When Björn Wahlroos announced that he is going to move to Sweden, whole Finland talked about it. Yellow press wrote headlines and people had something to talk about during coffee breaks. How can one man´s migration touch Finland so much?
As we know, Björn is one of the richest men in Finland. When Björn is moving, his money is moving as well. Briefly, he won’t’ pay taxes to Finland anymore. He has not commented why he moved but supposedly one reason is Finnish taxation.
Finnish taxation is very high. We have income taxation, gift tax, inheritance tax, municipal tax, real estate tax and so on. Earned income taxation is progressive, which means that everyone pays taxes accordinglyhis/her income. With this taxation we can afford public utilities, like day care, education and health care (Verotus Suomessa 2014).
Because of high taxation, there is a risk that rich people want to move out from Finland. That would mean huge losses in taxation. Jutta Urpilainen, the Finnish Minister of Finance, has criticized Wahlroos´s moving. She wanted to remind that Wahroos has enjoyed himself the benefits of taxation. He was educated in Finland and has received health care. Urpilainen thinks that it is just fair that rich people give more than people with limited means.
Income taxation has got a long history in Finland. It started in 1873 (Tuloverotus, 2006). Income taxation has helped Finland and Finns very much, because of that our education is on a high level, to give an example. I agree with Jutta Urpilainen, it is only fair that all the Finns take care of Finland.
Gift tax and inheritance tax are something that I don´t agree. Paying these taxes belongs to heir and gift recipient, it is their duty (Lahjaverokirja 2013). On the other hand, the heir is entitled to have inheritance (Perintö ja testamentti, Käytännön käsikirja, 2005). If inheritance is a right, why does Finland punish heir?
Let´s take Björn Walroos for an example. He has worked hard for his entire life and succeeded. He has paid taxes and supported the Finnish economy. If he passed away now, his wife and children would inherit the whole fortune. They would have to pay high inheritance tax. And if the fortune is invested in property, they would have to sell property to be able to pay taxes.
So why did Björn Wahlroos choose Sweden? There is no gift tax and inheritance tax in Sweden. A Finnish tabloid Iltasanomat calculated that by living in Sweden Wahlroos would save (in gift and inheritance taxes) over 80 million euro (IS laski: Tällaisen miljoonapotin Wahlroos säästäisi muuttamalla, 9.4.2014).
Björn, you have probably made the right decision. But we need you to pay income taxes with us. If we remove gift tax and inheritance tax from Finland, would you please come back?
Andersson Edward & Linnakangas Esko, 2006. Tuloverotus. Talentum
Lindholm Tuomo, 2013. Lahjaverokirja. Verotieto Oy Helsinki.
Norri Pentti, 2005. Perintö ja testamentti – Käytännön käsikirja. Talentum Helsinki.
Tällaisen miljoonapotin Wahlroos säästäisi muuttamalla. http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kotimaa/art-1288675308746.html.
Verotus Suomessa. https://www.vero.fi/fi-FI/Tietoa_Verohallinnosta/Verotus_Suomessa.