Thematic exhibition 2016–17: The most hated tax?

Finnish Customs and the import of cars The first car was cleared through customs in Finland in 1900, in Turku. Not long after that, the import taxation of cars became very complicated, and it has remained that way through the decades. During the war and for a long time after, the import of cars was strictly regulated, which didn’t make things any easier. In 1958, a special tax for cars was introduced, a tax which Finnish Customs levied upon import. Since then, the levying of the much-disputed car tax was one of Customs’ tasks. In 2017, the car taxation was transferred from Finnish Customs to the Finnish Tax Administration.

The exhibition also shows how inventively the licence requirement and the car tax have been evaded over the years. Delivery vans, which were exempt from car tax, were popular in the 1960s. Even a station wagon could be registered as a delivery van, if its rear windows were covered from the sides and it had makeshift seats. No car tax was levied on spare parts, so there were attempts to import cars dismantled into parts in order to reassemble them in Finland. In the 1980s, it paid off to import a little-used crashed car because of the lower car tax. A lot of cars have also been imported as removal goods; for many people a tax-exempt car has been the main reason for their stay abroad.

On display are also exhibits from the collections of Uusikaupunki car musem and Mobilia.