Paying dividends, interest and royalties to foreign beneficiaries

Dividends, interest and royalties received from a Finnish source are normally subject to tax in Finland. Your country of residence will later give you credit for the tax withheld by Finnish payers, as provided in the tax treaty between Finland and that country.

When you live abroad, the taxation of Finnish-sourced dividends, interests and royalties depends on the provisions of the tax treaty.  Although you may be treated as a foreign tax resident, the treaty allows Finland to collect a source tax on your receipt of dividends, interest and royalties at a rate set in the treaty (often 15 percent).

Click here for a review of treaty-specific rates by country.

Non-resident receiving dividends, interest or royalties from a Finnish source

If you are not a resident in Finland and get dividends, interest or royalties, the Finnish payer must withhold tax at source. The tax at source is 30%. Depending on the provisions of different tax treaties, a lower rate — or even a full exemption from taxation — may be in force.

The payer has the right to withhold the source tax at lower rates as set out by the treaty on the condition that you present your full taxpayer identification details and proof confirming that the treaty is applicable in your circumstances.

The identification details are the following:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth and other official ID information
  • Address in country of residence
  • A certificate from that country's tax authorities proving that they treat you as their resident.

If it is unclear what the rate of withholding should be for the dividends, interest or royalties that you are receiving, ask the Finnish Tax Administration to prepare a tax-at-source card for you (Form 5057).

Alternatively, ask the Finnish Tax Administration to prepare an advance ruling (this is a service against a charge).

No Finnish tax on interest income

If you are not a resident in Finland and receive interest payments, you are normally not liable to pay Finnish tax. Examples of these are the interest payments on bank deposits, bonds and debentures. For royalties covered by the Directive 2003/49/EC on interests and royalties, you pay no tax in Finland.

Too high withholding at source

If too much source tax was withheld on your receipts of dividends, please contact the payer. The payer is able to adjust the withholding during the same year when they paid you.

If the payer made no adjustment during the year of payment, contact the Finnish Tax Administration and submit an application for refund. The earliest time when you can do so is after the year of payment has ended.

Refunds of tax withheld at source:

Finnish tax not refunded in your home country

If you are a non-resident and your country of residence is in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the tax withheld in Finland on your dividends cannot be fully refunded in your home country, you may lodge a claim with the Finnish Tax Administration in order to have the dividends taxed in the same way as if a Finnish resident had received them. The earliest time when you can do so is after the tax assessment has ended in your country.

Submit the claim to Helsinki Area Tax Office on a free-form letter.  Enclose the following documentation:

You are generally liable to pay tax in Finland but live abroad

If you are deemed a Finnish resident but you live abroad, the lower withholding rates defined by the bilateral tax treaty may be applicable in some cases. This requires that your country of residence, for tax purposes, is regarded as being the country where you live — not Finland. Submit an application for a tax card (Form 6207a) for payments of dividends, interest and royalties; or Alternatively, you can demand that a tax treaty be applied afterwards. You can submit the claim on the pre-completed tax return. Read more about the Tax Administration's instruction Yleinen ja rajoitettu verovelvollisuus (in Finnish and Swedish).

Demand the application of a tax treaty afterwards on the pre-completed 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.

Alternatively, ask the Finnish Tax Administration to prepare an advance ruling (this is a service against a charge).