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Finland's tax cards arrive this month—here's to what to do when you get yours

Finland's tax administration sends out new tax cards each January. Here's some practical advice on what to do with yours.

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Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

The tax administration will send new tax cards to all permanent residents of Finland over the age of 15 by mid-January.

There are two things that should be done with the tax card right away.

If you are an employee with regular wages, make sure that the rate at which tax is withheld from your wages (the withholding rate) is correct. If it is, give the card to your employer. As easy as that!

Are the estimates correct?

If you are not sure whether the withholding rate is correct, look at the estimation that comes with the tax card. The estimation shows your projected income for 2018 and the withholding rate based on that income.

If you do not belong to Finland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Finnish Orthodox Church, the Finnish German Lutheran church or the Swedish Olaus Petri congregation you will not have to pay church tax. Make sure that you have ticked the right box!

Regular or irregular income?

Choose the limit of your projected income – either based on your income for a wage period (A) or the whole year (B). The wage period is usually one month, but you can also select two weeks, a week or a day.

If you have a regular income that is about the same amount each month, choose A. If you leave this section empty, this is the default option that your employer will use.

If your income is irregular due to, for example, freelance work, gigs, bonuses or supplements, it makes sense to select an income limit for the whole year. However, if you want to switch from A to B in the middle of the tax year (1 February-31 January), you need to let your employer know.

If you have more than one employer, fill out the secondary income tax card, and hand that to your secondary employer.

If the estimates are incorrect

If the estimates are wrong, recalculate your correct tax percentage by using the tax percentage calculator. If your income or deductions have changed significantly, the calculator will tell you whether your tax withholding rate should be higher or lower.

If you want to increase the withholding rate, you can simply cross out the old rate and write the new one in its place. However, if you want to lower your withholding rate, you will need to apply for a new tax card.

It’s also worthwhile to get a new tax card if your circumstances are about to change considerably due to studies, retirement, maternity leave or unemployment, for instance.

To apply for a new tax card, you will need to give the tax administration the following information:

  • Income you have received this year, such as wages
  • Taxes you have paid on your wages and other income
  • Benefits you have received and taxes you have paid on them, such as unemployment relief, sickness allowance or maternity, paternity or parental allowance
  • Income details for the rest of the year, by income type
  • Tax credit you have received, such as deductions of commuting expenses.

You can find these details in your pay slip or in payments made by Kela or trade unions.

Applying for a new tax card

When you have the information handy, log on to the Tax Administration’s eServices with your online banking codes or your identity card if you have one with a chip enabling identification, and apply for a new card. You can either print the new tax card directly from the website or have the tax administration post it to you, or your employer, within a week.

You can also print the form, fill it out and mail it to the tax administration. If you do not use a computer, you can apply for a tax card by calling 029 497 000. Finally, you can visit the tax office, but be prepared to stand in a queue.

Act fast!

You should act fast though. The new tax card will be valid from 1 February and your employer will need it about two weeks before the next payroll. If the employer does not receive a new tax card, your wages will be taxed at 60 percent in February.

Some employers receive tax cards automatically from the tax administration. Check with your employer whether this is the case with you.

If you need any further help, the tax administration has more information to get you through your tax questions. Good luck!

EDIT-Added several other established religious congregationss to whom church tax can be paid.

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