Important information on the taxation of veterinary cars

Notification from the Finnish Veterinary Association, 6 March 2017:

From 1 June 2016, The Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi has changed its interpretation of the redemption of the vehicle tax for veterinary cars. The agency’s new interpretation is based on Trafi’s own reassessment and not on a ruling by a court. The change may have significant tax consequences. If you have a veterinary car or have considered getting one, please familiarise yourself with what the changes might mean for you.

The change in interpretation concerns cases in which certain veterinary cars are converted to passenger cars. According to Trafi’s new interpretation, veterinary cars are treated differently depending on whether they as normal vans would have been taxed at a reduced or a full rate. For a veterinary car that as a van would have fallen into the reduced tax category, Trafi will not consider the redemption of the car tax that occurred while the car was a veterinary car. Instead, the car will be retaxed based on the structural change to a passenger car. In such cases, a new car tax must be payed based on the passenger car's market value. According to Trafi, the taxes redeemed while the car was a veterinary car are then not deducted from this new car tax. No such new car tax will be levied if the veterinary car is converted to a van. The definition for vans in the reduced tax category can be found in section 8 of the Car Tax Act (Autoverolaki, 1482/1994). You can also ask Trafi for more information.

Trafi’s new interpretation does not change the taxation of veterinary cars that as vans would have fallen within the full tax category. Thus, converting this kind of a veterinary car to a passenger car does not incur new car tax, provided that the car tax has been fully redeemed during the time the vehicle was a veterinary car.

Trafi adjusted its position after being contacted by the association in late February, early March. Trafi still intends to apply its new interpretation to vehicles first registered on 1 June 2016 or later. However, Trafi had issued tax decisions based on this new interpretation for certain older vehicles as well. Trafi's legal counsel has now informed the association that Trafi is willing to repeal these “retroactive” decisions. If you have received this kind of a decision, please contact Trafin directly to have the decision repealed. Please also note that as a rule, an imposed car tax must be paid regardless of any appeals or other procedures.

Regarding newer vehicles, it remains to be determined whether Trafi's new interpretation is lawful. The association will be conducting a more detailed analysis of the matter and will provide further information at a later date. However, only a court of law can give a final ruling on the correct interpretation of the law.

The association has published a more detailed release on this matter on the member pages of its website. If required, the association can provide more information on the contents of the release. Members may also request legal advice on how Trafi's new interpretation may impact their personal situation. The association's legal counselling services are provided in Finnish, Swedish and English.

The association will pursue further action in this matter. We would like to thank our active members for bringing this matter to our attention. Please always contact the association if you receive official decisions that seem to deviate from established practice or otherwise seem out of the ordinary. Without members informing us about these kinds of situations, we may not hear of them. 

Link to the more detailed release on the members’ pages (in Finnish), here. You will need to log in with your Fimnet ID to read the release.

Link to the office's contact details (we also provide service in Swedish and English)

To the page Join us