Tax-free sales to travellers
Tax-free traveller sales are supervised by the Finnish Tax Administration.
The Tax Administration has drafted instructions to traders, who in Finland sell goods to residents outside the EU, to travellers who visit Finland and to Finnish citizens living outside the EU.
Points to consider
The Tax Administration gives instructions and advice on tax-free sales to travellers. According to the bulletin “Tax-free sales to travellers - Guidance for retailers” released by the Tax Administration, sales to travellers comprise sales of goods to travellers who live and stay continuously outside the EU or outside Norway and who buy goods in Finland and export the goods as unused from Finland in their personal luggage.
A person who resides in Finland with a residence permit is not allowed to buy tax-free goods, even if their permanent place of residence is outside the EU. During the last two weeks, though, before the residence permit runs out, such a person is allowed to buy tax-free products. Correspondingly, a Finnish citizen, who moves to a territory outside the EU or Norway for a period of at least six months, has the right to make tax-free purchases during the last two weeks prior to the move.
The traveller pays value added tax at the time of purchase, but gets a partial or total refund upon later presenting an account on the goods having been taken out of the EU territory. Acquaint yourself with the Tax Administration’s instructions and how to apply for a tax refund: Tax-free sales to travellers in Finland
If you have questions regarding tax-free sales to travellers, contact the Tax Administration.
Finnish Customs certifies the exit of goods on the customer’s request by stamping the sales invoice at the customs office of exit. An electronic customs declaration is not required for tax-free exports.
- if you have not followed all of the regulations by the Tax Administration, Customs may stamp the invoice with a red stamp
- if the goods and the traveller have already left the EU territory, Customs cannot stamp the sales invoice retrospectively.
Customs does not return value added tax paid by travellers.
An export declaration is lodged in the following situations:
- A foreign entrepreneur picks up the goods personally (Ex Works) and takes them immediately outside the EU. The retailer lodges an export declaration in their own name. The sales are exempt from tax for the company in question.
- A traveller (not an entrepreneur) buys the goods, and the retailer delivers the goods to the buyer either personally or through a transport company so that the goods are given to the recipient only at the Finnish border. The retailer lodges a customs declaration in their own name, and the goods delivered to a traveller can be sold as exempt from tax under this arrangement.
- The retailer can lodge an export declaration in the traveller’s name and hand over the goods normally in connection with the sale. In these cases, sales are subject to tax. The buyer is declared as the exporter, and the retailer who submits the export declaration is declared as the agent. This arrangement involves tax-free passenger sales, which means that the retailer must also comply with the regulations issued by the Tax Administration. Both the sales voucher and the export declaration must be presented to Customs at the place of exit.
- If Customs at the customs office of exit finds that a traveller has actually bought goods for commercial purposes, the traveller can be required to lodge an export declaration stating the traveller as the exporter.
Tax-free sales to travellers are supervised by the Finnish Tax Administration. According to the bulletin ‘Tax-free sales to travellers - Guidance for retailers’ released by the Tax Administration, sales to travellers comprise sales of goods to travellers who reside continuously outside the EU or outside Norway and who buy goods in Finland and export the goods as unused from Finland in their personal luggage.
There are no value limits in tax-free sales to travellers except for the minimum value of 40 euros. A buyer pays value added tax at the time of purchase, but gets a partial or total refund upon later presenting an account in accordance with section 8 in the value added tax act (a verification stamped by Customs or an invoice by a refund company) on the goods having been taken out of the EU territory.
The bulletin ‘Tax-free sales to travellers - Guidance for retailers’ is available on the Tax Administration’s website www.vero.fi