Instructions for bringing a motor vehicle to Finland as removal goods
Prerequisites for tax exemption or tax reduction (transfer restriction)
After a motor vehicle brought to Finland as removal goods has been granted tax exemption or the car tax payable on it has been reduced, the vehicle may not be transferred for the use of other individuals. This means that the vehicle may only be
- transferred to other individuals
- put at the disposal of individuals outside the immigrant's family free of charge
after it has been in the ownership of the individual moving to Finland or his/her spouse or in their possession under conditions leading to ownership for at least three years. Moreover, for at least one of these years, the vehicle must be in Finland.
If the tax exemption or tax reduction is based on a temporary tax relief decision, a different transfer restriction period may apply. The transfer restrictions are also explained in the taxation decision and (in a shorter form) in the vehicle registration certificate.
The transfer restriction takes effect on the day on which the vehicle is granted the tax reduction as removal goods.
After the individual in question has moved to Finland, only the time when both the vehicle and the immigrant are in Finland at the same time is considered as the time when the vehicle is used. This means that only the time when the immigrant uses the vehicle in Finland is included in the three-year transfer restriction period.
Customs decision on vehicles imported from outside the EU
If the vehicle has been imported from outside the EU, the Finnish Customs issues a separate decision in which it approves the exemption of the vehicle from customs duties and VAT. The exemptions are explained in the decision. For more information, visit www.tulli.fi.
Transferring the vehicle
The vehicle may only be sold or otherwise transferred after the three-year transfer restriction period, as laid down in the Car Tax Act, has expired or when all required taxes have been paid. Except for the exceptions listed below, the vehicle may not be sold, leased or otherwise transferred before the three-year transfer restriction period has expired.
Right of family members to use the vehicle
Family members of the immigrant have the right to use the vehicle. The family of the immigrant comprises his/her spouse living in the same household and their unmarried children.
Individuals of the same gender that have registered their partnership are considered as spouses. An individual cohabiting with the immigrant and living in the same household that has the right to use the vehicle during the three-year transfer restriction period is also considered a spouse.
Outsiders driving the vehicle
An individual from outside the family may drive the vehicle when the immigrant or any of his/her family members entitled to use the vehicle are in the vehicle. Furthermore, car repair shop personnel may move and test-drive the vehicle when repairing it, while such individuals as hotel staff members may also move the vehicle.
Transferring the vehicle for use outside Finland or to an insurance company on account of damage
A motor vehicle imported to Finland as removal goods may be sold or otherwise transferred for use outside Finland during the three-year transfer restriction period without any tax penalties to the individual that brought the vehicle to Finland. If the vehicle is damaged, the immigrant may also transfer the damaged vehicle to an insurance company during the three-year transfer restriction period without having to pay any taxes on the vehicle.
The requirement in the above situations is that the vehicle is removed from the Finnish vehicle register before the transfer. If the vehicle transferred in this manner is taken into use or registered again, the individual taking the vehicle into use or registering it must pay the car tax to the extent that it exceeds the car tax already paid.
Transferring the vehicle in violation of the provisions during the three-year transfer restriction period
If the vehicle is transferred before the expiry of the three-year transfer restriction period, the car tax payable on the vehicle is determined in accordance with the provisions that were in effect on the day on which the car tax declaration was submitted.
A vehicle transferred to outside Finland or to an insurance company as damaged is again taken into use in Finland
If a vehicle transferred to outside Finland or to an insurance company is taken into use or registered in Finland again, the individual taking the vehicle into use or registering it must pay a car tax on the vehicle. In that case, the vehicle will be taxed in the same manner as any motor vehicle taken into use or registered in Finland for the first time and the tax basis in effect at the time will be applied. However, the taxes already paid on the vehicle when it was taxed for the first time, will be deducted from the tax.
The three-year transfer restriction period
The period in which the vehicle is used in Finland will start on the day on which the vehicle is granted the tax reduction under the car tax decision. It is also required that the vehicle is registered in Finland for traffic use. If the vehicle has been used for a maximum of three months on the basis of the declaration of use approved by the Finnish Tax Administration when the taxation decision was pending, the three-year transfer restriction period is considered to have been expired. In such cases, the transfer restriction period will already start before the issuing of the car tax decision.
