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CHANGES 2017
Legal, policy, and administrative changes in Finland often take effect on January 1. Government sites and addresses are also  affected, all making for days of thoroughly exciting updating at Expat Finland - not! Some changes for 2017 include:

Finnish Tax Administration:
Tax processes changed at the beginning of 2017. Especially affected are entrepreneurs, including self-employed, and corporate entities who file and pay self-assessed taxes such as VAT and employers' contributions. Main changes include
- Filing and paying of self-assessed taxes replaces periodic tax returns
- Tax returns on self-assessed taxes such as VAT and employer's contributions must be submitted online
- The MyTax e-service replaces Tax Account Online.
More information
Summary of Changes: www.vero.fi/en-US/Tax_Administration/Changes2017
 MyTax Info, Instructions & Videos: www.tax.fi/mytaxTaxation in Finland: www.expat-finland.com/living_in_finland/tax.html
Business Taxation in Finland: www.expat-finland.com/entrepreneurship/taxation.html
Accountancy & Notifications: www.expat-finland.com/entrepreneurship/accountancy.html

Finnish Immigration Service:
Formerly handled by the Police, responsibility for all permits for foreign nationals has been taken over by the Immigration Service. Duties include
- all residence permits that are applied for in Finland: first, extended and permanent residence permits
- reception of citizenship applications and declarations
- registration of EU citizens and applications for their family members' residence cards
- duties relating to refugee travel documents and alien's passports
- duties relating to service of decisions
Immigration Service www.migri.fi/residence_permits/migri_to_handle_permits
Work and Residence Permits www.expat-finland.com/moving_to_finland/work_and_residence_permits.html

Kela: the Social Insurance Institution of Finland
Changes to Kela benefits in 2017, summary
- Nearly all benefits reduced by 0.85% including pensions, disability benefits, unemployment benefits, child support, and  labour market subsidies.
- Restrictions to unemployment benefits and eligibility.
- For 2000 participants, the Basic Income Experiment 2017-2018 has begun.
  Info: www.kela.fi/web/en/basic-income-experiment-2017-2018
- Rates of national health insurance contributions changed; a reduction for employers, an increase for workers.
- Changes in benefits for same-sex parents and married same-sex couples,  in accordance with equal marriage rights.
Details www.kela.fi/web/en/news-archive/-/asset_publisher/lN08GY2nIrZo/content/changes-to-kela-benefits-in-2017
Social Security in Finland www.expat-finland.com/living_in_finland/social_security.html

Car Taxation:
Car taxation and excise taxation duties have been transferred from Finnish Customs to the Finnish Tax Administration. See
Car Tax: www.vero.fi/en-US/Individuals/Car_tax
Driving in Finland: www.expat-finland.com/living_in_finland/driving.html

Finnish Customs:
The  English version of the Customs site tulli.fi is under reconstruction. All links to Customs from Expat Finland are temporarily broken. Please search Expat Finland for customs-related information.
www.expat-finland.com

Have a good 2017!
Stu  80)
#finland2017  
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Heather Havis ('HeterTheMoth')'s profile photo
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HYVÄÄ JOULUA!
For a vision of how Christmas is done here in the far North, check VisitFinland's Christmas articles at
www.visitfinland.com/tags/christmas/
Somewhat idealised perhaps, but nice nonetheless!

Eat drink and be merry!
Stu  *<80)
#joulua  
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ONLY IN FINLAND
Arrivals at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in November were greeted by a banner exemplifying true Finnish honesty and directness. Tervetuloa!

21.12 Correction! Sori sori, this was at the Slush 2016 international startup event at the Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre. It has been widely misreported globally...  www.slush.org

Stu  80I
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BACK ON TOP OF THE WORLD
Sorry there's been nothing new here for a month; I've been flying the Finnish colours Down Under! Despite the cold and darkness, it's good to be back in kaunis Suomi. So, what's been happening?

Stu  80)
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SUOMI - ANOTHER BRONZE
Lonely Planet has named Canada the number one country to visit in 2017, closely followed by Colombia and Finland. Among Finland's attractions are listed celebrations of 100 years of independence, and foraging for cloudberries!

