The Statement covers taxation of the reimbursement of various costs related to work abroad and the relocation services paid by the employer especially in the situations that had previously been unclear.
Tax treatment of certain situations had previously been subject to interpretation, but have now been made clearer:
- The travel expenses of an employee moving to Finland can be reimbursed tax-free for the employee when the employee arrives in Finland to work in a so-called “special place of work,” but the travel expenses of his/her family are, in principle, always taxable income for the employee. (However, it should be noted that a partial tax exemption, due to a change in the location of the employment, could be applicable, in which case only half of the price of the family’s airplane tickets would be considered as taxable income for the employee.)
- The costs of obtaining visas and work and residence permits that are reimbursed are non-taxable income for the employee, but if the corresponding expenses are reimbursed for the employee’s family members, those family-related expenses are considered to be taxable income for the employee.
- Assignment coaching and language training are considered as trainings provided by the employer, which does not create a taxable benefit for the employee.
- If the employer pays for school fees or child-care on behalf of the employee coming to Finland, that is considered to be taxable income for the employee.
- If the employer provides a service for assisting with so-called “personal authority” matters or similar obligations of an employee or members of his/her family, that is considered as taxable income for the employee.
It is important to note that the Statement also takes a stand on the taxation of many other costs or services paid by the employer and presents, in addition, several exceptional situations for taxable income – in other words, there are many other costs and services as well as exceptional situations mentioned in the Statement, but for purposes of this article we will not go into detail here, but rather, refer readers to the Statement (see the footnote).
According to the Statement, taxable income for the employee is considered to be assistance with authority registrations, tax returns, social security applications, obtaining a passport, house hunting, and opening a bank account (this is not an exhaustive list). In addition, the Statement confirms that the amount of the taxable benefit to the employee is the cost paid for the service, including VAT.
A taxable benefit arises when the employer pays an expense that is considered to be the employee’s living expenses; for example, in the case of residence permits for the family members, the taxable benefit arises when the employer pays an invoice sent by the service provider related to the residence permits.