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Selling shares

You do not need to pay tax for owning shares. You pay tax on shares when you sell them.

The same rules usually apply to the taxation of selling shares regardless of whether they are shares in a Finnish or foreign company or whether the trading takes place through a Finnish or foreign book-entry account. Whether the company is listed or non-listed does not affect taxation, either.

Sales can generate profit or loss

When you sell shares, you usually gain a sales profit, i.e. a capital gain, or incur a sales loss, i.e. a capital loss. When calculating the amount of profit or loss, deduct the following from the selling price of the shares:

The purchase price you paid for the shares and the transfer tax

The expenses incurred in making a profit, such as brokerage and handling fees.

If you have received the shares as a gift or an inheritance, you can deduct the taxable value used in the taxation of gifts or inheritance from the selling price. Read more on calculating profit and loss in the detailed tax instructions Arvopaperien luovutusten verotus’, section 4 ‘Luovutusvoiton ja -tappion laskeminen’ (in Finnish).

The deemed acquisition cost can be used instead of the purchase price and the expenses incurred in making a profit

When calculating the amount of profit or loss, you can deduct the deemed acquisition cost from the selling price of the shares, instead of deducting the purchase price of the shares as well as the expenses incurred in making a profit or the taxable value of gift and inheritance tax.

  • If you have owned the shares you sell for less than 10 years, the deemed acquisition cost is 20% of the selling price of the shares.
  • If you have owned the shares you sell for at least 10 years, the deemed acquisition cost is 40% of the selling price of the shares.

Read more about the deemed acquisition cost from the detailed tax instructions ‘Arvopaperien luovutusten verotus’, section 4.2.2 ‘Hankintameno-olettama ja omistusaika’ (in Finnish).

Please note that if you use the deemed acquisition cost, you cannot deduct the purchase price of the shares and the expenses incurred in making a profit from the selling price of the shares.

You have two options:
either the purchase price + expenses incurred in making a profit (or the taxable value)
or the deemed acquisition cost


Example: Antti purchased 1,000 shares in the company Yhtiö Oy in 1994. The purchase price of the shares was FIM 4 per share, or FIM 4,000 in total. Antti paid FIM 40 as a brokerage fee for purchasing the shares. This means that the acquisition price of the shares was FIM 4,040, or EUR 679.47.

Antti sold the shares in question in 2021. The selling price was EUR 2.50 per share, or EUR 2,500 in total. The selling expenses included in the expenses incurred in making a profit are EUR 25.
At the time of the sale, Antti had owned the shares in the company Yhtiö Oy for at least 10 years. This means that the deemed acquisition cost was 40% of the selling price, i.e. EUR 2,500 × 40% = EUR 1,000.

The amount deducted from the selling price based on the deemed acquisition cost (EUR 1,000) is higher than the total amount based on the actual purchase price and expenses incurred in making a profit (EUR 679.47 + EUR 25 = EUR 704.47). Therefore, it is better to calculate the sales profit in taxation by deducting the deemed acquisition cost from the selling price. In that case, the taxable sales profit is lower, i.e. EUR 1,500 (EUR 2,500 – EUR 1,000).

If Antti had only purchased the shares in 2013 and already sold them in 2021, he would have owned them for less than 10 years. In that case, the deemed acquisition cost would have been 20% of the selling price, that is, EUR 2,500 × 20% = EUR 500.

In this case, it would have been better with regard to Antti’s taxes if he had used the total amount of the actual purchase price and the expenses incurred in making a profit (EUR 704.47) instead of the deemed acquisition cost (EUR 500). After deducting it from the selling price, the taxable sales profit would have been lower: EUR 1,795.33 (EUR 2,500 – EUR 704.47).

Sales profit is normally taxable income

When you sell shares at a profit, you pay tax on the sales profit according to the capital gains tax rate.

Tax rate on capital income

Table of the tax rates on capital income
Up to €30,000 30 %
Over €30,000 34 %

How to pay taxes on the sales profit from shares

If, however, you have sold shares during the calendar year for a total of EUR 1,000 at maximum, you do not have to pay taxes on the sales profit. The sales price of EUR 1,000 includes all sales during the year, not just the sale of shares. Tax-exempt sales are not included.

Further information is available in the detailed tax instructions ‘Kokonaan tai osittain verovapaat myynnit’, Chapter 2.

The sales loss is deducted from your capital income

If you incur a loss due to the sale of shares, it is primarily deducted from the capital gains. If such gains do not exist, the deduction is made from all of your capital income. Sales losses incurred before 2016 are an exception. They are only deducted from your sales profits, not all of your capital income.

If you have no capital income or if said income is lower than the sales losses to be deducted, the deduction is transferred to the following 5 years.

Sales losses are not deducted at all, however, if the total purchase price of shares you have sold during a calendar year was EUR 1,000 at maximum.

Please also note that sales losses incurred due to shares do not affect the taxation of your earned income. This means that it does not entitle you to a credit for a deficit.

