From the delivery Helsingin Sanomat will normally publish all tax information after a break of a couple of years

Transparency of tax information is important for maintaining the confidence of Finnish society, writes HS Managing Director Esa Mäkinen in her column.

Year then in november, Helsingin Sanomat’s tax machine was closed. As usual, we did not publish information on the income and taxes of the highest-earning Finns.

By deciding to shut down its tax machines for a month, HS and 19 other Finnish newspapers protested against the taxpayer after it had decided to conceal some of the tax information of the wealthiest. The taxpayer kept the information secret from those who had requested it.

Today in the situation is different. HS and several other media appealed the taxpayer’s decision to the administrative court. The court ordered the taxpayer to tell who has requested the confidentiality of his information.

With this information, HS is able to collect data on the income of all the highest earning Finns and publish it in the tax machine normally.

A dozen journalists are gathering information from the tax authorities on Wednesday. We’ve built a tool that allows us to share the work among dozens of people and also collect the tax data that would otherwise be left in the dark.

On Wednesday morning, the data for HS’s tax machine is still incomplete, but we aim to release the full data by Wednesday.

Citizens have a right to know how income and taxes are distributed in society.

Why HS publishes data even though some have asked for the secrecy of their income and taxes?

Parliament has ordered tax information to be transparent, and the court confirmed this interpretation. This transparency does not exist for the press but for the sake of the public.

Citizens have a right to know how income and taxes are distributed in society. Tax information published annually is crucial to understanding the consequences of political decisions and the actions of those exercising economic power.

Without the disclosure of tax information, we would not know that the owners of Supercell have brought huge tax revenues to the coffers of the Finnish welfare society. Nor would we know how the political decisions on privatization made a number of inspection station owners very wealthy.

Transparency of tax information is important for maintaining the confidence of Finnish society.

Elapsed another important decision related to the disclosure of tax information has also come during the year.

An individual had asked HS to delete his tax information from a tax machine, citing the Data Protection Regulation. After the HS had not deleted the data, the person complained to the Data Protection Officer.

The EDPS decided that the data did not need to be deleted because the tax machine is journalism.

The decisions of the Administrative Court and the Data Protection Commissioner guarantee that tax information will continue to be public.

On Wednesday, HS’s goal is to release a tax machine that includes the 2020 revenue and taxes in full.

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