Taxation procedures for self-assessed taxes

The guidance and control methods of the Finnish Tax Administration should be developed so that they enhance the efficiency of the taxation process, while also promoting the correctness of taxation and equal treatment of taxpayers. The NAOF recommends that the Ministry of Finance should carry out a comprehensive assessment of how the prerequisites for the control of self-assessed taxes could be improved.

Self-assessed taxes are taxes that the Finnish Tax Administration does not separately impose on you but that you must calculate, file and pay yourself. Self-assessed taxes include, for example, value added tax and excise duty. The Finnish Tax Administration is responsible for the taxation procedures for self-assessed taxes, while the Ministry of Finance is responsible for the steering.

The Act on the Tax Procedures for Self-Assessed Taxes (768/2016) entered into force at the beginning of 2017. Based on the audit conducted by the National Audit Office of Finland (NAOF), the procedures for self-assessed taxes have been harmonized in line with the objectives set for the reform.

One of the objectives set for the reform has been to improve the administrative efficiency. The control culture in the Finnish Tax Administration has changed clearly during the period that the Tax Administration has served as the national tax authority. The working hours spent on tax control have decreased in recent years. According to the NAOF, it is necessary to clarify the guidance and control related to self-assessed taxes, such as value added tax.

According to the audit, the procedures of tax control and taxpayer guidance vary. What is problematic and open to interpretation in individual procedures is, in particular, whether a change in taxation is an authority-initiated adjustment involving penalties or a correction made by the taxpayer. Therefore, taxpayers are not always treated equally.

In the budget for 2022, self-assessed taxes accounted for about 65 per cent, or EUR 29 billion, of the state’s tax revenue.