Performing artists and athletes – how to take care of your taxes in Finland

If you are a foreign artist or athlete and you either perform or participate in a sports event in Finland, the fee you receive is usually subject to Finnish tax.

If you are a theatre director, choreographer, set designer, referee or sports coach or the like, you are not treated as a performing artist or athlete in taxation. See the instructions: Coming to work for a Finnish employer

The duration of your stay in Finland affects your taxation

When you receive a payment for your personal performance, the payment is subject to 15% of tax at source in Finland. The payment may be wages or other income. Tax at source is withheld even if the payment is routed to an overseas event agency or other foreign organisation.

You cannot make tax deductions from the payment. For example, you cannot deduct the amount you have paid to your agent. Even though you cannot make deductions from the payment, your employer can usually pay you tax-exempt reimbursement for the following costs:

  • accommodation expenses
  • travel ticket expenses
  • freight charges.

Receipts for the expenses are required. In addition, your employer may pay you a tax-exempt daily allowance, which is equal to the domestic daily allowance.

If the payor has not requested a tax card on your behalf, apply for a tax-at-source card with Form 5057e Select “athlete’s or performing artist’s income” in section 4. 

The tax at source is a final tax, so you do not need to file a tax return in Finland. Your employer gives you a pay slip that specifies your income and the tax at source withheld on your income. Keep the pay slip for future use: it may be needed in your home country’s tax assessment for the elimination of double taxation.

Example: A Finnish organiser of a summer music event pays a performance fee to a foreign symphony orchestra. This fee is considered the symphony orchestra’s income, and the organiser therefore withholds 15% tax on it. The orchestra is liable to pay tax on the income in its country of residence, and double taxation will also be eliminated in that country. The members of the symphony orchestra also receive a monthly salary, which is not taxable in Finland.

If you live in an EEA country, you can select how your tax rate is calculated

If you live in an EEA country, you can

  • select a progressive tax rate for your tax at source
  • request progressive taxation.

You can also request progressive taxation if you are from a country that has a tax treaty with Finland.

If you have a progressive tax-at-source rate, you can deduct direct expenses from your income. For example, you can deduct your travel and accommodation expenses if your employer has not paid you a tax-exempt reimbursement for them.

You can request the Tax Administration to investigate the matter. You will receive a progressive tax-at-source card with a tax rate in which the expenses have been taken into account. Check with the tax-at-source calculator whether this alternative is more beneficial to you than 15% tax at source.

If you want to request progressive taxation, read the following guidance: Foreign worker staying no longer than 6 months – you have the option to claim progressive tax treatment.

If you stay in Finland for more than 6 months, you will be considered a Finnish tax resident. You will be taxed progressively, and the tax rate depends on your annual income.

If you have a Finnish employer, request a tax card according to these instructions.

If you have a foreign employer, request a tax card or prepayments according to these instructions.

File a tax return in Finland

If you stay longer than 6 months, you must file a tax return in Finland. The Finnish Tax Administration will send you a pre-completed tax return in the spring following the year when you worked in Finland. Check the information printed on the pre-completed return. If all the information is correct, you do not need to do anything.

You can make changes or corrections in MyTax if necessary. If you cannot use the MyTax e-service, see how to declare with paper forms.

If you are from the USA, your taxation is governed by a tax treaty

If you are from the USA and the fees and reimbursements of expenses you receive from Finland do not exceed $20,000 a year, they are not subject to tax in Finland. If your income is more than $20,000 a year, you must pay tax on the full amount in Finland. The payor can take the tax treaty relief into account only if it is marked on your tax-at-source card.

Example: A Finnish event organiser pays €25,300 to a U.S. event agency. The amount covers two performances of five U.S. artists in Finland. Because the amount is more than U.S. $20,000, 15% tax at source is withheld.

However, no tax at source is withheld on the portion paid to an individual artist, if
- an account is given of each individual artist’s portion 
- receipts and an annual information return are submitted separately for each artist
- an individual artist’s fee and reimbursement of expenses do not exceed $20,000.