Finland is a Nordic country located in northern Europe. It borders Sweden, Norway and Russia, and its capital is Helsinki. Finland is characterised by long, cold winters and short, mild summers.
Finnish culture is a combination of indigenous heritage, which is reflected in the country’s Nordic and European cultural aspects. The official language spoken is Finnish, spoken by 93% of the country’s five million inhabitants, though around 6% of the population speak Swedish. English is quite widely spoken, though not as much as in the other Scandinavian countries.
Finland is regarded as one of the happiest and safest countries in the world, while Finnish people are described as warm, open, honest and hard-working. Most notably, their ability to navigate between tradition and modernity is what sets them apart, making them excellent entrepreneurs. The Finnish concept of “sisu” roughly translates to perseverance, resilience and determination, as well as a “get the job done, no matter what” philosophy. They believe that everything should be done with integrity, courage, strength and passion.
Finnish art, tech and design are world-renowned. From famous architecture to innovations in fashion and furniture design, Finland is certainly considered a trailblazer. It adopts some of the most cutting-edge technology, and has an exceptional education system.
Finland has been a member of the European Union since 1995, and uses the euro as its currency. The country boasts a booming, free-market economy that is highly industrialised. The Finnish central bank continues to forecast notable growth in GDP, while the region is renowned for its innovation and intelligent use of human resources.
Working culture in Finland is punctual yet relaxed, while conditions for workers are extremely favourable. While the Finnish are hyper-connected and hard-working, there is also an emphasis on recharging and disconnecting in nature.
Finland is an extremely popular location for international contractors. The country has significant skills shortages, particularly in tech, artificial intelligence, data analytics and digitalisation. As such, there are numerous opportunities available for self-employed contractors seeking working opportunities in Finland.
As a member of the European Union, individuals from the EU, as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, do not need a residence permit to live or work in Finland. That being said, you must register with the police within three months of your arrival. If you are a non EU/EEA national and want to work in Finland for longer than 90 days, then you need to apply for a residence permit prior to your arrival in the country.
If you intend to work in Finland as a self-employed contractor or freelancer then you must apply for a residence permit. The residence permit you apply for depends on your competence and the type of work you will be doing in Finland. Applications must be submitted to the Finnish Embassy or Consulate in your country of origin. You can also complete your application online via the Finnish immigration Service.
Income tax in Finland is charged by a progressive state tax ranging from 6.5% to 31.75%. Proportional communal taxes must also be paid to municipalities, ranging from 16.5% to 22.5% with an average of 19.17%. Permanent residents must pay health insurance contributions, medical care fees and daily allowance contributions. An earned income tax credit is applied for local taxes, making them slightly progressive in spite of their fixed rate. Self-employed contractors are subject to social security payments levied at 23% of their taxable income.
The Finnish state income tax brackets as of 2020 are:
- EUR 0 – 18,000: 0%
- EUR 18,100 – 27,200: 6%
- EUR 27,200 – 44,800: 17.25%
- EUR 44,800 – 78,500: 21.25%
- EUR 78,500+: 31.25%
There are several things contractors and self-employed professionals need to be aware of when it comes to Finland’s tax system. As such, it is worth getting advice from specialists at Chesterfield to determine exactly what steps are required.
Finland enjoys one of the most advanced and comprehensive welfare systems in the world designed to ensure dignity and decent living conditions for all Finns. Social insurance is core to the system, and is divided into residence-based social security, employment-based and earnings-related social security.
If you are contracting in Finland for at least two years, you are entitled to social security benefits. There are also a number of special regulations in accordance with where you should have your social security insurances. These depend on your unique circumstances and will be determined by the Finnish Centre for Pensions (FCP/ETK) in Finland, or the social security authorities in the country where you work.
The Finnish labour market continues to get stronger year after year, and in 2019 there were 10,000 more people in employment in the country compared with the previous year.
Finland offers a wealth of opportunities to contractors and self-employed professionals thanks to a large generation gap. The country is considered a breeding ground for innovation, and is known for its technological advancements and outstanding education system. For this reason, many contractors flock to Finland seeking positive freelance opportunities.
As previously mentioned, self-employed EU nationals working in Finland do not need a work permit. However, you will need a fixed address in the country in order to register with the local Maistraatti office, which you must do within a week of your arrival. There, you will be issued with a Finnish social security and tax number. Once your placement terminates, you will need to de-register via a letter to local authorities.
Finland has a great deal of appeal with more and more freelancers and contractors being drawn to the country. There are many local, Nordic and international banks to choose from; the most popular are Nordea Bank, OP Group, Dankse Bank and Aktia Savings Bank.
Non-residents of Finland can open a bank account and the process is quick and easy to complete. However, it can be difficult to do so online and you’ll need to visit a branch in person to open an account. It’s advised to make an appointment, and while almost all personnel speak English, we recommend you request an English-speaking assistant to ensure someone is available to help you when you go.
To open your account, you will need:
- Other government-issued photo ID
- Proof of Address
- Personal ID number, if you have one
- Residence permit or proof of visa
When you first arrive you’ll be provided with a basic bank account, however after you’ve been living in the country for three months, you’ll be entitled to a fully functional bank account. The account will incur some regular fees, including monthly maintenance fees, as well as fees for international transfers.
Chesterfield offers Finnish self-employed solutions and Finnish employed solutions. Our local Finnish accountant can assist you with all of your Finnish payroll aspects, whether you are employed or self-employed in Finland.
At Chesterfield, we also assist with all registration and criteria requirements. Our services include local tax, accounting, corporate structures, invoice structuring (as per your specific needs), contract management solutions in Finland and much more.
Chesterfield and Finland Contracting
With a booming economy and high quality of life, Finland is becoming an increasingly attractive location for self-employed contractors and freelancers. Export growth has accelerated in recent years, while private investment has significantly spurred growth.
At Chesterfield, we work with a number of international contractors to provide solutions in a range of European countries, including Finnish freelancer services and Finnish employer of record. We are therefore ideally experienced and situated to assist you with all aspects of your contract. We pride ourselves on our fully customised services, all of which are tailored to your unique needs and requirements.