The Incomes Register’s data flow doubled in 2021

3/17/2022

A total of 50 million earnings payment reports, two million employer’s separate reports and 65 million benefits payment reports were submitted to the Incomes Register last year.

The volume of earnings payment data was roughly the same in as in the previous year. Of all submitters of earnings payment data, 92.5% acted within the five-day deadline. Earnings payment data was reported by 250,000 different payers. Punctuality improved from the year before: in 2020, 89% of all earnings payment reports were submitted by the deadline.

The year 2021 marked the first year when benefits and pensions were reported to the Incomes Register in addition to earnings. Regarding pensions and benefits, 99.5% of all reports were submitted on time. Benefits were reported by nearly 400 different payers.

‒ The addition of benefits and pensions more than doubled the total number of reports. We are particularly happy about the punctuality of reporting, says Terhi Holmström, Head of the Incomes Register Unit.

Data was used broadly in decision making by different authorities

In 2021, income data was distributed more than 800 million times through interfaces to 380 data users with data access rights. Pension and benefit data especially increased the volume of data distributed. At the same time, the National Enforcement Authority of Finland and a number of authorities based in the Åland Islands joined the group of data users.

In 2020, data was distributed 570 million times, while the corresponding figure was 270 million in 2019, the first operating year of the Incomes Register. The significant difference between the first and second operating years was caused by a large number of new data users starting to use the Incomes Register in 2020, including municipalities and joint municipal authorities, Statistics Finland, unemployment funds and non-life insurance providers.

The goal is to produce even more benefits from the data collected in the Incomes Register by expanding the group of data users.

‒ For society, it is important that the Incomes Register’s data is used as broadly as possible. It is not enough that up-to-date data is available in a single place. Instead, stakeholders must also be committed to developing their processes to use real-time data, Holmström says.

Each authority’s or other parties's right to use the Incomes Register’s data is always based on the law. Often, starting to use the data requires amendments to the valid legislation. It will always be assessed separately what data each user needs in their customer processes and to what extent.

Before the use of the Incomes Register’s data can be started, the Incomes Register must carry out the specifications, tests and production preparations required with each new organisation about to start using the data. In addition, each data user needs time to modify their own processes. This is why the addition of each data user to the Incomes Register often takes a long time.

The Incomes Register was developed on the basis of feedback

The National Audit Office of Finland’s (NAOF) report on the preparation of the Incomes Register and its deployment in 2019 was published in the spring of 2021. The report focused on the administrative burden of reporting earnings payment data and the quality of the data saved in the Incomes Register.

The report mentioned correcting earnings payment data as one cause of the administrative burden. The Incomes Register investigated the situation involving corrections in more detail last year. On the basis of the investigation, the majority of earnings payment reports are submitted correctly and no corrections are necessary. Instead, there was room for improvement in the smooth flow of the correction process. For example, correcting earnings payment data directly in the payroll software through interfaces is not used as broadly as the reporting of earnings payment data. To address this, the Incomes Register aims to intensify collaboration with software companies. In addition, the Incomes Register also continues to clarify its error messages and add more instructions for reporting, especially in situations found to be difficult, such as correcting overpayments.

In addition to corrections, situations involving substitute payers were also investigated together with customers. Considering the reporting of earnings payment data as a whole, these situations are rare: in 2020, they only accounted for 0.6% of all earnings payment reports. In substitute payer situations, both the substitute payer and the actual employer submit a report related to earnings payments. On the basis of the investigation, the Incomes Register will add more guidance on reporting situations subject to interpretation and especially regarding overpayments. In addition, the Incomes Register will, from now on, send a reminder to the actual employer in substitute payer situations if the actual employer has not submitted its report.

The modifications implemented through small-scale development last year also aimed to ease the administrative burden of reporting. The modifications focused on functions that guide payers to report data correctly to the Incomes Register. These included the development of reports, the updated web forms in the e-service and the changes made in the processing rules for recovery.

Furthermore, the operating procedures applied to customer cooperation were developed last year. The Incomes Register’s stakeholder field was divided into customer groups. The aim is to provide each customer group with even more support in typical reporting situations.

What will happen in the Incomes Register in 2022?

This year, the preparations related to the wellbeing services counties and the family leave reform will outline our activities. With regard to development, we will focus on the mandatory changes required by law. We will also prepare for the entry of new data users. Read more about our plans for 2022 (in Finnish).

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