f you are a foreign artist or sportsman, and you give a performance or participate in a sports event in Finland, the fee that you receive will normally be subject to Finnish tax.
Tax Return on the Web (tax.fi/taxreturn)
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The e-Service has opened 8.3.2018 for the taxpayers whose personal deadline date for filing a tax return is 3.4.2018 (self-employed traders and self-employed professionals). For other taxpayers, the opening date is at the end of March.
For the purpose of these instructions, ’performing artists, sportsmen and athletes’ does not cover such professionals as directors of theatrical performances, choreographers, theatrical set decorators, referees and coaches.
Duration of stay maximum 6 months: tax at source
A fee paid for a personal endeavour will be subject to Finnish tax. Tax at source will be withheld on payment at the rate of 15 per cent regardless of whether the compensation is characterised as wages or any other type of income. Withholding will apply even to situations where payment is routed to an overseas management office or other corporate entity. No tax deductions are available, and consequently, any fee paid to an agent cannot be subtracted from the pre-tax amount. However, even if the compensation itself remains fully taxable and no amounts can be deducted, your employer can generally cover your hotel costs, travel tickets and freight expenses directly if you have documents and receipts that show the relevant amounts. Reimbursement of direct costs is exempt from tax. Furthermore, your employer may pay you a per diem allowance, which is also exempt under the Finnish domestic rules governing travel costs.
Because the tax withheld at source is a final tax, you will not be expected to submit a Finnish income tax return. At the end of your contract, your employer will give you a document showing details of your gross pay and the withheld taxes. You should keep this document, as you may later need to show it to the tax authorities of your country of residence for the purposes of eliminating international double taxation.
Example: The Finnish organiser of a summer music event is paying a fee to a foreign symphony orchestra. This fee will be considered income in the hands of the symphony orchestra, and thus the organiser will withhold 15% on payment. The orchestra is a taxpayer in its country of tax residence, and any administrative measures to eliminate international double taxation will be taken in that country. If the orchestra pays regular monthly wages to its members, no Finnish tax will be payable on these wage incomes.
Artists and sportsmen resident in EU/EEA: selection of the optimal tax scheme
If you are from an EU or EEA country, one of the two following alternatives will result in less tax:
(A) Flat tax at source at the rate of 15% on income earned in Finland, or
(B) First a tax deduction for direct costs relating to the production of income in Finland, and then payment of either progressive tax at source* (if the income is paid to a physical person) or flat tax at source at 26% rate (if the income is paid to a corporation) on the net income.
If the result shows that the 'B' alternative is better, the recipient of income should submit a claim to the tax office in order to deduct the relevant costs. If you are from an EEA country you can select a progressive tax rate, allowing you to subtract direct costs from your gross income (for example, travel and hotel costs for which the employer has not paid tax-exempt compensation). You can request the tax office to examine your case and issue a progressive rate tax card where these costs are accounted for in the tax rate. For more information, click Tax at source calculator (www.tax.fi/taxatsourcecalculator) in order to check in advance whether this alternative results in less tax than 15% tax at source.
Duration of stay longer than 6 months: progressive tax
If you stay longer than six months, you will be considered a Finnish tax resident. Artists and sportsmen who are residents are taxed under the same rules as other residents. Implementation of the brackets of the progressive scale will mean your tax rate will be determined by your annual gross income.
If you have a Finnish employer, you will need a tax card (the employee's withholding allowance certificate), which you can request at the local tax office. Hand it over, as the original, to your employer. If your employer is not Finnish, and does not withhold any amounts from your pay, we recommend that you submit a request to the tax office for self-initiated tax prepayments. The tax office will perform a calculation. To obtain a tax card or register for tax prepayment you will need a Finnish personal identity number. For more information, click .
Remember to file a Finnish income tax return
If you stay longer than six months, you will be expected to submit a tax return. The Finnish tax return is a pre-completed form with information received directly from third parties including employers, other payers of income, and many other sources of information. The Tax Administration will send the envelope to your registered address in April, the year after you have worked in Finland and earned some income. The pre-filled lines will show any amounts paid to you, and the taxes that the payers have withheld and paid forward. It is very important that you check the contents of your pre-completed tax return form and make the corrections or additions that are necessary. However, if you have nothing to add or correct regarding your previous year's income or taxes, you do not need to return the form.
Impact of international tax treaties
The tax treaties that Finland has made with other countries do not normally have a restrictive effect on Finland's taxation rights in respect of the fees paid to foreign sportsmen or artists who have been personally active in Finland. The sole exception to this rule is artists and sportsmen arriving from the United States of America. In this case fees paid and reimbursement for expenses up to U.S. $20,000 per year for your personal endeavour will not be subjected to Finnish tax. However, if the threshold of U.S. $20,000 is exceeded, the entire amount will be taxed in Finland. The payer can take into account the tax treaty relief only if it is marked in the tax at source card.
Example: The Finnish organiser is paying €25,300 as a total fee to a group of five artists from the United States who will give two performances. Because the amount is higher than U.S. $20,000, a tax of 15% would normally be withheld at source. However, if a detailed specification is submitted to the tax office showing the portions of the fee that go to each individual artist, and the relevant pay slips and Employer Payroll Report are prepared showing the names of each artist separately, no taxes at source will be withheld on the payment made to the individual artist, unless that artist’s fee and reimbursement exceeds the threshold of U.S. $20,000.