News |

Billions in Finnish taxes remain uncollected

Finnish authorities have decided to work out the amount of legally collectible taxes that never make it into state coffers. Many other European Union member states have been managing their tax shortfalls for a long time.

Verotoimiston merkki
Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka

Employing the calculations used by other EU countries, Finland's annual fiscal deficit would be between 4.6 and 7.7 billion euros, according to Yle TV1’s investigative documentary programme MOT, which will broadcast a report on Monday evening.

The tax shortfall is calculated by subtracting the amount of collected tax revenue from the amount of legally collectible taxes. The largest proportion of tax shortfall arises due to arrears – essentially, unpaid taxes. The figure includes the taxes that are due during one year but remain unpaid by the end of the next year. For 2012, that amounted to some 700 million euros.

Tax arrears are increasing steadily. About a year ago they amounted to 4.1 billion euros. The figure includes both operational companies and those that have gone bankrupt.

Only first steps for Finland

Unlike many other countries, Finland is only just figuring out how the tax gap should be assessed.

“The Swedish tax authorities have actively been chasing a fortune hidden in tax havens and seeking international tax agreements that would grant the right to obtain information on Swedish deposits to foreign banks," says Parliamentary Audit Committee chairperson Tuija Brax. "Sweden has been actively addressing this tax gap problem for some time.”

The Tax Administration collects annual taxes of around 65 billion euros.

Happy Taxpayers Association chairperson Minna Salminen says that politicians need to make more effort to deal with the shortfall.

“Politicians should take better care of the tax gap,” she says. “We need decisions that narrow the tax gap, not enable it. In fact, the tax gap does not arise because we have lazy authorities, but because the system makes it possible.”

Latest in: News

Headlines

News

Gallery: Glorious weather crowns May Day celebrations in Helsinki

Vappupäivän viettoa Ullanlinnanmäellä.

Perfect spring weather occurring on a holiday Sunday saw Helsinki residents converge on different parts of the city in high spirits. May Day revelers making merry in Helsinki’s Kaivopuisto didn’t stint on the occasion as they put out lavish picnic spreads. In Citizen’s Square, residents soaked up political speeches as well as music. The Presidential couple received the student union choir, and anarchists took to the streets.

News

Govt parties defend administration's policies at May Day events

Coalition parties used the occasion of May Day to close ranks and defend the administration’s record during its year in government. Centre Party secretary Timo Laaninen said that Finland was now on the right path and listed the government’s achievements. The Finns Party’s Sampo Terho said the party has not strayed from its roots and the National Coalition Party’s Arto Satonen said that the government’s employment and entrepreneurship policies are bound to create new jobs.

News

Opposition, labour leaders slam govt’s job creation efforts in May Day speeches

Opposition parties and labour unions lined up to take down the government’s attempt to create jobs during traditional May Day speeches Sunday. Opposition SDP chair Antti Rinne said the party had an alternative plan to create tens of thousands of jobs this year, while outgoing Left Alliance leader Paavo Arhinmäki accused the administration of a neo-liberal agenda of which Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan would be proud. Trade union confederation chair Lauri Lyly said government’s focus had been on tightening conditions for receiving unemployment benefits.

Our picks

Latest

Muualla Yle.fi:ssä