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

File and pay transfer tax if you are buying:

  • A real estate unit, which may consist of
    • a plot of land and the buildings located there, i.e. a house, etc.
    • a subdivision of land and a summer cottage located on it
  • Real property in the form of woodlands or agricultural fields
  • A fractional share in a parcel of land
  • A building located on leased land with a transferable contract of lease (a leasehold right). For example, a single-family house on a plot leased from the local municipal administration.

If you are a first-time homebuyer, see this guidance

1

File the return

Submit the transfer tax return to the Tax Administration by the time when you apply for registration of the transfer of title. You must submit a request the appropriate registrations to the National Land Survey in 6 months from signing the contract. Even if a realtor assists you when you buy real estate, you must file your transfer tax return for it independently.

  • If you buy together with a co-buyer – typically your spouse – both of you must submit a transfer tax return.
  • To complete the return, you should have the purchase and sale agreement or other contract on hand. 
  • However, you generally do not have to add very many enclosures. In MyTax, a window will appear that tells you whether an additional enclosure must be attached or whether it is enough if you just complete the tax return.

File in MyTax

How to file a transfer tax return in MyTax

How a business enterprise or other corporate entity can file a transfer tax return in MyTax

The paper-printed form can be used by individual taxpayers, general partnerships and limited partnerships.

2

Pay the tax

Pay your transfer tax no later than by the time when you apply for registration. You must submit a request the appropriate registrations to the National Land Survey in 6 months from signing the contract.

  • If you use MyTax to send the payment, reference numbers and other bank details are automatically transferred to the template for processing by your e-banking service. MyTax calculates the amount of transfer tax.
  • If you pay via your personal e-bank instead, you need the bank account number for the Tax Administration and the bank reference number for transfer tax. To get the bank account and reference numbers, you can:
    • Look them up in MyTax: Checking the bank account and the transfer tax reference number
    • Call the service telephone number +35829 497 026 (Payment transactions, limited service available in English, standard call rates)

When you fill in the amount, include two decimal points. If there is more than one buyer – two spouses, for example – each must pay their own share of the transfer tax on a separate bank transfer and enter their personal reference numbers. The amount will be displayed as a paid tax in MyTax on the following business day or the day after that.

Buyers in foreign countries – requesting a bank reference number

3

You receive a certificate of transfer tax

Normally, after you have filed and paid, a certificate proving this will appear in MyTax in 2 days. Finding the certificate in MyTax. It is also sent to you by post. 

If you file your return on paper, wait for the certificate of transfer tax to become available in MyTax a little later.

4

Request registrations, either for ownership or leasehold

Ask for registration of your ownership by confirming the transfer of title to you or for registration of your lease contract with the National Land Survey in 6 months from the date of signing the contract. If your purchase of property is handled in the Property Transaction Service, the automatic system will create a registration application for you.

Please note that you must file a transfer tax return and pay the tax before you can request registration. You do not have to enclose a certificate on paid transfer tax with the request. When both the payment and the return have arrived at the Tax Administration, the National Land Survey of Finland is automatically notified of the fact that you have taken care of your transfer tax.

Enclose the Tax Administration’s statement if you have received one. The statement may concern the amount of your transfer tax, etc. However, you may previously have asked for the statement to be delivered to the National Land Survey directly. In this case, you do not need to enclose it.

Amount of transfer tax on real estate property

The rate of transfer tax is 4% on the price paid, or on the value of other consideration or compensation. You can use the transfer tax calculator to help with your calculations.

However, it may be that it remains unclear what exactly is the tax base. If you find yourself in this situation, you can ask for a Tax Administration’s statement regarding the amount of transfer tax.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you need to make corrections to the information you submitted, submit a replacement. You can do this in MyTax or file a paper transfer tax return that replaces your original return. In this case, you must not only correct the mistakes but also complete the other spaces on the form again.

How to remedy errors of a transfer tax return in MyTax

If you submit a replacement on paper, remember to tick the “Replacement transfer tax return” box on the first page.

Note: if you submit the transfer tax return past deadline, you may have to pay a late-filing penalty or a tax increase.

If by this time, you already paid the transfer tax, look up the specific guidance on how to make corrections to the payment and the filed return.

If you submitted a return before 8 November 2019 and you need to make corrections to its errors, please call the Tax Administration service number +35829 497 022 (standard call rates apply).

If you file the transfer tax return late, you must pay either a late-filing penalty or an increased tax. If you do not pay your transfer tax on time, you must pay interest.

Read more about the consequences of late filings and late payments.

If you do not 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. Read more about penalty charges.

