistajanvaihdokset ja niihin liittyvä varainsiirtoverotus

See also "Inheritance, transfer of part of estate, receiving assets by last will" (in Finnish or Swedish): Perinnönjako, pesäosuuden luovutus ja testamenttisaannot.

If you buy a piece of land or a lot for building your first home, you must first pay up the transfer tax and apply for registration of title.

Later, you can request refund when the building is finished and has passed the move-in inspection. Use the refund form for transfer tax. If all the requirements of exemption are met, we will refund the tax you paid.

Requirements on a building plot

The exemption can maximally be applied on a plot that has been created in accordance with the local zoning plan. If you have bought a parcel of land in an area outside zoning, the exemption can maximally be applied to 10,000 square metres of land. This definition only limits the maximum tax-exempt size of the building plot. The building plot used for the calculation of real estate tax is considered to be the tax-exempt building plot.

You must pay transfer tax on the part of the price that you have paid for any land outside the tax-exempt maximum area. Such land can be woodland, field, or another building site. In this case, you must give an estimation of how the price is divided between the different types of land and the grounds for it.

You can also ask the Finnish Tax Administration for a statement on how much tax you should pay.

Read more about first-time homebuyer’s exemptions when purchasing real estate. (in Finnish and Swedish only).

The purpose of a consortium for real estate (kiinteistöyhtymä; fastighetssammanslutning) is to manage or to rent out property that has several co-owners.

Such a consortium is deemed as having been formed when at least two people: a couple who lives together, or two brothers, sisters etc. become co-owners of real estate. Similarly, it is also deemed to exist when a building on a land area owned by a third party is co-owned by two or more people, regardless of whether the co-owners have any rights over the land. The Tax Administration creates a consortium in circumstances that resemble the above.

Read more about real-estate consortia (in Finnish and in Swedish)

Don’t forget to pay real estate tax

The real estate tax is payable by whoever owns the property on 1 January 2017.

Read more about the real estate tax.

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