Business community opposes public corporate taxation lists
Danish model shunned by Finnish corporations
Representatives of the Finnish business community are opposed to suggestions that companies’ tax information should be public information as it is in Denmark.
Denmark is establishing a register later this year, listing the taxes paid by companies. The figures are to be published on the web site of the Danish tax authority.
Each autumn the personal income tax information of Finnish private citizens is made public. Jussi Järventaus, managing director of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, does not feel that similar information should be made public about enterprises.
“The results of companies can fluctuate considerably year by year. That is why investigating taxes, and especially corporate taxes, can give the wrong impression about the social responsibility carried by a company, and about its capacity to pay taxes.”
Commercial enterprises in Finland pay a corporate tax of 24.5 per cent on their profit.
Järventaus feels that the risk of drawing the wrong conclusions from information in the lists is too great; a company could be labelled a tax cheat too easily.
He adds that if there were a good analysis of the data published alongside the numbers, the matter would be different.
Corporate tax information is public information in Finland, but there are restrictions on studying them. All citizens have the right to ask for the basic tax information of individual companies. Tax authorities will release large amounts of information at a time only to the media.
Finnish Family Firms Association chairman Matti Vanhanen said that he does not want “gossip lists” – long lists of corporate taxes paid by companies, without sufficient background information.
“The information value of something like that is zero. The corporate tax on its own does not reveal anything. If a company’s result is poor, the company does not pay corporate tax.”
Vanhanen says that it would be all right to disclose a company’s “overall tax level”, in which he would include all tax-like payments that a company makes, such as VAT, and income taxes withheld from wages paid to personnel.