Companies active in the financial sector and their fiscal responsibilities
In general, account operators, intermediaries, custodians, security brokers, insurance companies and investment-service firms are examples of financial sector operators.
The tax aspects affecting the work of the operators are different depending on the circumstances at hand.
FATCA, CRS and DAC2
In connection with the reporting rules under the FATCA, CRS and DAC2 regulations, specific definitions of ‘financial sector operators’ are in use. Read more about how financial sector operators are defined under FATCA, CRS/DAC2.
From the perspective of value-added taxes, the financial sector is represented by companies like banks, insurance companies and financial service firms that conduct business including VAT-free financial services. In accordance with the provisions of § 42 of the VAT Act, no value-added tax needs to be paid on the sale of those financial services.
In addition to banks, insurance companies and others listed above, certain other operators provide VAT-free financial services, as well. For example, in some circumstances, companies other than insurance companies may have the fiscal responsibility for paying the tax on insurance premiums.
All parties fulfilling the role of an account operator are deemed companies active in the financial sector. Account operators carry out different forms of tax withholding, including withholding taxation and tax at source – which they handle on the dividend-distributing company’s behalf. The amounts on which taxes are withheld include dividends, interest, and certain indemnity payments related to insurance contracts. Companies active in the financial sector must submit annual information returns to the Tax Administration giving details on all the outbound payments they have made or transferred on the behalf of others. This information is utilised in taxation as well as international exchange of information. However, under Finnish tax legislation, operators of accounts have no direct fiscal liability.
Companies in the financial sector can under some circumstances have the obligation to withhold taxes when they conduct their intermediary business, transferring amounts of money to various beneficiaries. This obligation is based on § 9, subsection 4 of the Prepayment Act: credit institutions and financial institutions, other parties engaging in professional trading in securities or in securities intermediation, and branch offices in Finland of foreign credit institutions must withhold tax on interest or secondary-market payments, subject to the Prepayment Act’s provisions, that they make in their role as an intermediary.
In addition to the above, the authorised intermediaries that have a registration in the Tax Administration’s register are deemed as operators in the financial sector. Authorised intermediaries are required to provide information to the Tax Administration on the dividends they have paid or transferred by way of intermediation if the payor is a stock-exchange-listed company and if the underlying stocks are nominee-registered. Read more about the legal responsibilities of authorised intermediaries.
Financial sector operators often pay out amounts of money to their customers or to other relevant parties for reasons directly linked to their proprietary business activities within the sector; the paid amounts include dividends, interest payments and insurance indemnities. Various sets of financial products and services are an important part of the business activities. The operators within the financial sector need to conduct their business in such a way that relevant tax obligations are fulfilled, including withholding taxation and annual information reporting.
When the operator companies are in the role of employers, the usual obligations of an employer will apply. Read more about employer obligations.
Actors in the financial sector submit a number of annual information returns related to preassessment, including the following:
- Annual Information Return concerning Interest calling for Taxation at Source (VSKTVYSL)
- Annual information return on dividends, Summary section and Itemization section (VSOSYHTV and VSOSERIT)
- Annual Information Return concerning Refunds of capital (VSPAOPAL)
- Annual information return for payments made to nonresidents
- Annual information return on dividends paid to nonresident beneficiaries (VSROSERI)
- Annual information return on interest payments, made to nonresident beneficiaries (VSRKOERI)
- Annual information return on other payments made to nonresident beneficiaries (VSRMUERI)
- Authorised Intermediary’s annual information return (WRP101)
- Annual information return on dividends paid to nonresidents by a listed company (WRP102)
- Annual Information Return concerning Payments governed by Income Tax Act (VSTVERIE)
- Payments for voluntary pension insurance and restricted long-term saving (PS-saving) (VSELVAKE)
The information-reporting requirements of other parties
The information returns listed below are examples of the third-party data that companies of the financial sector must send to the Tax Administration. Read more about submittal of third-party information
- Annual information return on purchases and sales of securities and derivatives (VSAPUUSE)
- Insurance payments made to private and agricultural traders (VSVMAKSE)
- Annual information return on lending and on received interest (VSLAINAE)
- Annual information on return on asset management fees (VSOMHOIE)
- Annual information return submitted by insurance companies and 'PS' service providers on premiums of individuals' voluntary pension insurance contracts and deposits to individual retirement accounts (VSELVAKE)
- Annual information return on equity savings accounts (VSOSAKET)
- Annual information return on transferred foreign dividends (VSULKOSE)