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Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on taxes and tax-like payments contain information on the taxes and compulsory social security contributions collected annually by central government, municipalities and social security funds. In addition, the statistics include data on the tax-like payments collected in Finland for the European Union. The data are presented by type of tax or payment according to classification used in OECD's Revenue Statistic publication. In addition, the tax rate is presented, i.e. the annual accrual of all compulsory tax-like payments relative to the gross domestic product of the same period. Tax rate is one of the most common indicators of the size of the public sector in international comparisons.

Statistical population

The statistical population of the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments is general government units and the European Union (concerning taxes accounted for EU).

Statistical unit

The basic units for reporting the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments are following sectors: central government, local government, employment pension schemes, other social security funds, the EU. These sectors consist of several statistical units (e.g. central government agencies and instituties, municipalities). The data of the reporting units are obtained either directly from other (public) entities as combined data or by summing the data of the statistical units.

Unit of measure

In the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments, the unit of measure used is EUR million or a percentage.

Base period

All the time series of the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments are at current prices.

Reference period

The reference period in national accounts is usually a calendar year for annual national accounts and a quarter for quarterly national accounts.

The reference period for the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments is a calendar year. The observations are mainly collected at monthly level, but especially in the case of social security contributions, data are collected at quarterly or annual level. There is a time difference between the reference and observation periods only in respect of adjustments to accrual accounting, when, for example, employers’ contributions paid in January are recorded for December.

Reference area

The reference area for national accounts is the total domestic economy.

Sector coverage

National accounts describe the total economy of a country. All units that have a centre of predominant economic interest in the economic territory of Finland are covered.

In addition, several subcategories are used. Two of the most important are breakdown by institutional sector and breakdown by NACE Rev. 2 activity. Exhaustiveness is required for each of the subcategories.

Concerning the institutional sector breakdown, ESA 2010 distinguishes five mutually exclusive domestic institutional sectors: (a) non-financial corporations; (b) financial corporations; (c) general government; (d) households; (e) non-profit institutions serving households. The five sectors together make up the total domestic economy. Each sector is also divided into subsectors.

The source data for the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments cover general government broken down into the following subsectors: central government, local government, employment pension funds, other social security funds. In addition, the statistics include data on the tax-like payments collected in Finland for the European Union.

Time coverage

The statistics taxes and tax-like payments cover annual level time series from 1975 to the latest completed statistical year.

Frequency of dissemination

The statistics on taxes and tax-like payments are published annually as a statistical release and as a database update as follows: preliminary data t+80 days, updated data t+9 months.

Concepts

Net tax ratio

The net tax ratio is obtained by deducting income transfers received by the private sector from general government and this is proportioned to the GDP for the same period.

In this context, income transfers include

- public transfers like social security benefits and subsidies,
- investment grants and other capital transfers,
- subsidies on products and other public subsidies such as import, energy and agricultural subsidies.

Social security contributions

Social security contributions (OECD Classification of Taxes heading 2000) covers all compulsory payments that confer an entitlement to receive a (contingent) future social benefit. These include a) employers' social security contributions, e.g. unemployment insurance and old-age insurance premia paid by employers, b) employees' social security contributions, e.g. unemployment insurance and old-age insurance premia paid by employees, employees' contributions to the National Pension Insurance scheme and to the National Health Insurance scheme, c) social security contributions paid by independent entrepreneurs and non-employed persons, e.g. old-age insurance premia paid by entrepreneurs.

The OECD Classification of Taxes heading "Social security contributions" covers only statutory social security contributions, and does not include voluntary social security (a sub-heading under D.611 "Actual social contributions" in the national accounts).

Tax ratio

The tax ratio describes accrued taxes relative to the GDP for the same period.

Taxes and other levies

In OECD statistics, taxes and other levies include compulsory, unrequited payments to general government, including compulsory social security contributions and customs duties, sugar levies and levies on agricultural goods collected by the member states on behalf of the European Union.

Taxes on goods and services

Taxes on goods and services (OECD Classification of Taxes heading 5000) covers all taxes and duties levied on the production, extraction, sale, transfer, leasing or delivery of goods, and the rendering of services, or in respect of the use of goods or permission to use goods or to perform activities. E.g. value added tax, excise duties on alcoholic beverages, motorcar tax, vehicle tax, waste tax.

"VAT own resources" collected from EU member states are shown as a tax of the EU member states in the OECD tax statistics. In the national accounts, these amounts are shown as a tax of the European Union.

Taxes on payroll and workforce

Taxes on payroll and workforce (OECD Classification of Taxes heading 3000) covers taxes paid either as a proportion of payroll or as a fixed amount per person, and which do not confer entitlement to social benefits. Not in use in Finland at the present time.

Taxes on property

Taxes on property (OECD Classification of Taxes heading 4000) covers recurrent and non-recurrent taxes on the use, ownership or transfer of property. These include taxes on immovable property or net wealth, taxes on the change of ownership of property through inheritance or gift and taxes on financial and capital transactions; e.g. the inheritance and gift tax, the asset transfer tax, and the immovable property tax.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

Errors in source data could come into play when there is an error in the public sector register data or when figures are estimated before final figures are available from registers.

