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Establishing a Business in Finland

"The objective of the Government's economic policy is to create a framework that will foster company start-up, growth and internationalization." Prime Minister's Office

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Introduction & Types of Business
Finland is an easy place for entrepreneurs to get started, and many types of help are available. Setting up a business can be a good way for immigrants to find work; there are some 6,500 businesses operating in Finland which have been established by people who have moved from abroad.

Business can be conducted as a private trader, as a partnership or limited liability company formed of one or more individuals or legal entities, or as a co-operative. A foreign entrepreneur may also establish a branch of their business in Finland. In certain circumstances, those not resident/domiciled in the EEA need a permit from the National Board

Enterprises must submit a basic declaration to the trade register using the start-up notification, with which they may also apply for registration in the trade register, employer register, prepayment register and/or VAT register; details below.

Finnish accounting firm Rantalainen Oy have prepared a useful English-language document Starting a Business in Finland outlining:

Enterprise Finland - Establishing a Business

Becoming an entrepreneur involves assessing a number of issues, including your personal capabilities, your financial situation and your business's chances of success. You also need to know the legal and tax obligations.

Enterprise Finland offers expert advice for new entrepreneurs. They can help you develop your business concept, formulate your business plan, and take the practical measures involved in establishing a business. Financial support at the start-up stage is also available.

See Enterprise Finland's Starting a Business section. Topics are covered step by step in the Checklist for start-up entrepreneurs, in the order in which a prospective entrepreneur would usually encounter them.

Enterprise Finland > In English > Information on running a business > Starting a business
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The Finnish Business Information System (BIS)

The Business Information System (BIS) is jointly maintained by the The Finnish Patent and Registration Office and the Tax Administration.

BIS enables businesses to report their company information to both the above authorities in a single notification rather than submitting duplicate data to the Trade Register and the registers kept by the Tax Administration.

The Business Information System includes businesses and corporations entered into the

Business ID / Y-tunnus
A new business will get a Business ID / Y-tunnus as soon as the start-up notification has been entered in the Business Information System. Once you start doing business, you will feel that the Y-tunnus is like Personal Identity Code / Henkilötunnus for your company! The Business ID replaces the Trade Register Number, Foundation Register Number and Business Code used in the past.

BIS-Search
Using a Y-tunnus, you can search detailed information about Finnish companies by visiting
Business Information System > In English > BIS-Search
Apart from contact details you will see the form of company, main lines of business, registrations in force, registration history, and more. This tool can help you make educated decisions about whether to deal with a company, and you can ensure the details of registration of your own company are correct.

The Finnish Patent and Registration Office - Trade Register

The Trade Register is a publicly accessible data bank containing official information on traders and businesses Finland-wide. The majority of businesses are limited liability companies and private traders. As a rule, all businesses have to be registered at the Trade Register, and must notify the register of any changes in their details. Most businesses must also submit their financial statements to the register.

Usefulness
Contracting parties can obtain details from the Trade Register concerning, for example, the existence of a company, its articles of association, its representatives, and submission of the latest annual accounts for registration. Register entries are accessible both to the public and to authorities.
Finnish Patent and Registration Office > In English > Trade Register

Online Forms, Notices and Applications

The required notices and applications to the various registers are used by the Tax Administration and the National Board of Patents and Registration. They do not however need to be submitted to these authorities separately; through the Business Information System enterprises can report their information to both authorities using single notifications.

BIS offers bilingual English / Finnish versions of its most common forms to make completion easier. These include Start-up notifications, and Notifications on amendments or terminations of business amongst others. They are available for private traders, limited companies, general and limited partnerships and more.
Note: Even though these forms include English translations, they must by law be completed in Finnish or Swedish!
Business Information System > In English > Notification Forms

Opening a Finnish Corporate Bank Account

Opening an account for your company is generally quite simple. An account can usually be opened when the following documents concerning the company are presented, but due to possible variances between banks you should contact the bank you have chosen to verify the requirements; it may also be necessary to appoint a meeting time:

1. Extract from the Trade Register (no older than three months). If the company has not yet been registered, the extract from the Trade Register can be replaced by:

2. An extract from the minutes of the company's decision-making body, which indicates the names of those officials of the company authorised to use the account and their authorizations, the decision to open an account, possible lending and submitting of collateral

3. An account of incoming and outgoing payments; their volume and the size of individual payments

4. An account of the company's operations (more detailed than the official line of business clause)

5. Other accounts (e.g. information on companies having shareholdings in the company etc.)

The required documents and information can be submitted either in Finnish, Swedish or English.

Banks

See also: Banking

Additional Information