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Record €3b tax refund rains into bank accounts ahead of holidays

Over 3.6 million Finnish residents will receive a direct bank account deposit from the Tax Administration on 11 December, just in time for the holiday season.

Kuvassa Vero-ale julisteet.
Signs advertising a "tax sale" in Finland. Image: Tuuli Kuismin / Yle

Close to three billion euros in tax refunds will be returned to 3.6 million individual taxpayers in Finland on 11 December, the largest payback the Finnish Tax Administration has ever carried out.

Although the number of people who paid too much money in taxes and will receive refunds is not any greater than in previous years, the size of individual refunds is now bigger. Tax refund recipients will receive approximately 100 euros more from the taxman than last year, an average increase of 10 percent.

The country’s tax officials say there is no single reason for the record-breaking tax refund amount, although there was an increase in people who submitted changes to their pre-completed tax card and estimated more income than they brought in. There was also an increase in the number of Finnish taxpayers who claimed tax credits for household expenses related to cleaning and household work.

The government-backed competitiveness pact to reduce unit labour costs also cut holiday pay in the public sector, complicating many taxpayers’ income estimates.

Last year of single payment date

This year will be the last year that the Tax Administration pays out tax refunds on the same day. Starting next year, both tax refunds and the payment dates of back taxes will be spread out between the months of August and December, dependent on the taxation period end date and any changes made by taxpayers or their spouses to their tax returns, for example.

Retailers in Finland are concerned about how next year’s date changes will affect Christmas sales. After years of tax refunds being sent in early December, many taxpayers have grown accustomed to using their returned money on holiday spending. Tax refunds that are returned in August will likely be used on other things long before winter comes.

The Tax Administration will continue to send a pre-completed tax return to taxpayers in Finland by the end of April. Taxpayers looking for more information can access their individual data via the Tax Administration’s new MyTax e-service.

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