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If the previous owner has neglected their title registration obligations, you as the buyer, jointly with the previous owner, carry responsibility for paying 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 and their late-payment charges for 10 years if the date of purchase was prior to 1 January 2017.

You cannot have the transfer of title registered in your name, for your ownership and for your leasehold, until the transfer taxes and related penalty charges are paid and the transfer tax return form has been submitted.

If you bought the real estate at an auction for enforced sales (pakkohuutokauppa; exekutiv auktion), you are not responsible for the previous taxes.

Read more in “being responsible for the unpaid transfer taxes on earlier sales” – Vastuu aiempien luovutusten varainsiirtoverosta (in Finnish and Swedish)

If you bought a building on rented (=leased) land, the following two 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 e.g. the local municipality owns the land, and it is permissible to transfer the rights of leasehold and rights of use to third parties without the owner’s consent. Check the appropriate contract text to ascertain transferability. If you buy or acquire a building on a rented land under such a contract, submit the transfer tax form, pay the tax (4%) and ask the National Land Survey of Finland to register the leasehold to yourself.

  2. The building may have been bought without the land or without a transferable lease. Read more: Building, such as an allotment cottage

You must file and pay transfer tax if after a distribution of matrimonial assets, you get a unit of real estate that your ex-spouse and you owned together, or that your ex-spouse owned independently (this may be a 50-percent part of a house that you used to own jointly), and you are now paying an amount of money as a consideration, and this payment is financed from a source outside of your matrimonial property.

The amount is sourced from outside in connection with a divorce, if you have taken a loan in order to make the payment and the loan contract was signed after your divorce became pending, or if you make the payment with funds regarded as being outside your previous matrimonial property due to a prenuptial agreement or due to a clause in a deed of gift. However, if there has been a loan that relates to the assets within the matrimonial property and you assume responsibility for the loan repayments, this is not a paid-in consideration that would have been financed with outside funds.

If you are paying your ex-spouse an amount of money as an adjusting payment, no transfer tax return or transfer tax payment is required for the house you received (or the real estate you receive). Such a payment can be regarded as “adjusting payment” under the definition of law only if the agreement on the distribution of assets contains the amount to be paid and sets out the obligation on you to make the payment. This requires that the agreement on the distribution of matrimonial assets lists all of the spouses’ assets and property and the values.

Read more and see related examples in “Changes of ownership after a division” – Osituksen yhteydessä tapahtuvat omistajanvaihdokset ja niihin liittyvä varainsiirtoverotus (in Finnish and Swedish)

If you find it difficult to determine whether you must pay transfer tax or you cannot calculate the amount, you can ask the Tax Administration to prepare a statement for you.

If assets of a death estate have been distributed and you get a house under the condition that you must pay an amount of money to other heirs, and you finance this payment with funds from outside the estate, you must file and pay transfer tax on the transaction. If necessary, ask for a statement regarding the amount of the tax (link).

The amount of money paid to others is sourced from outside if you have spent your personal funds for it, you have borrowed money from outside in order to make the payment, or if you use funds that come from a previous partial distribution of an estate.

Read more: Transfer taxation relating to real estate transfers (in Finnish and Swedish, section 7.2.1)

If you buy a lot for building the house, you must pay the transfer tax for it, submit the transfer tax return, and ask for registration of the transfer of title to you first.

Later, you can request refund when construction is finished and the authorities have inspected your house and declared it ready and you have moved in. You can submit a refund application in MyTax or on a paper form. If all the requirements for exemption are met, we will refund the tax you paid.

Requirements on the site of a building

In a planned area, the exemption from transfer tax applies to no more than the plot as it is set out by the local zoning plan. If you have bought a site in an area that has not been zoned, you can get an exemption from transfer tax for that site. The site used for the calculation of real estate tax is considered to be the tax-exempt building site. However, the maximum area is 10,000 square metres of land.

The exemption covers the land and the residential houses located on it (such as the house where you live and an outbuilding).

As a result, you must pay transfer tax on the part of the price that you pay for any land outside the exempted maximum area. Examples of what you must include in such a price would be what you paid for woodland, field areas, or other sites suitable for construction of houses. In this case, you must present a breakdown of the consistent parts of the price.

Alternatively, you can ask the Tax Administration to give you a statement on how much transfer tax you have to pay.

Read more about the first-time homebuyer’s exemptions when buying real estate (in Finnish and Swedish only, link to Finnish)

Don’t forget the real estate tax

The party who is registered as the owner of the real property at the beginning of the year (on January 1st 2020) must pay the tax.

Read more about the real estate tax.