A message from Finnish tax authorities issued earlier this month reminded part-time Santas about their tax obligations, a matter of law which raised heated discussion on social media.
Some wondered whether the tax administration might have more important things to do than hunt down white-bearded, potential tax evaders.
Many families across the country hire a red-suited local to hand out gifts on Christmas Eve and pay the costumed guest.
The Tax Administration’s senior advisor Minna Palomäki said the agency regularly receives inquiries about the legal implications of greasing Santa palm for a personal home visit.
“That’s why we decided to issue the reminder. It’s nothing new, one is not permitted to work off-the-books,” Palomäki said.
But starting next Christmas – following major adjustments to the country’s tax system in January – families who pay for the cheerful visits will be required to notify the national income registry about how much they paid the ersatz St. Nick.
“The only change is that the payment notification will come from the payer, not the recipient. And all Santas have to do is to check that the details are correct,” she said.
Sources Svenska Yle