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VAT reform affects the Åland Islands as well – here is how you can prepare for the reform that takes effect on 1 July 2021

11.6.2021 10.00 | Published in English on 21.6.2021 at 12.26
Press release

In addition to goods delivered to the Åland Islands from outside the EU and from EU member states, the EU-wide value addex tax reform affects also shipments between the Åland Islands and the rest of Finland as of 1 July 2021. It pays to prepare for the reform in good time – read the Customs checklist for the right steps. As for the rest of Finland, the previously published Customs bulletin contains information on general changes resulting from the reform.

The Åland Islands comprise one of the EU special fiscal territories, which is why goods delivered to the Åland Islands from the rest of Finland and from other EU member states must be declared as prescribed by law. However, this does not apply to consignments of a maximum value of 22 euros which, due to their low value, are in practice exempt from tax. 

Supplies of goods to consignees will change in the Åland Islands as of 1 July 2021 as, in the future, even purchases of low value from outside the EU, the rest of Finland, and other EU countries must be declared and are subject to value added tax. This reform affects the entire territory of the EU. In spring this year, the Parliament of Finland confirmed legal amendments for implementing the reform.

Checklist for smooth shopping

  1. When you order goods to the Åland Islands from elsewhere in Finland, check the seller’s tax border number.
    • When the seller has a tax border number and VAT is included in the selling price of the goods, you do not need to declare the goods or pay VAT. Instead, your parcel will be delivered to you as before. When a seller has a tax border number, they see to the payment of customs duty to Customs. 
    • If the seller does not have a tax border number, the goods must be declared and VAT must be paid in connection with customs clearance. This is the procedure regardless of whether the seller has included VAT in the purchase price or not. You can see to customs clearance personally in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, or you can use a representative.
  2. When you order goods to the Åland Islands from elsewhere in the EU, for example Sweden: remember that, as of the start of July, even small consignments worth no more than 22 euros must be declared and VAT must be paid for them. 
  3. When you order goods to the Åland Islands from outside the EU: check if you are paying VAT already at the time of purchase. If the seller is registered with the joint EU value added taxation scheme (IOSS), you will pay VAT already when you make your purchase in the online shop. This is possible with purchases of a maximum value of 150 euros. You must declare your consignment also in this case. You should check with the transport company if they will see to customs clearance for you, or if you should do it yourself. You can assess your tax and possible customs payments in advance with our Customs Duty Calculator.
  4. Note changes to subscriptions of magazines to the Åland Islands 
    • If a magazine arrives from elsewhere in Finland and the sending company has a tax border number, you do not need to do anything. The company that sends the magazine sees to the required customs declarations. If the submitting company does not have a tax border number, the subscriber must clear the consignment. However, we are still trying to find solutions to make this process easier. Customs will provide instructions on this matter as soon as possible.
    • If a magazine arrives from another EU country such as Sweden, customs clearance is the subscriber’s responsibility also in this case. We are looking into facilitated procedures also in this respect as soon as possible.
    • If a magazine arrives as a postal delivery from outside the EU, you should be prepared to take care of customs clearance and pay VAT for each magazine after the transport company has sent you a notice of arrival. If VAT has been already in connection with the subscription, the sender of the magazine can see to customs clearance on your behalf, in which case the magazine will be delivered to you directly.
    • Our previous bulletin contains information on how the reform affects the customs clearance of magazines (tähän linkki lehtitiedotteeseen).
  5. Receiving a gift to the Åland Islands? Also in the future, gift consignments sent by private persons from elsewhere in Finland or from other EU countries will, as a rule, be exempt from tax for parcels of a maximum value of 45 euros. See detailed conditions at the Tulli.fi website.
  6. Be prepared now; the date of arrival is essential. All goods delivered from outside the EU, from elsewhere in Finland and from other EU countries must be declared and VAT must be paid for them if they are delivered on 1 July 2021 or after that date. The date when the goods were ordered is not significant in this respect.

– The legal amendment means a significant increase in the volume of consignments to be declared, and our customers will also need to make advance preparations. At Customs, we are prepared for the reform in many ways in cooperation with other operators. We aim to make customs clearance as smooth as possible also in the future. However, it is worthwhile to be prepared for the possibility of backlogs in deliveries of goods, says senior customs officer Sture Skinnar.

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