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Anti-Uber: Tax authority concerned about chauffeur service

The Finnish Tax Administration says it is concerned that some drivers working for the internet-based chauffeur service Uber may be avoiding paying taxes.

Naisella on kädessään älypuhelin, jossa on UBERin sovellus.
Image: Yle

Finnish tax officials are concerned that drivers for the internet-based Uber car service could be dodging taxes they should be paying. When a passenger pays the fare for a ride with Uber, the VAT is not included on the receipt.

Sami Varonen, an expert at the tax administration says that Uber drivers must include VAT in their billing if their annual income exceeds 8,500 euros, but evidently that’s not built into Uber’s billing system.

“This should be corrected,” Varonen says, adding that Uber doesn’t report the drivers’ incomes, either. They are responsible to report it themselves, and Varonen says that at this point there’s a risk the drivers may not be doing that.

“When the company doesn’t offer the kind of services that make it easy for drivers to declare their incomes, it’s not as enticing to do it voluntarily,” he says.

Controversial transportation service

Uber, an international transportation network company based in California, is no stranger to controversy. The company - which has operations in 60 countries and in more than 310 cities - has been challenged by several governments and taxi companies who allege that its use of drivers who are not licensed to drive taxicabs is unsafe and illegal.

Earlier this week, the Finnish police said they would prefer people refrain from using Uber and asked the public who do choose to use the service, to report the names of Uber drivers to police.

Police Captain Pekka Höök said that Uber’s way of operating often doesn’t follow Finnish law, and that Uber drivers do not have the required taxi operators licenses.

He said that Helsinki Police is investigating whether Uber is legal or not in Finland and recommends that people don’t use Uber for the time being.

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