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HS: Retiring tax boss says Finnish governments adjust tax laws for political benefit

The Finnish Tax Administration's soon-retiring director general Pekka Ruuhonen has issued sharp criticism about the tax policies of Finnish governments. The minor tax adjustments that governments have carried out during his tenure have irritated him, according to an interview in Helsingin Sanomat.

Verohallinnon pääjohtaja Pekka Ruuhonen
File photo of the Finnish Tax Administration's Director General Pekka Ruuhonen, who is scheduled to retire at the end of 2017. Image: Verohallinto

In an interview with Helsingin Sanomat, the Tax Administration's outgoing director general Pekka Ruuhonen says that during his career he was perturbed by various governments' minor adjustments to the country's tax code.

Ruuhonen has led Finland's tax office for the past five years and is set to retire at the end of this year. He told the paper that various governments have made adjustments to tax policy in order to secure their own political futures.

He said the practice is particularly noticeable when ruling legislators issue changes to laws on many tax deduction and contribution laws at the same time.

He also said that he cannot explain why it is so difficult for Finland to implement fiscal reforms which the majority of experts agree are necessary.

"Maybe our [political] circles are too small here. There are many good sides to everyone knowing everyone, but unique and new debate [on issues] is lacking. In a small environment [like Finland's] people want to be in agreement beforehand," Ruuhonen told the paper.

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