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Tax numbers to be required for all workers at shipyards, maybe also restaurants

Builders have been required to wear badges bearing their tax numbers since 2011. Now other professions may follow suit.

Meyer Turun telakka
Finnish shipyards employ many foreign workers. Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has rolled out a series of measures aimed at tackling the grey market and economic crime.

One of the 50 concrete measures planned is that shipyard employees will be required to wear photo IDs bearing their tax numbers, as construction workers have had to for nearly a decade. The name tag system may also be expanded to cover restaurant staff as well.

"We are investigating ways of intervening in underpayment observed in labour-intensive sectors such as shipyards, construction sites and restaurants," Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen said in an statement on Thursday.

"We also have to clarify issues related to the interface between work carried out under an employment relationship and entrepreneurial work, because of the increasing amount of work in the platform economy and on digital platforms," she added.

Tens of millions in lost tax revenues each year

The cabinet has earmarked some 15 million euros to carry out the plan over the next three years, an investment it hopes will pay off in higher tax revenues that would otherwise be lost 'under the table'.

According to a study carried out in 2017, the tax-number requirement in the construction sector had boosted tax revenues by at least 34–35 million euros a year since it was imposed in 2011.

The government says it aims to tighten cooperation among various authorities to clamp down on issues such as undeclared work, identity theft and food fraud, the government said.

Human trafficking, abuse of foreign labour under the magnifying glass

“Many authorities are going to be cooperating, for example to prevent and detect the abuse of foreign labour and human trafficking for labour exploitation," said Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo, adding that "it is important for the success of our work that information sharing between the various authorities proceeds smoothly."

“We will be deploying a number of preventive measures, such as The tax number system will be introduced in shipbuilding next year, says Janne Marttinen, head of the Finnish Tax Administration's grey economy unit.

"Furthermore, we will target an information campaign at immigrants and individuals at the start of their working career about how responsible employees and employers act," he said.

Other measures planned include cracking down on cartel involvement in public tender competitions, developing a risk-profiling model for preventing environmental crime and expanding the use of artificial intelligence to process criminal investigation and evidence material, the ministry said.

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