Anne Kleemola: Tekes fighting against grey economy

As part of our responsible operations, we at Tekes must ensure that we do not fund companies that engage in grey economy. We look into the business operations of companies we are planning to fund to ensure that they have carried out their public obligations such as paid their taxes and entered their information into tax administration registers. However, insufficient availability to information sometimes makes this difficult.

Grey economy refers to otherwise legal business operations for which the statutory payments of taxes, such as withholding tax or social security and pension payments have not been made. Tekes is committed to fight against such practices.

We at Tekes have been working for years with the Finnish Tax Administration's Grey Economy Information Unit. We check the background of each company that is applying for or receiving our funding by obtaining the latest available information provided by the authorities. We will find out, among other things, whether the companies in question belong to Tax Administration registers and what their tax debt and debt recovery status is.

The Grey Economy Information Unit published on 17 November a document on grey economy from the viewpoint of the use of the country's financial resources and their protection. One of the topics is the granting of public business subsidies. Our Chief Audit Executive Piia-Tuulia Rauhala and I explain how we work against the grey economy and financial abuse. Public funding granted by Tekes is tightly regulated and always paid on the basis of expenses that can be accounted for.

It is my view that checking businesses' financial situation and statutory obligations have played an important role in preventing problems. We can ensure that companies receiving our funding will inform the Finnish Tax Administration of their payroll, and will also pay withholding tax and social security contributions. We will not grant or provide funding if the recipient has tax debt or has neglected its employer or VAT obligations.

It is important in terms of Tekes' responsible operations that it gets a sufficient and comprehensive amount of information from the authorities. We have, for example, proposed a bill to ensure us access to sufficient information and to bring down information barriers between authorities. Currently Tekes is only entitled to receive information about companies applying for or receiving funding, not of the key personnel or their other business connections.

We only grant funding to companies that comply with legislation and take care of their statutory obligations. I think we should also be able to ensure that the key personnel in the companies that we fund comply with tax laws both personally and professionally.

Anne Kleemola
Director, payment services at Tekes

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