Someone had to say it: if money was the reason, Finnish pensioners would have already moved in masses to Portugal.
You see, your 100 euros in Finland have long been worth some 160 euros in Portugal. According to a recent price comparison from theguardian 100 euros in Portugal buys you as much as 158,5 in Finland (2014 prices). A recent opinion piece in YLE estimated that someone earning a 2000 euros pension could save up to 50 000 euros by moving to Portugal. I’m sorry but that really is a paltry when you consider the purchasing power on top of that: up to 140 000 euros in additional value if you spend the full 2k a month in Portugal. That makes 19k a year for the first 10 years, and “only” 14k after that (or about 11k after taxes, for a monthly income of 2000 euros).Perhaps privilleged former CEOs move there because of the extra savings, but is hard to imagine regular people are not enticed to leave Finland because of taxes.
People move to Portugal because of the weather and because they like the country, the cuisine, the culture and the people. Those pensioners that may be swayed to move there because of the tax scheme were already on their way south. Perhaps Spain or Italy, where they would be paying taxes. Or they are moving a few years earlier. So in a sense, this scheme doesn’t really take away much from Finnish taxes, and definitely not as much as from Spain, Italy and, of course, Portuguese taxpayers, where these pensioners would be paying their taxes.
I am not defending my countries policies: tax paradises are wrong and the EU shouldn’t allow this kind of competition between countries to go on. Nor am I pleased to see my country stamped as one such paradise, when it can be such a wonderful place to live (if you have the income and don’t need to rely on bureaucracy, that is!)
I do understand that it upsets people in Finland, because social justice and equality is one of the most important values in this country. It rubs people the wrong way, particularly when it’s about a handful of already privileged individuals taking advantage of it. However, this is already the second or third wave of news where this makes the rounds, and every time it becomes a hot issue for a while.
I’d like to see as much interest in discussing another tax scheme that actually deprives Finland of millions. Those that are practised by big corporations, where they channel their profits to subsidiaries in Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland and Ireland. Not only they are legally “robbing”, this also distorts competition because local small businesses are not in an equal foot to compete. I remember a friend telling that a big fast food corporation never paid taxes in Finland (not sure if accurate, but they’re regularly accused of it in other countries). Of course, the ones that dodge taxes are the small kebab and pizzeria, run by those “dodgy” people? Yeah right…
If you are interested, you can read more at https://www.maailmantaloudentekijat.fi/blogi/satu-hassi-ylikansallinen-veronkiertaja