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Key employees from other countries

If you are a key employee of your employer in Finland and certain conditions apply, you can pay a tax at source of 32% on your earned income instead of progressive tax, even if you stay in Finland for more than 6 months.

As of 2020, the tax at source collected from foreign key employees is 32%. Until the end of 2019, the tax at source has been 35%.

You do not need to request a new tax-at-source card if your current tax card is valid and your circumstances do not change. As of 1 January 2020, employers can collect 32% in tax at source on pay at their own initiative, even if a 35% tax at source has been recorded in the tax card.

Who is considered a key employee?

Key employee rules will apply if all the following requirements are met:

Instead of being a nonresident employee, you become a Finnish tax resident as soon as you start working.

You earn a regular cash salary of at least €5,800 per month. Fringe benefits should not be included in this figure. However, if you arrive for work at an institute of higher education in a teaching position or as a researcher, there is no minimum salary requirement.

Your tasks and responsibilities while employed by your Finnish-based or Finnish employer require your special expertise.

You do not have Finnish citizenship and you have not been a tax resident in Finland at any time during the five years preceding the year when you accept employment in Finland.

These tax rules are only applicable to wages regarded as sourced in Finland under the Finnish Income Tax Act (TVL). A further requirement is that the work is for a Finnish-based employer and is mainly performed in Finland. The Act governing the taxation of key employees also applies to the pay received from a foreign employer but paid, on behalf of that employer, by a Finnish entity or person (such as an accounting firm).  For more information on foreign key employees, see the guidance of the Tax Administration (available in Finnish and Swedish) "Taxation of individuals arriving to Finland — Ulkomailta Suomeen tulevan verotus".

This tax relief will not be granted unless recorded in your tax card

Key employee tax relief must be recorded in the employee's tax card. To be treated as a key employee, you must ask the local tax office to record this on your tax card within 90 days of starting work as a key employee. In order to get a tax card, you must have a Finnish personal identity code. For more information on personal identity codes, read the guidance Finnish personal IDs for workers arriving in Finland.

You can apply for a tax card by using the ordinary application form and ticking the box "I am applying for a key person tax card". You will normally be required to enclose a copy of your employment contract, showing the cash amount of your wages and the tasks requiring special expertise. The tax relief is effective for the first 48 months at maximum.

The employer withholds tax and insurance premiums

The system of tax payment involves the employer, who withholds an amount from your wages as a final tax, to be forwarded to the Finnish Tax Administration. Your wages will not be subject to the Finnish health insurance contribution or daily allowance. However, the employer’s social security fee and old age pension insurance premium will be collected in the normal way unless you hold the certificate of a posted employee (E 101 / A1) or other equivalent certificate showing you to be covered by insurance in your country of residence.

None of the usual tax deductions are available to the key employee; no deduction is granted for any costs for the production of income, nor can deductible costs be set off against any other income that you have. If you earn other income, your tax bracket will be higher on the progressive scale because of your salary as a key employee.