Finland | 2019 Changes to VAT Law Include Cutting VAT on Digital Publications

Newly enacted legislation has amended the Finnish VAT law as set out below.

From 1st January 2019 new rules came into effect under recently implemented EU Directives

  • The Vouchers Directive (Council Directive (EU) 2016/1065) introduces rules for the harmonised VAT treatment of vouchers (coupons) in the EU; and
  • EU Directive 2017/2455 provides for EU-wide simplification rulesfor companies carrying out cross-border business-to-consumer sales of electronic services

From 1st April 2019 public performance artists may recover input VAT

Recent changes to Finnish VAT legislation provide that as of 1st April 2019, performing artists, other public performers, athletes and their agents may choose to be taxed for VAT on the activities listed below.  If they decide to exercise this option, the supplies will be taxed at the reduced 10% VAT rate.

  • Their performance fees;
  • Copyright transfers for audio and visual recordings of their performances, as well as payments for the transfers; and
  • Sales of the performances to event organisers.

Under the current VAT rules, such supplies are exempt from VAT meaning that the associated input VAT cannot be recovered. The benefit of the new law is that it allows performers and their agents to reclaim these costs.

From 1st July 2019 VAT cut on digital publications

Certain digital publications will be taxed for VAT purposes at the same reduced 10% VAT rate which applies to their printed equivalents.  The Finish reduced rate will apply to:

  • Electronic books, newspapers and magazines; and
  • Sales of individual printed magazines.

Currently, these supplies are subject to VAT at the standard 24% rate.

The scope of the reduced rate excludes publications wholly or predominantly devoted to advertising, or wholly or predominantly consisting of video or music content.

If you would like further advice on how the above developments might impact your business, please do get in touch with us.