Timeliness

National accounts data should become available to users as timely as possible, taking into account the frequency of the data (annual or quarterly), the character of the data (information on the structure of an economy or on conjuncture developments) and an adequate balance between accuracy and timeliness.

The ESA 2010 transmission programme defines the required timeliness for all national accounts tables. Quarterly tables should become available between two or three months after the quarter-end. The annual tables have to be transmitted between two months (main aggregates) and 36 months (supply and use tables) after the end of the reference year.

The statistics taxes and tax-like payments are published twice a year (in March and September) concurrently with national accouts tables. Thus the first preliminary data are available two and half months after the end of statistical year.

Data are preliminary until the national accouts data are final, i.e. two years after the end of statistical year. Data may still be revised due to methodological changes implemented when carrying out time series corrections.

Punctuality

Good practice requires that the dates on which national accounts data become available are pre-announced and that the pre-announced publication dates are met.

National accounts data transmissions in the framework of the ESA 2010 transmission programme should be punctually delivered to Eurostat on the date set out in the transmission programme (or before).

Statistics Finland frequently transmits data to Eurostat ahead of the legal deadlines.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The geographical comparability of national accounts in Member States of the EU is ensured by the application of common definitions of the European System of Accounts ESA 2010. A worldwide geographical comparison is also possible because most non-European countries apply the SNA 2008 guidelines, and ESA 2010 is consistent with SNA 2008.

The data of the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments are also comparable with OECD tax statistics.

Comparability - over time

As the data for all reference periods are compiled according to the requirements of ESA 2010, national accounts data are fully comparable over time. Also, in the case of fundamental changes to methods or classifications, revisions of long time series are performed, usually going far back into the past. 

However, the following should be taken into account regarding the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments: The time series of the statistics is methodologically consistent from 1988 onwards, from which taxes have been calculated on an accrual basis, in order to align the tax revenue collected by general government with the transaction generating the tax liability. The comparability of the time series to previous years is slightly lower. 15.2.1 Length of comparable time series / CC2

Coherence - cross domain

Within the system of national accounts there is full consistency between the domains: annual and quarterly national accounts, government accounts, sector accounts, financial accounts, regional accounts, supply and use tables. However, in practice full consistency may not always be possible and temporary discrepancies might occur. The differences are usually caused by different release lags in different sub-areas.

Primary statistics like structural business statistics (SBS), short-term statistics (STS) and labour force statistics (LFS) are widely used as input for national accounts. However, there is no full consistency between these statistical domains and national accounts. Main reasons are differences in concepts or definitions and in coverage. Balance of payments is also used as an important source for national accounts. The definitions and coverage of balance of payments, as defined in the BPM6 manual, are fully harmonised with those in ESA 2010. Therefore, balance of payments variables are in principle fully coherent with the corresponding national accounts variables.

The discrepancies between national accounts domains concern only the latest observations, and are due to delays in the compilation and delivery schedules. The domains concerned also include balance of payments. National accounts and balance of payments compilation systems are integrated so that both time series are coherent from 2019 and from 2020 onwards for financial accounts.

In addition, the following should be taken into account regarding the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments: The classification of taxes used in the OECD tax statistics and the application of the sector classification differ in some respects from national accounts. Overall, however, the data of the statistics are consistent with national accounts as regards taxes and compulsory social security contributions collected by general government.

Statistics Finland also publishes statistics on environmental taxes based on an internationally uniform statistical framework. The statistics on environmental taxes also include, as one item, environmental-based service charges, which are not classified as taxes or tax-like payments in national accounts statistics.

Source data and data collections

Source data

National accounts departments typically do not collect data themselves but receive them from other departments or institutions. The compilation of the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments is based on the primary data sources used in the compilation of
national accounts. The main data sources are: the State accounting data and data obtained from the State Treasury,
the Finnish Government Shared Services Centre for Finance and HR (Palkeet), the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Tax Administration, the Financial Supervisory Authority, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela),
the Employment Fund, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, customs administration, the Energy Authority and the EU Commission. The target populations and the basic populations of various registers are similar because the statistics are published by recipient sector. The majority of the source data are collected on a monthly basis.

Data collection

The data of the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments are usually collected in connection with the production of other statistics and are incorporated into contracts concluded on them. Individual figures can be obtained from public sources or public authorities.

Frequency of data collection

National accounts are usually compiled quarterly or annually, using primary statistics as a source. The frequency of data collection of primary statistics varies according to the nature of the data source.

The basic data of the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments are mainly collected on a monthly basis. For compulsory social security contributions, basic data are obtained on a quarterly or annual basis.

Methods

Data compilation

Data sources, methods and compilation techniques are country-specific but should be employed so that the definitions and concepts in ESA 2010 are met. Many guidance documents on general and specific national accounts compilation issues are available. See for more details Section 10.6. Documentation on methodology.