Lonely Planet: Top Countries for 2017
www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel/countries

Those pesky Canadidians have done it again...
Stu 80)
#travel  
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😅 Oh, Canada...
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DEAR DIARY: MY FIRST FINNISH WINTER

December 8, 2016
It started to snow. The first real snow of the season and my wife and I made cocoa with peppermint liqueur, 'minttukaakao', and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down. It looked like a postcard. Moving to Finland was the best idea I ever had. So romantic, we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9, 2016
We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering the entire landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a lovelier place in the world? I shovelled snow for the first time in my life, and felt like a kid. I did our driveway and the footpaths. This afternoon the snowplough came along and covered up the footpaths and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life.

December 12, 2016
The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbour Jarkko tells me not to worry; we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Jarkko says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Jarkko is such a nice man, I'm glad he's our neighbour.

December 14, 2016
Snow, lovely snow! 20 cm last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shovelling the driveway and footpaths. This is the life! The snowplough came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I'd have to do quite so much shovelling, but I'll certainly get in shape.

December 15, 2016
50 cm forecast. I sold the Yaris and bought a four-wheel-drive Audi. Bought extra shovels. My wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity gets cut. I said that's silly. We aren't in Russia.

December 16, 2016
Ice-storm this morning. Slipped on the ice while putting gravel on the driveway. My bum hurts like hell. My wife laughed for an hour. Cruel.

December 17, 2016
Still way below zero. Roads too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was cut off for five hours. So cold. Nothing to do but stare at my wife and try not to irritate her. I guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20, 2016
Electricity's back on, but had another 35 cm of snow last night. More shovelling. Took all day. Goddamn snowplough came by twice. Tried to get a neighbours' kid to shovel snow for pocket money, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store to see about buying a snow-blower. They don't seem to know what I'm talking about. I think they're lying. Jarkko says I have to shovel or the council will do it, and charge me. I think he's lying.

December 22, 2016
Jarkko was right about a white Christmas, because 40 more centimetres fell today and it's so cold it probably won't melt until May. Took me 45 minutes to get dressed to go shovelling, and then I had to pee. By the time I got undressed, pee'd and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Jarkko, who has a plough on his truck, for the rest of winter. He says he's too busy. I think the bastard's lying.

December 23, 2016
Only 5 cm of snow today, and it 'warmed up' to zero. My wife wants me to put Christmas lights in front of the house. Is she nuts?! Why didn't she ask me that a month ago? She says she did, but I think she's lying.

December 24, 2016
25 cm snow packed so hard by snowplough, I broke the shovel. If I ever catch the bastard who drives that snowplough, I'll drag him through the snow by his balls and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shovelling, and then comes down the street at a 100 kilometres an hour and throws snow all over everywhere I've just been. Tonight my wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the snowplough.

December 25, 2016
Merry F!=3D@x@!x!x1 Christmas. 60 more centimetres of !=3D@x@!x!x1!!. Snowed in. The idea of shovelling makes me hullu! God I hate snow. The snowplough driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. My wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's an idiot. If she suggests one more Christmas carol I'm going to shove her in the microwave.

December 26, 2016
Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves.

December 27, 2016
Temperature dropped to -40 and the pipes froze. Plumber came after 74 hours. He charged me €800 to fix the pipes.

December 28, 2016
Warmed up to over -50. Still snowed in. The BITCH is driving me insane.

December 29, 2016
30 more centimetres. Jarkko says I should shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the stupidest thing I ever heard. He must think I'm a complete idiot.

December 30, 2016
Roof caved in. I beat up the snowplough driver. He's suing me for €120,000, not only for the beating but for trying to shove a broken snow shovel up his bum. My wife went home to her mother. 20 cm forecast.

December 31, 2016
I set fire to the house. No more shovelling.

January 8, 2017
The little pills they're giving me are so pretty!

