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Wednesday's papers: Tax day, reindeer scam and schooling in Helsinki

On Wednesday the press covers a range of stories including the annual tax data release, an unusual scam among reindeer herders, and a look at how parents select schools in Helsinki.

Finland's tax administration publishes data on every taxpayer in the country each year. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP
Yle News

Tuesday is when Finland gets to learn more than it could possibly want to know about last year's tax data. The income and taxes of every resident are made public, available to search at tax offices or via a dedicated phone line. The media of course covers the data dump in great detail, picking out wealthy titans of industry and high (and not-so-high) earning celebrities.

In the run-up Ilta-Sanomat decided to try a novel vox pop: asking passers-by in central Helsinki how much they earn. The result was a little awkwardness but also a few honest answers, showing Finns seem to be less protective of their financial privacy than people in many countries.

After all, if it's going to be available for everyone to see, why would you try and hide it?

The newspapers all have their own 'tax machines' online, including the data from the highest earners in the country, and their websites will be updated over the course of the day with articles and stories culled from the numbers. There'll be more on this story at and of course in Thursday's paper review.

Reindeer black market

The Green Party paper Vihreä Lanka has a big scoop on a scam apparently run by reindeer producers in Finland. Herders in some regions of Finland receive higher compensation for losses to predators, and those compensation payments can be so high that they exceed the value of baby reindeer sent to the slaughterhouse.

That provides an incentive for livestock owners in Lapland (where losses to predators are low) to sell some animals to farmers in Kuusamo and Kainuu, where losses are high and compensation payments can be ten times more than the price of an animal slaughtered for meat production.

In those regions the income from compensation payments was, according to Vihreä Lanka, many times greater than that from meat sales.

Helsinki school selection

Helsingin Sanomat looks at the small but competitive world of 'elite' schools in Helsinki. Most schools in the capital are public and take pupils from the local area, but a few are selective and a smaller group are private.

HS finds that it's difficult to put an unborn child on the waiting list for the Steiner or English schools in the capital, but the institutions will add 2 or 3-month-olds to the waiting list.

The paper also interviews experts and families who say Finland does not have the same 'elite school' system as in Sweden, as many parents want to send their kids to their local school--which is, according to HS, usually a quality institution.

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