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Finland

Start-ups

Updated 07/2012

Legal requirements

The pursuit of some trades is restricted in Finland. These limitations are imposed by law.

Legal forms for businesses

There are a number of different business forms. The business form influences the amount of tax paid, the division of responsibilities and how actions between the company and its owner are treated. It is worth investigating which form is the most suitable for your business.

The most common business forms are:

  • sole trader;
  • general partnership;
  • limited partnership;
  • limited liability company;
  • cooperative.

Business activities and related rules

There are different rules for the different business forms, relating to the number of founders, the need for capital when commencing activities, division of liability, flexibility of activities, business continuity, distribution of profit and loss, and taxation.

Some trades require a licence.

It is worth familiarising oneself with the rules and regulations relating to businesses before setting up a new business.

Business plans and evaluation

When setting up a new business, it is worth preparing a business plan to explain the enterprise's activities.

There are different templates that can be used to design business prerequisites and viability. An eTool for compiling a business plan is available on the website of Enterprise Finland.

To succeed, a new business needs a sound commercial strategy and secure financing.

Some standard requirements to be completed when setting up a business are the same as when opening a branch.

Administrative procedures

Joint service point

A shared service point is a single point of service where various forms required for setting up a business may be filled out and submitted online.

Registering a company

Business registration

The company must be given a trading name before the documents for setting up a new business are prepared and the business is registered. The business name is a symbol of the company, and should be easily identifiable.

New companies are registered in the Trade Register of the National Board of Patents and Registration (PRH). Companies can send their information for the registers maintained by the PRH and the Finnish Tax Administration on one form:

  • Trade Register;
  • Prepayment Register;
  • Employer Register;
  • VAT Register.

Further information on registering a company:

Social security

An entrepreneur's statutory social security includes a pension plan. Entrepreneurs may improve their social security, for example, with voluntary persona accident insurance, life insurance and unemployment insurance payments.

An entrepreneur must insure himself against retirement, unemployment and death.

The company, as an employer, is obliged to deduct and pay income tax at the source, and social security payments to the tax authority.

Tax registration

Companies pay direct and indirect taxes for their business activities, such as value-added tax (VAT) and excise duty.

Companies that pursue a trade, agriculture or other profitable activity are registered in the prepayment register.

Special procedures

National ministries issue business licenses. In some cases, a licence is not required, only written notification from the business owner.

Resources

Multilingual website thisisFINLAND providing information about Finland.

Finnfacts helps companies with international communication, publishes material on industry and business life, and organises visits to Finnish companies for journalists.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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