The FIFO principle applies to the sale of shares from securities accounts

The FIFO principle must always be applied to the sale of shares from securities accounts: First In – First Out. If you have shares in the same company that were purchased at different times, they are sold in the order of purchase – the oldest first.

The FIFO principle is securities account-specific, however. If you have shares of the same company in several electronic stock portfolios, you can sell shares from a newer portfolio before an old one, if you wish.

Read more about the FIFO principle in the detailed tax instructions ‘Arvopaperien luovutusten verotus’, section 21 ‘Arvopaperien luovutusjärjestys’ (in Finnish).

Check your pre-completed tax return

Check that the information on the sale of shares and on dividend revenue is shown correctly on the pre-completed tax return you receive in the spring.

If you have sold shares or other securities through a foreign remote intermediary, also report the profit or loss from these transactions.

How to report information on your investments

Frequently asked questions

The final liquidations were completed regarding the bankruptcy estates of GeoSentric Plc and FIT Biotech Plc during 2021. The attorney in charge of Mash Group’s bankruptcy has communicated in 2021 that no distributions will be paid to former shareholders.  If you owned shares of the above companies, you can enter the deductible losses in your 2021 pre-completed tax return.

Capital loss is in this case equal to the amounts of money that you paid when you bought the shares. The calculation of your capital loss includes any expenses you paid in connection with the purchase, i.e. brokerage fees and the like.  Some shareholders received their shares in the above companies as an inheritance or gift. If you are among them, your capital loss is equal to the shares’ confirmed tax values in inheritance taxation or gift taxation.

How to claim the deductible capital loss on your tax return

For many individual taxpayers who held shares in the above companies, the Tax Administration has already calculated the deductible capital loss, so it appears on the pre-completed tax return’s Profit from selling securities line. For others, the pre-completed tax returns only show the selling price. Still other previous shareholders of the above companies have no pre-filled information at all on their pre-completed tax returns.

  • If the capital loss is already calculated on your tax return, please check the relevant amounts. Because of the bankruptcy, the pre-filled information shows “€0” as the selling price. Check the pre-filled purchase prices and expenses related to the purchase of shares. If necessary, make corrections.
  • If the only amount appearing on your tax return is the selling price (€0), you must enter the purchase price amount and the expenses connected to the purchase into the appropriate fields in MyTax.
  • If nothing appears on your tax return regarding your shareholding in the two bankrupt companies discussed here, you must enter your shares’ purchase price, the expenses connected to the purchase, and the selling price (€0) into the appropriate fields in MyTax.
  • If you cannot log in to MyTax to enter the information, complete and submit Form 9A – Capital gains and capital losses from trading with securities.

For instructions, click Pre-completed tax return – how to file in MyTax or on paper and see the guidance in section Profits from selling securities.

In 2020, the company called Spa Holdings 3 Oy made a general bid to all shareholders in order to buy all shares in Ahlstrom-Munksjö. By 23 June 2021 there were small holdings still remaining in the shareholders’ hands who did not accept the bid. These holdings of Ahlstrom-Munksjö were redeemed, and for tax purposes, the shareholders who had them are regarded as having transferred them away during the 2021 tax year.

According to the ruling of the Court of Arbitration dated 1 March 2022, the redemption price was €21.55 per share. However, an appeal against the Court’s ruling is pending, and the final outcome is still unclear. For this reason, the tax assessment for 2021 will be based on €17.84 per share instead of the above, because €17.84 had been the original bidded price for these shares. If after the appeal, the final redemption price turns out to be higher than €17.84, the difference will be treated as income subject to tax in the ex-shareholder’s hands; either for the tax year when he or she receives payment, or for the tax year when payment is ready to be made.

On these individuals’ pre-completed tax returns, the price to redeem Ahlstrom-Munksjö shares is pre-filled as €17.84 per share. For some of the shareholders, no data appears on the Ahlstrom-Munksjö shares.

If the above concerns you, you must inform the Tax Administration of any capital gain or loss resulting from the redemption. Do this on your income tax return for 2021, even if no payment of the redeemed shares has arrived to you yet.

  • If your pre-completed tax return shows €17.84 per share as the redemption price, you should check whether the pre-completed tax return also shows the right purchase price. If the purchase price is wrong, or if no price appears on your pre-completed tax return, log in to MyTax to make corrections.

  • If no information at all appears on your pre-completed tax return regarding the Ahlstrom-Munksjö company’s redeemed shares, you should enter €17.84 per share as their selling price, i.e., redemption price. Enter 23 June 2021 as the date of the transfer. Also fill in the date when you had bought your Ahlstrom-Munksjö shares, their purchase price, and expenses connected to the purchase.

  • If you cannot log in to MyTax to enter the information, complete and submit Form 9A – Capital gains and capital losses from trading with securities.

Changes were made to this page on 17 May 2022.