Happy winter folks!
Stu 80)
#finland #winter  
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Sisko Suuronen's profile photoFinland Explorer's profile photoKen Moss's profile photo
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No don't think so +Sisko Suuronen​
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GRAND OPENING, SUOMI FINLAND 100
2017, the year Finland celebrates a century of independence, is set to start off with a bang. Many cities are spending up big on New Year's festivities, but Helsinki plans not to be outdone. A full day of events for the whole family will be followed by a pre-party, a street party, The Party of the Century, and an after party. So, partying pretty much the theme! Full details in many languages at
http://suomifinland100.fi

For events outside Helsinki, check yourcity.fi  (ex.turku.fi) &/or visityourcity.fi  (ex.visittampere.fi)

Fireworks displays will be going off all over the country. Keep in mind that you cannot take your own fireworks to some of these events, and also that more pets get lost on New Year's Eve than any other time of the year because they freak out and run off! So, keep your furry friends calm and close by.

Onnellista Uutta Vuotta!
Stu 80)
#suomi  
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Finland Explorer's profile photoBrandonn Clemons's profile photo
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Sweet

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A MOOMIN WINTER!
Finland's famous Moomins are the creation of Swedish-speaking Finnish illustrator and writer Tove Jansson. The carefree and adventurous family live in Moominvalley. They usually hibernate in winter, but here Moomintroll is being particularly adventurous!

Winter cover photo 'Moominland Midwinter' by a-hour. The forest is made from paper, finished with 2d artwork. Nice!
a-hour.deviantart.com

Have a good winter!
Stu 80)
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KÄYTÄNNÖLLISTYS?
Friends in Australia assumed that after all these years in the Far North I must be fluent in Finnish. I said no. They asked why. I showed them this. They understood.

Stu 80I
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Andreas Geisler's profile photo
 
The trick to fluency is to talk like Väinämöinen.

Pon-de-rous-ly
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HAUSKA
A very entertaining Facebook page.
www.facebook.com/veryFinnishproblems/

Stu  80)
#Finland  
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COOL YOUR JETS
Winter speed limits  are in force nationwide from Friday 28 October at the latest, with top speeds typically reduced by 20 km/h. Yle News article:
yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/winter_speed_limits_in_force_by_friday/9253043

Breaking the speed limit can also break the bank in Finland, where fines are related to wealth. In 2015 Finnish businessman Reima Kuisla was famously fined over 54000€ for travelling some 23 km/h over the limit.

So watch out for the new speed limit signs and like those good old Swedes Ace of Base you can sing "I saw the sign" and keep your money in your pocket.

Stu  80)
#finland #speeding  
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ARE YOU FINNISHED?
Yle News reports a post-Brexit jump in Brits seeking Finnish citizenship. The future right to reside in Finland of UK citizens is, at this point, unknown - see WHAT NEXT? 29 June, below.

While Finnish citizenship guarantees the right to reside in Finland, a future reciprocal arrangement with the UK may also grant certain rights of residence. Applying for Finnish citizenship is not a step to be taken lightly. Here's some info...

Dual Nationality
Britain and Finland accept multiple (dual) nationality, so if you do become a Finnish citizen it is not necessary to surrender your British citizenship.
Finland: www.migri.fi/finnish_citizenship
including Rights and Obligations of a Finnish Citizen
UK: www.gov.uk/dual-citizenship

Military Service
Finnish citizens have a duty to defend the country. All Finnish men between the ages of 18 and 60 are liable for military service. For women, military service is voluntary.
The Finnish Defence Forces - Conscription
puolustusvoimat.fi/en/conscription

Applying for Citizenship
All applications for Finnish citizenship are processed by the Finnish Immigration Service.  Multi-page section including Requirements, Applications, and Procedures:
www.migri.fi/finnish_citizenship/applying_for_citizenship

Yle News article:
yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/finland_sees_post-brexit_jump_in_brits_seeking_citizenship/9245151

"I want to be a Finnish man, rolling in the snow." Shane MacGowan, The Pogues
Stu 80)
#brexit #finland  
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Story
Tagline
Since 2004 Expat Finland has been helping non-Finnish speakers in Finland, and the companies who want to reach them.
Introduction
Expat Finland Mission Statement
Key audience: Non-Finnish speakers requiring information, products or services in or about Finland
Contribution: Useful, honest content which genuinely helps site visitors. Promoting Finland's economy and culture
Distinction: Trust, user-confidence and reputation built since July 2004
www.expat-finland.com