VAT is the English word for the Finnish counterpart ALV. It's a relatively new "invention" which arrived in the western economies during the 50s and 60s. But the idea initially came already in the year 1918 from the German industrial inventor Dr Wilhelm von Siemens, who started his company by building telegraph networks.
It's interesting that a businessman came up with the idea which is very strongly connected to the state and the Tax Authorities today. VAT is a significant contributor to the welfare states of many modern economies. Now when the "new" economies around the world are getting more mature, they are also implementing VAT to meet the demands from the growing middle classes, and the need for public hospitals, schools, and social security systems. Too bad it also creates an administrative nightmare, especially for small companies. To add to the confusion and frustration, we also have to deal with the EU-VAT-system and the EU-ALV-area, which is a bit too much for most small companies to be honest.
Here in the Nordic countries, we have very low VAT registrations thresholds <100K Euro which requires almost every company here in the north deal with the ever increasing madness of the VAT-system. This site is here to help the confused small business owners survive in the ALV-jungle.
What VAT rates does Finland have?
24%, 14% and 10%
VAT rate (standard): 24%
Reduced VAT rates: 10% | 14%
10% VAT: Cinema Tickets, Sporting Events, Amusement Parks, Animal Parks, Museums etc., Books, Pharmaceuticals, Taxi, Bus, Hotel, Royalty, TV License, Newspapers.
14% VAT: Food, food in restaurants (non-alcoholic), animal feed, drinking water.
VAT-free: Like Sweden and the rest of the EU: Banking and Insurance, Real Estate, Education, Health Care, Transfer of Rights of Copy-Protected Works, e.g. music and pictures.
This is a general categorisation, many strange and illogical exceptions exist, which we will dive into further in the accounting blog on this website later.
This site is currently mostly in Finnish. This website intends to help small businesses and entrepreneurs to comprehend the often complex and confusing Finnish VAT and Tax system.
Are you an immigrant or foreign businessman in Finland? Do you find it hard to get information in English about VAT and Taxes? I'm not just a small business entrepreneur -I'm a freelancer everything. I also do translations between English and Swedish. Do you require any VAT and Tax related texts or documents translated into English? Or Swedish? I can help you!
If you found this page because you are looking for help about how to handle EU-VAT, or searching for answers to questions like: should you put VAT on an invoice to a customer in another EU country? When should you apply VAT to an invoice? What should you write on an invoice when invoicing a foreign customer? Then you can find a summary of the VAT and Tax rules for EU trades on this page.
There are a lot of rules and regulations you need to read into before you start a business in Finland or any other Nordic country. Do you intend to be a self-employed person in the Nordic countries? Or do you live abroad but want to set up a business in Finland and need help in English about what to do and how to do it? Then you should have a look at this site Nordisk eTax, which has a lot of information available about the Nordic tax systems in English and other languages. The site primarily deals with Taxes from a private person perspective, but also have information about starting a business in English.