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Finnish taxes on an inheritance that comes from a foreign country

If you inherit a sum of money, assets or property, you must submit a tax return and pay inheritance tax to Finland.

Your Finnish inheritance taxes depend on the countries of residence involved, i.e. the country where you live and the country where the deceased person lived. The following information on countries of residence is important:

  • The decedent’s country of residence at their date of death
  • Your country of residence at the decedent’s date of death, if you are an heir or an inheritor based on a will or testament

In general, after Finnish residents die, the assets and property left behind are inventoried and a deed is drawn up. In the case of a deceased person who was a tax resident of a foreign country, no deed of inventory of his or her estate is necessary for submittal to the Finnish Tax Administration.

However, for the needs of other public authorities of Finland, a deed of estate inventory may have to be written if there was any property located in Finland. Read more on heirs’ and inheritors’ rights under Finnish law

You live in Finland, the decedent lived in a foreign country

If you live in Finland and receive an inheritance from another country, you must pay inheritance tax to Finland. You must complete an inheritance tax return and send it to the Finnish Tax Administration. 

How to file the tax return on a foreign inheritance

See a specific illustration

Property is in Finland – neither you nor the decedent lived in Finland

If you live in a foreign country and you receive immovable property situated in Finland as an inheritance, you must pay inheritance tax to Finland, even if the decedent also lives in a foreign country. You must complete an inheritance tax return and send it to the Finnish Tax Administration.

How to file the tax return on a foreign inheritance

‘Immovable property’ refers to:

  • Various types of real estate such as a lot where a building can be constructed, summer cottages, other recreational property or residences, agricultural farms, forestry farms.
  • The stocks or shares of a corporate entity with a net worth of which more than 50% consists of immovable property in Finland – including shares in a housing company (asunto-osakeyhtiö; bostadsaktiebolag).

No inheritance tax return is necessary if the decedent lived in a foreign country, and you the inheritor also live in a country other than Finland, and the assets left behind contain no immovable property as described above.

Example: When Erkki died, he lived in Sweden. Salla, his daughter, lives there too. Kaisa, Erkki’s other daughter, lives in Finland. Erkki leaves behind an inheritance that consists of a house in Sweden and a summer cottage in Finland. Salla must only pay inheritance tax to Finland on the part located in Finland of her inheritance, that is, on the portion of the summer cottage that she inherited. Because Kaisa lives in Finland, she pays inheritance tax to Finland on all the property she inherits from Erkki.

You live outside Finland, the decedent lived in Finland

If someone dies who has lived in Finland and you receive some assets or property as an inheritance, you must pay Finnish inheritance tax even if you live elsewhere. 

Read more about Finnish tax rules regarding inheritance taxes

Example: Emil, the decedent, lived in Finland on his date of death. Emil’s only inheritor is Risto. He lives in Germany. Risto must pay Finnish inheritance tax on the entire inheritance. 

International treaties may affect your taxes

Finland has signed tax treaties governing inheritance tax with Denmark, Iceland, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States of America. The provisions of such a tax treaty can cause some exceptions to inheritance taxation.

Subject to certain preconditions, in case you already paid foreign inheritance tax to a foreign jurisdiction, you may be given credit for it when your Finnish inheritance taxes are assessed.

Read more about how to receive credit for tax paid to a foreign country

Pay the inheritance tax

After processing the deed of inventory or the tax return, the Finnish Tax Administration decides on the tax that must be paid on the inheritance. After the deed or the return arrives to the Tax Administration, you receive a decision on inheritance tax in 6 to 12 months.

The due dates and instructions for payment are provided in your tax decision and in MyTax. If you are a user of MyTax, you can find the decision on inheritance tax there. If you cannot sign in to MyTax, look up the information about your inheritance tax on the decision letter that you received by post. 

If your inheritance tax is less than €500, you must pay it on one single due date.

Use our calculator to make an estimate of your inheritance tax

Other taxes relating to property and assets

After you inherit immovable property – a summer cottage, etc. – you become liable to the taxes that are related to your ownership. This liability continues for as long as you remain the owner of that property. For example, owners of summer cottages must pay real estate tax every year. Read more about real estate tax

If you decide to sell your inherited property to someone and you make a profit on that sale, you may have to pay capital gains tax to Finland. Tax on the received capital gains must be paid to Finland if you live in Finland yourself or if the sold property is located in Finland. Read more about how taxes are imposed on capital gains

Further guidance on inheritance

The Finnish Tax Administration’s in-depth guidance on inheritance taxes (in Finnish and Swedish). We recommend that you read our guidance before sending your estate inventory deed or inheritance tax return. 

Page last updated 8/2/2022