Here’s your 5 minutes guide through your 2021 tax return in Finland:

Tax authorities send pre-completed tax returns to everyone in March or April. If you prefer to obtain it electronically you can activate the service to receive a notification.

Luckily filing tax returns is pretty simple in Finland: you can file online and also in English! Even if you received the postal mail in Finnish language, you can always review it in English in MyTax.


Why is your tax return in Finland pre-completed?

Fortunately Finnish tax authorities have already collected all kind of financial information from your employer, bank, etc. Based on these records and for your convenience authorities have pre-completed your tax return on your behalf.

Nevertheless, it’s up to you to review the pre-filled document, and if it is not correct or it requires additional information, you must make changes before the due date stated in the document. If you are an employee your deadline is May 9th, 16th or 23rd, 2021 (check your document or MyTax). For self-employed (working under a toiminimi) and their spouses the deadline was already on April 3rd.


What to do with your 2021 tax return in Finland?


1. Check the following pre-completed entries

  • Your personal information
  • Your bank account number (for tax refunds)
  • Earned income (verify against your December payslip, at the bottom you usually find the full year totals)
  • Preliminary deductions and taxes paid from earned income (see your December payslip)
  • Capital gains and losses (check against your bank’s or broker’s statement)
  • Dividends (verify against your bank’s or broker’s statement)
  • Membership fees for labour market organisations (check how much you paid to them)
  • Contributions to a voluntary pension insurance contract or long-term saving acccount (”PS-tili”)
  • Loan interests (check your online banking for a yearly tax document) and whether the loan purpose is correct (home loan, investment loan, consumer loan)

If you find incorrect information do correct it, f.ex. in MyTax.

Curiously my personal pre-completed tax return for 2021 states I paid interests 1 687€ for my housing loan. Indeed I paid that amount of interest but it was for an investment loan, not my housing loan. I had taken the loan to finance the purchase of a real estate investment. Interests on investment loans are fully deductible from capital gains, whereas interests from home loans have just a tiny deduction value nowadays.

Consequently I corrected the pre-completed tax return and marked the loan as investment loan. As a result my tax liability went down by 506€ (30% of 1 687€).

Luckily such mistakes in the pre-completed tax return are rare, but really happen (!) and can only be avoided if you review the document.


2. Add

Any income not yet in the tax return must be added. Add related costs as well. Missing income can be f.ex.

  • Rental income (f.ex. from AirBnB or other rental activity, also add all related costs)
  • Capital gains and losses f.ex. from selling shares, ETF’s, crypto currency (also from abroad! If you paid tax abroad, add it as well). See this article about how to file gains from crypto currency.
  • Dividends and other capital income, f.ex. from crypto currency mining (see capital gains)
  • Commissions, pensions or other earned income which is not yet in your tax return (if your pre-completed return doesn’t show your earned income, your employer might not have filed it properly: contact your employer as this might backfire to you some beautiful day, f.ex. when it comes to your pension accrual)

The easiest way to add missing information into your tax return is to use MyTax.


3. Claim

It is pretty likely that you can make use of one or the other tax deduction to reduce your taxable income = pay less taxes!


tax return finland
Below is a selective list of potential tax deductions you might be entitled to:

  • Expenses for production of earned income, f.ex. home office expenses (see eBook below)
  • Travelling costs between workplace and home (see eBook below)
  • Tax credit for household expenses (see eBook below)
  • voluntary pension insurance from abroad if deductible in Finland
  • Deduction for reduced capacity to pay taxes (see eBook below)
  • Tax credit for child maintenance payments (see eBook below or blog article)
  • Student loan deduction

In general you need to claim tax deductions and tax credits yourself so make sure to do that if entitled to.
Obviously tax benefits do not necessarily show up in your pre-completed tax return unless you have submitted these to tax authorities earlier. Tax deductions will reduce your taxable income and tax credits directly reduce your taxes.
All you need to know about saving taxes in Finland is in the e-Book below!

What if I don’t do anything with my tax return in Finland?

As explained in the beginning you are asked to make above modifications before your personal deadline. If you do not make any changes tax authorities will assume the pre-completed return is correct and includes everything that needs to be filed.

Please keep in mind that if you fail to file any missing income in your tax return you engage in fiscal fraud. Don’t take this risk and correct your tax return!

If on the other hand you fail to claim deductions you were entitled to, you most probably pay too many taxes. Do you want to do that? 

Michael Lutzeier