After the immigrant has moved to Finland, only the time when both the vehicle and the immigrant are in Finland at the same time is considered as the time when the vehicle is used. The period when the vehicle does not have a valid motor liability insurance or when it is decommissioned is not included in the three-year transfer restriction period. The decommissioning notification must be submitted to the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (www.trafi.fi).
However, in accordance with a well-established practice, the ordinary winter decommissioning (1 November - 30 April) is included in the transfer restriction period. The winter decommissioning is included in the transfer restriction period even if a vehicle decommissioning notification had been submitted. However, the winter decommissioning is only included in the transfer restriction period if the immigrant is staying in Finland at the same time.
The time during which the vehicle was in a free zone or elsewhere in Finland prior to the day on which the individual moved to Finland is not considered as time of use, unless the vehicle was used during a temporary stay (such as holidays), as referred to in the Car Tax Act.
If the vehicle is treated as removal goods in Finland under the provisions on gradual move, the period during which the individual was in Finland on a temporary basis before moving to Finland, up to the day on which the car tax decision on the vehicle is issued, is left outside the time of vehicle use.
End of the transfer restriction period
After the immigrant has used the vehicle for the three-year period, he/she must submit a duly completed declaration of the expiry of the transfer restriction to the Finnish Tax Administration. The declaration can be submitted by mail or delivered to a tax office specialising in car taxation.
If delivered by mail, the declaration should be sent to the following address:
Finnish Tax Administration / Car Taxation
P.O. Box 21
The Finnish Tax Administration may also request the immigrant to provide additional information about their stay and car use in Finland. The Finnish Tax Administration will provide advice in the completion of the declaration form.
A transfer restriction entry will not be removed automatically from the Vehicular and Driver Data Register. It will be removed at a vehicle inspection station after the customer has presented written confirmation by the Tax Administration that the transfer restriction entry can be removed from the register.
Other instructions for importing a vehicle when moving to Finland
Using a vehicle in Finland before car tax has been paid
A motor vehicle that has not been registered in Finland cannot be taken into use in Finland. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. Using a vehicle that has not been registered in Finland is possible under certain conditions, such as under a valid transfer permit or registration in another country.
A vehicle intended for registration in Finland can be used temporarily before paying taxes for a maximum of three months. In such cases, a declaration of use must be submitted to the Tax Administration before the use of the vehicle in Finland starts.
If the vehicle does not have a valid registration in an EEA country or the registration expires, a transfer permit must also be acquired for the vehicle. The declaration of use confirmed by the Tax Administration must be kept in the vehicle at all times. In addition, a motor liability insurance valid in Finland must be taken out on the vehicle.
Registration and registration inspection of a vehicle
Once the person moving to Finland has submitted a car tax declaration, the tax authority will issue a tax decision for the vehicle and give approval for registering the vehicle once any payable car taxes have been paid. Before registration, a registration inspection must be performed on the vehicle in order to check that the vehicle meets all the regulations and is in good condition and safe to drive. Proof of the vehicle’s compliance with regulations must be presented at the inspection station.
After the registration inspection has been performed, the vehicle must be registered at the inspection station. The temporary right to use the vehicle expires on the due date of the car tax. This means that the vehicle cannot be used after the due date unless it has been registered.
Taxes on sales gains from car sales
If the person moving to Finland sells the vehicle after the expiry of the transfer restriction, according to the Income Tax Act, the sales gains are taxable capital income.
For any enquiries concerning sales gains, call the telephone service number for income taxation of individuals, +358 (0)29 497 002; for enquiries concerning car tax, the telephone service number is +358 (0)29 497 150.
The applicable law (in Finnish) can be viewed in the online database of legislative information in Finland (www.finlex.fi)
Answers to enquiries about the registration and registration inspection of vehicles and information on car tax are provided by inspection stations and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi (www.trafi.fi)