Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Why have we received this inquiry even though we are not involved in international trade?

Registers do not provide reliable information on whether an enterprise is engaged in international trade. Therefore, an enterprise that actually should not be included is sometimes selected for the inquiry. If this is the case, please contact us at ( and we will review the situation.

Despite this we recommend that you familiarise yourselves with the other frequently asked questions and instructions for the inquiry. The majority of the enterprises that respond in the inquiry that the enterprise does not have international trade in services have nevertheless reported service trade with a foreign enterprise in MyTax (periodic tax return data). This kind of service trade is as a rule included in the inquiry.

How come are we included again, even though we have previously reported that we have no international trade?

We can get up-to-date information only by asking the enterprise. If the situation has not changed, you respond by letting us know that the enterprise has not had international trade in services or international goods flows during the inquired period.

Is the inquiry statutory?

The inquiry is statutory (Statistics Act (280/2004). The production of the statistics is based on Regulation (EC) No 184/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council that has been amended in Commission Regulation (EC) No. 555/2012. As a rule, enterprises answer well and we have not seen any need to impose sanctions. In addition to precise figures, we accept good estimates. You can contact us if responding to the inquiry is challenging.

Our turnover is small and international trade is minor, can you remove us from the list?

You have met the criteria to be included in the sample. Enterprises engaged in small-scale international trade are also needed in the inquiry to ensure the quality of the statistics.

Our enterprise no longer has operations (e.g. closed down, bankruptcy, merger, etc.). Do we have to respond to the inquiry?

You can notify us about the enterprise having closed operations by email or telephone. More detailed information, such as the date of closing and the parties of the merger should, however, be included in the message in order for us to further the information to our Business Register. Figures prior to the change in operations should, however, be reported if possible.

Can we be exempted from the inquiry as it would take up too much resources?

An exemption requires exceptional circumstances. If we granted exemptions based on lack of resources or a system review the production of the statistics would be at risk. In practice, only bankruptcy or closing down of activities result in an exemption. We can provide help with responding and even good estimates are welcome.

Can we get more time to answer?

More time is granted within strict limits. We also need time to go through and analyse the data so the data should be delivered as soon as possible. You can apply for more time for the inquiry with the web form to which you log in with the identifiers sent in the accompanying letter.

I have lost the identifiers for the questionnaire, where can I get new ones?

The identifiers are for each year and only one set of identifiers has been created for the enterprise for one year. You can receive them again by sending us an email at Please include the Business ID of your enterprise in the message.

What is international trade in services?

In international trade in services a Finnish enterprise pays money to a foreign enterprise or receives money from a foreign enterprise for a service. The service is here interpreted widely as a concept – in service trade the enterprise receives or pays money for anything that is not goods. Services thus include transport, bookkeeping, administration, consulting, marketing, licence and royalty payments, maintenance and repair, construction and project deliveries, and research and development. The definition of international trade is fulfilled when money changes owners between Finnish and foreign enterprises: when a Finnish enterprise buys from a foreign enterprise or sells to a foreign enterprise. In other words, the home country of the trading party and not, for example, where the service is produced determines whether it is a question of international trade in services.

We use a foreign service only abroad or produce a service for a foreign enterprise in Finland, is this reported?

Yes, it is reported. It is of no consequence in international trade in services where the service is produced or whether the service crosses the border of Finland. It is essential in international trade in services that money changes owners between Finnish and foreign enterprises: a Finnish enterprise pays money to a foreign enterprise or receives money from a foreign enterprise for a service. For this reason, a service produced in Finland for a foreign enterprise or a service bought abroad from a foreign enterprise are both international trade in services. Imports or exports are determined according to the cash flow: if a Finnish enterprise receives money from a foreign enterprise, it is a question of service exports; if a Finnish enterprise pays money to a foreign enterprise, it is service imports.   

We pay expenses for a foreign enterprise belonging to the same group. Should these expenses be included in the reporting?

The inquiry covers the sums paid to an enterprise belonging to the same group and the sums received from the group as long as the basis of payment is some service output (e.g. paid in a lump sum), such as transfer pricing, commissions, licences, IT support or administrative services. The sums paid to an enterprise belonging to the same group are reported in the inquiry according to the function, that is, what type of service it is (see FAQ “How do we select a suitable service item?”)

Are all kinds of purchases and sales of services reported?

The inquiry covers nearly all services where money changes owners between Finnish and foreign enterprises. This covers not only business activity with other foreign enterprises, but also sales and purchases of services between enterprises belonging to the same group. Services to be reported include purchases from a foreign enterprise and sales to a foreign enterprise concerning transport, bookkeeping, consulting and marketing services, licences, IT services, R&D services, construction and project deliveries. Exceptions are travel and insurances which are not reported in the inquiry on international trade in services. Wages and salaries (excluding those paid in connection with construction and project deliveries) are also excluded from the inquiry.

In addition to services, such flows of goods that are not imported to Finland or exported from Finland but which are traded abroad are reported in the inquiry. Such are merchanting and processing abroad. Of goods crossing the borders of Finland only goods exported from Finland for construction in connection with exports of construction services are included in the inquiry.

More detailed instructions on reporting of services and international flows of goods can be read here.

How do we select a suitable service item?

If you need assistance in finding suitable service items, please contact The inquiry uses around 70 different service items from nearly all business areas. More detailed data can be found in the questionnaire and the instructions. For example, insurance and tourism are excluded from the inquiry.

On what grounds is the sale or purchase country of the service determined, by the country of invoicing or delivery?

The sale or purchase country of the service is determined based on the country of the enterprise the Finnish enterprise receives money from or to which the Finnish enterprise pays money for a service. For example, if a Finnish enterprise pays a Spanish enterprise for goods to be delivered from France to Germany, the Finnish enterprise buys or imports freight service from Spain. The price of the transport service is then recorded as service imports from Spain.

Our enterprise sells goods abroad and pays a foreign transport company for the delivery of goods. Are freight charges imports or exports?

Paid freight charges are imports because costs arise for the Finnish enterprise from international service, that is, the Finnish enterprise pays money abroad in exchange for the service offered by the foreign enterprise. Exports and imports are determined by the direction of the cash flow: receiving money is exports and paying money is imports.