Finnish Postponed Import VAT Accounting

As from last January, import VAT in Finland is reverse charged in the VAT return instead of being pre-paid at Customs.

As a general rule, most countries require VAT to be paid at Customs before goods coming from a non-EU country that qualifies as imports enter the EU territory. This VAT will be paid together with customs duties and tariffs, which are not deductible. Once the importer submits the VAT return, import VAT would be deducted and only when the amount is transferred to the taxpayer´s bank account (in case of a repayable position), the import VAT will be effectively recovered. With the new rules in Finland the VAT recovery changes significantly: the import VAT will be automatically paid and deducted at the same time in the VAT return, with the corresponding nil effect unless the taxpayer is not fully entitled to deduct VAT.

In practice, these changes mean that management of import VAT will move from Customs Administration to the Finnish Tax Administration. Also, the VAT return form has been updated to include boxes that reflect these changes.

Where the importer is not registered for VAT, import VAT will still be paid at customs.

The Finnish tax authorities published these changes on their website. They also provided the public with the detailed information about VAT procedure for importation.


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