Welcome to Finland – We are waiting for you in a one-stop shop

Today, Helsinki is the home to approximately 90,000 people whose roots are outside Finland. According to the latest population projections, in ten years more than fifth of Helsinki’s population will speak something other than Finnish, Swedish or Sami as their mother tongue.

When you move to Finland, whether you are coming to live in Helsinki or anywhere else in here, you will face all the same issues a new domicile brings with it.

You need a residence permit, you have to get a personal identity code, you must register as a citizen, etc., etc. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to get all the necessary documents, and our strange language and limited office hours don’t make it any easier. Believe me, I know – the Finnish tax system is not the easiest.

The Tax Administration is here to help you

A few years ago, we made a trip to Tallinn and gave Finnish tax numbers and tax cards to Estonian construction workers who were planning to come here to work. We travelled there beforehand so that the workers coming here could start working right away without having to pay a visit to a Finnish tax office first. We got excellent feedback from this cooperation with the Estonian tax officials.

Some seasonal workers, such as berry pickers, come to Finland in huge groups and all at once – the berries have to be picked quickly before they go bad and rot away on the forest floor. The berries can’t wait for slow paperwork. Because of this, for several years now we’ve had a special service for groups like berry pickers: we go the berry farms and put up a pop-up tax office!

In addition to our other tax services, we give lectures to immigrants, asylum seekers and university employees from abroad. You can find our teaching materials in English on our website, tax.fi.

But this is not enough!

We want to you to be able to take care of everything surrounding settling to our country in a one-stop shop. We have followed the example of some of the other European capitals, and just before Christmas we opened IHH – International House Helsinki.

IHH provides a wide range of information and public authority services to meet the needs of international newcomers in the Helsinki metropolitan area. IHH also offers free advisory and counselling services to employers on issues related to international workforce.

The service started out as a pilot, but is planned to be made permanent. In addition to us, participants in the pilot include Helsinki’s Immigration Information service, Southern Finland’s Register Office and TE-Services, Kela, Finnish Center for Pensions and Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce.

What do we offer at IHH?

Naturally, we provide information about taxation in Finland. You can also apply for a tax card at IHH, or a tax number if you happen to need one. You can read more here.

In the future, a service like this will hopefully no longer be needed – after all, our goal is to make taxation as automatic as possible. One major step towards this goal would be an international identification system, because right now one of the many challenges for people moving to Finland is to get Finnish online banking codes.

These personal codes are required for identification in almost every online service, and if you cannot access online services, taking care of official matters – such as taxation – gets even more complicated.

Twiit me @harrietmalleniu

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