What is a tax card?
Did you know that the tax card changed at the beginning of 2019? There is now only one tax card, and the card and its income ceiling are applicable to all wage income.
The change may feel difficult at first, but it makes withholding rates simpler and easier. This is why I will go through the different changes to the tax card in this article.
How does taxation work?
Taxation in Finland is organized so that an employee will only see part of the social security costs related to their salary on their payslip. The largest of these costs is withheld taxes. The amount withheld will be reported with the tax card. In addition to withheld taxes, some costs related to hiring an employee are the pension insurance contribution, unemployment insurance contribution, accident insurance premium, group life insurance premium and social security contributions.
In practice, the tax card has only one purpose: to tell the employer the withholding rate that they must pay to the tax authorities from your pay.
Finland uses a progressive tax rate, which means that the more money you earn, the bigger your tax rate.
The tax authorities will send all people over the age of 15 a suggested withholding tax rate. If you know of any changes that will affect your income, you should report them to the authorities through the MyTax service and order a new tax card.
Just one tax card in 2019
The foundation of taxation is that you are able to estimate your income amount for 12 months and that you know how much money you will earn during the entire year. As different forms of employment and earning money become common, making estimates may be difficult. If you make an incorrect estimate and earn more money than what you have reported, the tax authorities collect the rest of your missing taxes later on.
Unpaid taxes are called back taxes. If your tax rate is too small this year, you will have to pay back taxes at the end of 2020. If you have overestimated your amount of income and paid too much in taxes as a result, you will get tax returns in the same way at the end of the year.
There used to be different tax cards for different forms of employment, but from 2019 onward, you will have a single tax card and income ceiling for the entire year. You can give the same tax card or a copy of it to all your employers.
If there are changes in your level of income, you can order a new tax card from the tax authorities and increase or lower your tax rate as necessary. There will be more details about making a new tax card below. If you do not need to change your income ceiling, but you would like to increase your tax rate, you can simply send a free-form message about the matter to your employer.
The new tax card looks different
The example image is using a 22% withholding rate, which means that the income ceiling is EUR 39,928. Earnings that exceed this amount will be taxed with a 38% tax rate.
As the Incomes Register becomes active in 2019, it will be easy to track all earned income in one place and almost in real time. Later, it will also be possible to use the Incomes Register to track paid pension and benefits. You can log on to the Incomes Register with your electronic bank account, for example.
Your employer must report all paid wages to the Incomes Register within five days. UKKO.fi will also report your wages to the Incomes Register.
From the beginning of the year, the information in the Incomes Register will be used by the Finnish Tax Administration, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, the Unemployment Insurance Fund as well as pension providers and the Finnish Center for Pensions. At the beginning of 2020, the Incomes Register will also be used by unemployment funds, some insurance companies, education funds, municipalities, Statistics Finland, pay security and pay subsidy systems and occupational health and safety authorities.
Remember to keep an eye on your income ceiling
There will no longer be a tax card for secondary income in 2019. The new tax cards will come into effect on 1 February 2019 if you are not going to or have not already ordered a new tax card.
You no longer need to provide the original tax card to your employer. A copy of the tax card will be enough.
With this change, it is more important than ever that you keep an eye on your income ceiling if you have multiple employers.
The easiest and fastest way to deliver your tax card to UKKO.fi is by doing it electronically through your control panel.
How does working using a tax card differ from being a light entrepreneur?
There is no longer a so-called freelancer tax card, because one tax card and income ceiling will be enough in the future, even if you have multiple employers. This means that the taxpayer must keep an eye on their income ceilings and carefully track their total earned income. If the income ceiling is exceeded, you must order a new tax card.
The difference between using a tax card and using an invoicing service is that an invoicing service takes care of all the bureaucracy related to wage payment for both you and your client. When you work using a tax card, it means that your client must take care of all the responsibilities related to wage payment. Many clients think that this is rather cumbersome, especially when it comes to project-based or short-term work, because the clients have to do a lot of extra paper work to hire a temporary employee.
When you operate through an invoicing service such as UKKO.fi, we take care of all the bureaucracy for you. This way, your client only has to pay your bill. Our model makes buying services easy.
Ordering a new tax card and changes in income
Currently, a new tax card looks very similar to the actual tax card. This example image has a new tax card with a 21% withholding rate and an income ceiling of EUR 40,000. Therefore, the additional withholding rate is 38%.
A new tax card will need to be used when there are changes in your earned income. With this in mind, make sure that the 12-month income ceiling on your tax card is not exceeded. You should be particularly careful about exceeding your ceiling if you work for several employers during the year.
If there is a significant decrease or increase in your earned income, you should order a a new tax card from the tax authorities. Providing a copy of your new tax card to your employer is enough. You can also give your employer a printed version of the card from the MyTax service or a PDF version of the card that you have saved on your computer. You can even order a new tax card from the tax authorities via telephone if necessary.
The MyTax service is slowly moving tax matters online
In 2019, you can already take care of most of your tax matters by using the tax authorities’ MyTax service. As an example, you can fill in information related to taxation before you receive the tax return on paper. This way, the tax return that you get mailed to your home will already be filled in correctly.
Furthermore, you can use MyTax to see the payment information of your tax returns and back taxes. While doing that, you can also fill in your bank account number for receiving your tax returns.
If you are tired of the tax authorities sending you physical mail, you should activate electronic messaging at https://www.suomi.fi/messages. When you activate electronic messaging, you will get notifications sent to your email and Suomi.fi messages when MyTax has new information for you about your tax matters.
This year’s tax cards will still be sent to everyone by mail. After spring 2019, the Finnish Tax Administration will send everyone physical mail about matters that cannot be taken care of on MyTax. That said, you can still receive physical mail from the Finnish Tax Administration if you want.
For more information about tax cards, go to the Taxes section of our FAQ.