Students and the unemployed

If you had a period of unemployment in the course of the year, the threshold for your own liability for commuting expenses is reduced.

If you are a student, commuting cannot be deducted unless you commute to work.

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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.

Months of unemployment reduce the non-deductible threshold

If you have been unemployed during the year, you cannot claim commuting expenses for the months concerned: you can only claim them for the months when you worked.

Travel/commuting does not result in a tax deduction unless the expense is higher than your annual threshold amount i.e. your own liability. However, you must report the entire expenses: you must include the amount treated as your own liability in the amount you claim. The Tax Administration takes the own liability threshold into consideration when assessing your taxes.

Months of unemployment reduce the threshold and give you a higher deduction. The normal own-liability threshold (€750) is reduced by 70 euros for each full month of unemployment. For purposes of this tax rule, 21.5 days of unemployment make up a full month. However, the lowest possible threshold is €140.

The payers of unemployment allowance give the Tax Administration details on the length of people's unemployment. We make use of this information when we assess your taxes and deductions. The number of days when unemployment allowance has been paid to you is printed on the Specification section of your Pre-Completed Tax Return.

Example: Antti was out of work from January 1 – March 31. However, he got a job April 1 that continued up to September 30. After this he was again unemployed October 1 to December 31. His commuting cost was €80 per month — this is the price of an unlimited-ride bus pass. As a result, for six months of work, Antti can claim 6 × €80.00 = €480.00

An official notice arrives to the Tax Administration from the organization that pays Antti unemployment relief: the period when he was unemployed and received relief was 132 days. Consequently, when we assess Antti's taxes and deductions for the year, we will reduce his own liability for commuting expenses (132 days / 21.5 days = 6.14 months).

This way, the threshold goes down by €420 ( = 6 months × €70 ), and the adjusted amount is €330 ( = €750 - €420 ). Antti's deduction is €150  ( €480 - €330 ).

Note: No deductions are given for travel/commuting expenses that you pay when you deal with your unemployment payments, and when you look for a new job. Deductions are only given for going to a place of work.

Are you unemployed and participating in a program of "labour market training"?

If you participate in adult education programs known as 'labour market training' (in Finnish: työvoimapoliittinen koulutus; in Swedish: arbetskraftspolitisk utbildning), you may receive income in the form of a special allowance from which you may deduct commuting expenses. Deductible commuting expenses are those caused by your daily trips to the place where the training is located.

In such circumstances, you may receive a special allowance of €9 per day. Its purpose is to cover some of your commuting and lunch expenses.  The practice has been to regard half of it (€4.50) as coverage for travel or commuting. This way, you must subtract this amount from your expenses for the entire year before you fill in the tax return form in order to claim the commuting expenses.

Example: Antti participated in a labour market training program which caused him €1,000 expenses for the trips. He received €450 as special allowance. Accordingly, he must claim €775 as his total commuting expenses for the entire year and fill in the Additional Information space on the tax return as follows: ”Subtracted one-half of the received allowance i.e. €225 from my total commuting expenses of €1,000.”

In Antti's tax assessment, we reduce the own-liability threshold by €350 (from €750 down to €400) because he was unemployed. Antti gets €375.00 deduction for commuting expenses ( €775 - €400 = €375 ). 

No deductions for commuting to educational institutions

If you are a student, you are not allowed deductions for your trips between your home and the location of the institution where you are a student. You may claim expenses only if they have to do with work.

You become eligible for claiming commuting expenses if you have a summertime job or a 'student job' where you work in addition to pursuing your studies. If your studies require that you work as a trainee, the commuting expenses are deductible on the condition that you are getting paid for your traineeship. If you work as a trainee but don't get paid, you cannot get a deduction.

Your own liability is 750 euros. You should only claim the expenses if they go over the threshold of the taxpayer's own liability. However, when claiming expenses, report them in full; do not subtract the threshold yourself, because the Tax Administration takes it into consideration automatically when assessing your taxes and deductions.

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