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Finland – Self-Employment

Finland is a country known for its innovation and technology, making it an attractive destination for expats looking to start their own businesses or work as self-employed individuals. In this article, we will explore how self-employment works for expats in Finland, how to register as self-employed, the possibility of working as a digital nomad, how to start a company, and whether there are any incentives or programs to encourage expats to become self-employed or set up a company in Finland.

How Self-Employment Works for Expats in Finland

Self-employment is a common option for expats in Finland, and there are no specific requirements or restrictions on foreign nationals registering as self-employed. Self-employed individuals in Finland are required to register with the Finnish Tax Administration and pay taxes on their income.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Register as Self-Employed in Finland

The process of registering as self-employed in Finland is relatively straightforward and can be done online. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose your legal structure: Before registering as self-employed, you need to decide on your legal structure. The most common option for self-employed individuals in Finland is sole proprietorship (toiminimi).

  2. Obtain a Business ID: All self-employed individuals in Finland are required to have a Business ID. You can obtain a Business ID by registering with the Finnish Trade Register.

  3. Register with the Finnish Tax Administration: All self-employed individuals are required to register with the Finnish Tax Administration. You can do this online through their website.

  4. Register for VAT: Once registered, self-employed individuals are required to register for Value-Added Tax (VAT) if their annual turnover exceeds a certain threshold. You can do this online through the Finnish Tax Administration website.

  5. Obtain any necessary permits and licenses: Depending on your business, you may need to obtain additional permits or licenses. This will vary depending on the type of business you are starting and the location.

Can You Work as a Digital Nomad in Finland?

Yes, it is possible to work as a digital nomad in Finland. The country has a strong digital infrastructure, with high-speed internet widely available, making it an ideal location for remote workers. Additionally, Finland offers a digital nomad visa, which allows remote workers to stay in the country for up to 90 days.

How to Start a Company in Finland

Starting a company in Finland is relatively straightforward, and the country has a reputation for being a friendly environment for entrepreneurs. There are several legal structures you can choose from, including a limited liability company (Oy), a public limited company (Osakeyhtiö), or a partnership.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Set Up a Company in Finland

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up a company in Finland:


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  1. Choose your legal structure: As mentioned, you will need to decide on your legal structure before setting up your company. This will depend on various factors, such as the number of shareholders, liability, and taxation.

  2. Obtain a Business ID: All company founders are required to have a Business ID. You can obtain a Business ID by registering with the Finnish Trade Register.

  3. Register with the Finnish Trade Register: All companies in Finland are required to register with the Finnish Trade Register. You can do this online through the Finnish Patent and Registration Office website.

  4. Obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN): All companies are required to have a Tax Identification Number (TIN). You can obtain a TIN by registering with the Finnish Tax Administration.

  5. Open a bank account: Once you have obtained your TIN, you will need to open a bank account for your company. This will be used to deposit and withdraw funds related to your business.

  6. Register for VAT: All companies in Finland are required to register for VAT if their annual turnover exceeds a certain threshold. You can do this online through the Finnish Tax Administration website.

  7. Obtain any necessary permits and licenses: Depending on your business, you may need to obtain additional permits or licenses. This will vary depending on the type of business you are starting and the location.

Incentives or Programs to Encourage Expats to Become Self-Employed or Set Up a Company in Finland

Finland has several programs and incentives designed to encourage entrepreneurship and foreign investment in the country. Here are some of the most notable:

  1. Start-up permit: Finland offers a start-up permit for non-EU nationals who want to start a business in the country. The permit allows you to stay in Finland for up to two years while you develop your business idea. You must have a business plan and funding of at least ‚€30,000 to be eligible.

  2. Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra): Sitra is a government-owned fund that invests in innovative and sustainable projects. The fund offers funding and support to companies and entrepreneurs that are working towards a more sustainable future.

  3. Investment opportunities: Finland has a thriving start-up scene, with many opportunities for investment in the country’s innovative companies. The government also offers various incentives and funding programs for foreign investors.

  4. Taxes: Finland has a favorable tax environment for businesses and entrepreneurs. The country has a progressive income tax system, with a top rate of 31.25%. Additionally, companies are not required to pay corporate income tax on reinvested profits.

In conclusion, Finland offers a favorable environment for self-employment and business start-ups, with a simple registration process and a range of incentives and programs to support entrepreneurs and foreign investors. Whether you are looking to work as a self-employed individual or start your own company, Finland is an attractive destination with a thriving start-up scene and a reputation for innovation and technology.


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