The statistics on taxes and tax-like payments largely follow source data. Handling of data mainly takes place as regards adjustments to accrual accounting. Taxes are recorded in the statistics on an accrual basis in accordance with ESA 2010. In accrual accounting, the aim is to align the tax revenue with the transaction generating the tax liability. In practice, accruals are determined on the basis of time-adjusted cash flows. For example, in the case of VAT, the recording time delay is usually two months. Time-adjustment means, for example, that VAT revenue received by the State in February is recorded in the tax revenue of the previous year.

The figures obtained on a monthly basis are summed up by quarter and year. If more accurate annual figures are later obtained, the quarterly figures are benchmarked to correspond with the new data.

Data validation

The purpose of data validation is to ensure that the selected data content has gone through an approval. It is a key task in all fields of statistics and particularly important in national accounts, whose data are used to support economic analysis and political decision-making.

The comparison of data from different sources is an integral part of the national accounts compilation. Source data used in national accounts undergo a sequence of checks at Statistics Finland.

The data are validated horizontally and vertically in connection with compiling and reporting. The quality of deficit and debt figures is subject to close monitoring by the EU Commission, which also partly covers fiscal figures. In connection with each transmission of data to the EU Commission, Eurostat reviews the data of the Member States for a period of approximately three weeks; in this context, the data may also be updated. In addition, the OECD monitors the quality of the country-specific tax data it collects for its Revenue Statistics publication.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Economic Statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics.

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.  

Further information: Statistical legislation

National accounts are compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010),
which was published in the Official Journal of the European Union as Annex A to Regulation (EU) No 549/2013. The ESA 2010 transmission programme is covered in Annex B to the same Regulation.

ESA 2010 has the form of Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council and it provides for:
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<w:anchorlock> </w:anchorlock></w:wrap></v:group>A methodology (Annex A) on common standards, definitions, classifications and accounting rules that shall be used for compiling accounts and tables on comparable bases (link to blue book on ESA 2010 methodology);
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</w:anchorlock></w:wrap></v:group>A programme of data transmission (Annex B) setting out the time limits by which Member States shall transmit to Eurostat the accounts and tables (link to ESA 2010 transmission programme).
Temporary derogations have been granted to Member States, up to 2020,
by Commission Implementing Decision 2014/403/EU of 26 June 2014 thus allowing national data to deviate temporarily from the ESA 2010 transmission requirements.

Some other legal acts with relevance for national accounts concern:
  • Commission Decision 98/715 of 30 November 1998 and Commission Decision 2002/990 of 17 December 2002 on measurement of price and volumes in national accounts.
  • Legal act on the excessive deficit procedure
Several separate acts, often regarding classifications such as: NACE Rev.2, CPA 2015, COGOG, COICOP, NUTS 2016.
More legal acts relevant for national accounts can be found on the Eurostat website, sections ‘National accounts’ and ‘Government finance and EDP’.

National statistical legal acts are available at: http://tilastokeskus.fi/org/lainsaadanto/index_en.html
For statistics on taxes and tax-like payments, the OECD is also involved. In the field of statistics, the OECD collects from the Member States the data it needs for research.

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable.

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

Confidentiality - data treatment

In a statistical sense, ‘confidential data’ means data which allow statistical units to be identified, either directly or indirectly, thereby disclosing individual information. To determine whether a statistical unit is identifiable, account shall be taken of all relevant means that might reasonably be used by a third party to identify the statistical unit. Although national accounts data are usually highly aggregated, there may be possible cases for detailed breakdowns of aggregates and/or small economies. In these cases measures should be taken in order not to disclose data of a separate statistical unit. Guidance on how to prevent disclosure can be found in the Handbook on Statistical Disclosure Control.

The data submitted are flagged either by ‘N= not for publication before embargo date’ or ‘F=free’

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service.

Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland

Data sharing

National accounts data are key datasets used and published by many international organisations to improve data consistency and exploit synergies for data collection and validation. An initiative to improve data sharing for National Accounts was launched in 2016 by the Inter-Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics (comprising representatives of the Bank for International Settlements, the European Central Bank, Eurostat, the IMF, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations, and the World Bank)  under the G20 Data Gap Initiative.

Data are transmitted via Eurostat to other international organisations. 

Quarterly financial accounts, balance of payments data and general government accounts are also transmitted directly to the ECB. The data corresponding to the statistics on taxes and tax-like payments are transmitted to the OECD in June. Data are publiced annually in OECD's Revenue Statistics.

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.   

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases.

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.   

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service.

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before.

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.

Quality assessment

The quality of national accounts data is assured by strict application of ESA 2010 concepts and by applying the guidelines of the ESS handbook for quality reports.

During the overall compilation process, national and regional accounts data undergo several kinds of quality checks, e.g. ex-ante (source statistics), ongoing (results), ex-post (methods used) and external checks (Eurostat, European or national Court of Auditors, IMF).

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published.

Further information: Publication principles for statistics

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data.

Statistical experts

Matias Hämäläinen
Senior Statistician
029 551 3737

The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.

Go to the archive page