Work in a foreign country for a Finnish employer

If you leave Finland to work in another country and your employer is Finnish, the key factors regarding your taxes will be the length of your work period and the country where you will be working.

Report your foreign-sourced income along with any Finnish-sourced income with a tax return

Tax Return on the Web (tax.fi/taxreturn) is closed.

You can no longer submit details for 2017 online. Please file the details on your pre-completed tax return form and attachment forms, if necessary. Send the forms to the tax office by post.

The Tax Return on the Web service allows you to add or correct information in your pre-completed tax return. In this service, you can also report foreign income and claim for elimination of double taxation. Please note that you need not send back the pre-completed tax return or any accompanying forms if you submit all the information online.

If you do not file the return online, enter foreign income under Other foreign earned income in the tax return. You must then report the pay for work done abroad and the days you have stayed in Finland on  Form 16
(Details on income from foreign sources).

1. Duration maximum 6 months

If you work continuously for a maximum of six months in another country and your employer is Finnish, your wages will be taxed in Finland. Almost all the tax rules applied when you work in Finland will be applied to your income.

As a rule, the country where you work will not collect tax on your wages. There are, however, some exceptions. The country of work may collect tax in a situation where Finland has no bilateral tax treaty with the country. Similarly, the country of work has taxing rights if a tax treaty with Finland exists and your Finnish employer has a permanent establishment in the country. If you are an artist, athlete or sportsman, the country of work usually has taxing rights regardless of the length of your work period in that country.

If the country where you work collects tax on your wages, the resulting economic double taxation will usually be eliminated during tax assessment in Finland. For more information

Contact the local tax authorities of the country where you intend to work to obtain precise information on tax procedures.

2. Duration longer than 6 months

If you work continuously for a period longer than six months in another country, your wages may be exempt from Finnish tax (in reference to the six-month rule). Wage income is exempt in Finland if all of the following preconditions are fulfilled:

  • Your continuous stay in the country where you work is based on work-related reasons, and you are staying for at least 6 months.
  • You spend less than 6 days in Finland (on average) for each full month of work in another country.
  • The bilateral tax treaty between Finland and the country of work imposes no restrictions that would prevent the country of work from collecting tax on your wage income.

Under tax treaties, countries where work is performed have taxing rights if you stay there more than 183 days during a specified period. Depending on the tax treaty, calculation of the number of days is based either on 12 consecutive months or on the calendar year. The country of work also has taxing rights if your Finnish employer has a permanent establishment in the country. Where the country has no tax treaty with Finland, the six-month rule may be applicable if the preconditions regarding duration of work period and time spent in Finland are fulfilled.

If any of the preconditions listed above remain fulfilled, wage income will be taxed in Finland. If you have also paid tax in the country where you work, the resulting economic double taxation will usually be eliminated during tax assessment in Finland. For more information

It should be noted that the six-month rule is only applicable to wages paid by a private-sector employer. If you work in another country and your employer is a Finnish public body, or you are an employee working on board a Finnish ship or aircraft, the six-month rule will not apply.

The tax exemption contained in the six-month rule only concerns wages for overseas work. During your stay in a foreign country you may receive other income, and that income will usually be taxed in Finland.

Use the following table to find out whether the six-month rule applies to your wages:

Tax withholding and payment of the health insurance contribution

  • If your employer has examined your circumstances and come to the conclusion that your overseas work fulfils the requirements of the six-month rule, your employer may be excused the withholding of tax in Finland from your wages. However, if your coverage by the Finnish social security system continues, your employer must still withhold a health insurance contribution from your pay i.e. approximately 2 percent of gross wages.
  • If the six-month rule does not apply, and during the period concerned you are under the obligation to pay some form of advance taxes to the tax authorities in the country where you work, you can ask the local Finnish tax office to give you a revised tax card in which your foreign-paid taxes are taken into account. Thus, your withholding in Finland will be smaller, and elimination of economic double taxation will at least in part be carried out at the early stage when taxes are being withheld.

Make sure you are aware of your local tax obligations

If you work overseas for longer than 6 months, you will usually need to pay tax to the tax authorities of the country where you work. Local tax rules will apply. Contact the local tax authorities about the necessary conditions and facts that apply to tax payment, including deadlines, due dates and the question of whether you need to complete a tax return in that country. We recommend that you keep the foreign statement that documents the assessment of your taxes and store it carefully.

Checklist for you who are leaving Finland because of a work assignment or job

File a notification of move to the Local Register Office

  • If you do a permanent change of address the Tax Administration receives information from the Local Register Office automatically.
  • If you do a temporary change of address to the Local Register Office, you must file a separate change-of-address notice to the Tax Administration. Print a form for reporting a temporary change of address(3817). Instead of using the form, you can also submit the notification with a free-format letter. The letter must indicate your name, address, personal identity number, new address, and the date on which the change takes effect. 

  • A temporary address must be reported to the Tax Administration in person or in writing. The address cannot be reported to the Tax Administration by phone or online. For the address of the Finnish Tax Administration, see under Contact information.

  • You can also authorise a representative to do the change of address on your behalf. 

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