Finland Times

Tuesday, 18 January, 2022
Home BUSINESSPublication of tax bills ensures transparency
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Sun, 06 Nov, 2016 02:34:24 AM
People express mixed reaction
FTimes-Xinhua Report, Nov 6

People in Finland have renewed a debate regarding the country's annual practice of making public individuals' earnings and tax bill, after the 2015 report was released earlier this week.

Many Finns have hailed the system as an important measure to enhance social transparency, while some international experts working in the country have complained about lack of privacy and inconvenience.

Juho Saari, professor of social policy and health at Tampere University, believes the publication of wealth and earnings maintains trust between various social groups.

Saari said the Finnish political elite is usually not very affluent and the fact that their income is published indicates that the society functions.

He also said the system sometimes offers small shareholders of a company a more credible source to check its compensation systems than through company publications.

According to the 2015 taxation report, Oulu-based businessman Juha Hulkko was the top earner in Finland in the year. He made 45.6 million euros(50.79 million U.S. dollars) after selling his holdings in Elektrobit company. The former CEO of Nokia Jorma Ollila came second with 45.2 million euros, and Mikko Kodisoja, one of the founders of game company Supercell, came third with 34.5 million euros.

The wealthiest person in Finland is Antti Herlin, the main owner of Kone Corporation, but the taxation information released indicate 146 Finns made more money than him last year.

The average annual income in Finland in 2015 was 41,000 euros, according to the report.

Some Finns also believe the release of transparent information on tax is conducive to the construction of the Finnish welfare society.

Teemu Lehtinen, the director of the Finnish Association of Tax Payers, said that when the general public sees a man who has made 45 million euros through selling his business paid 15 million euros in tax, they will conclude that the system of welfare functions well.

However, transparency of earnings also concerns some foreign employees, who could keep their income a private matter in their home countries. Highly paid international experts have at times found the system inconvenient.

Newspaper Lapin Kansa notes taxation and income information is not made public in most western countries. In an editorial, the newspaper said income and taxation information is preferred to be kept private in Germany and only decision makers were required to disclose such information.

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