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Amendments to the Finnish Appeal System Regulations

New amendments to the system of appeal regulations relating to taxation cases have been proposed. Under the proposed amendments, preliminary Board of Adjustment rulings for income taxation would become appealable and the scope of leave to appeal would be extended.

Taxand Finland discusses how these new proposals would differ from current procedures.

Claim for adjustment against the preliminary rulings of the Board of Adjustment
According to the new proposals, it should be possible to make a claim for adjustment directly to the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) against the Board of Adjustment's preliminary rulings on income tax, real estate tax and estate & gift taxation, instead of to the Administrative Court as is the current procedure.

The current system of appeal can be deviated from under special circumstances. The SAC may grant an application for leave to appeal on the grounds that the case would establish a precedent. Either party in the taxation process has the right to claim an adjustment within 60 days from receiving the ruling. The process requires a written consent from the counterparty: a so-called license application. If the counterparty does not agree to the process, the case would be directed towards the Administrative Court. In accordance with the current process, the counterparty in the proposed process would always be the tax recipient's Legal Services Unit.

Appealable preliminary rulings
Under the proposed amendments, the present procedure governing adjustments of preliminary rulings for income taxation is to be replaced by procedures that allow for the possibility of a claim by a taxpayer directly to the SAC for an adjustment of a preliminary ruling. Consequently, income tax rulings would become appealable in the same way as other preliminary rulings passed by the Tax Administration. This would mean that the three step system of appeal currently in force would now be applied to preliminary income tax rulings, and tried before the SAC as a last resort.

According to the new proposals, the SAC would not automatically hear appeals relating to tax loss applications. This would mean that any leave to appeal would have to be separately applied for and received from the SAC, before any procedure to deal with tax losses in the SAC.

The amendments are scheduled to become effective in 2014.

Your Taxand contact for further queries is:
Janne Juusela
T. +358 9 6153 3431

Taxand's Take

To be able to claim for adjustments against preliminary rulings of the Board of Adjustment directly to the SAC will speed up establishing case law on the interpretation of the law. However, it should be noted that the proposed amendments stress that claims for adjustment against a preliminary ruling should be looked upon as an exception and used only to establish a point of law.

The proposed amendments will enhance the ability to obtain legal advice in advance. The amendments would also allow the three step system of appeals to apply.

Taxand's Take Author

Janne Juusela