Thursday. 30.03.2023

Tax authority reveals list of richest Finns on Envy Day

This year the most envied (or admired) person in the country is Petri Aleksi Järvilehto, founder of the gaming company Seriously Digital Entertainment.

He contributed more than 10 million euros to the welfare of society.

The official richest Finn of the year, Petri Järvilehto. Image: YouTube screenshot.
The official richest Finn of the year, Petri Järvilehto. Image: YouTube screenshot.

Today is for many Finns one of the most anticipated days of the year.

They won't celebrate with blue and white flags waving, like when they commemorate independence or some national celebrity, but hundreds of thousands of people in Finland today celebrate being able to spy on the income of their wealthier compatriots and neighbors.

They call it in many ways: Tax Day, Jealousy Day and also Envy Day. It is always celebrated at the beginning of November, when the Finnish Tax Administration (Vero) makes available to the public the data on income and taxes of individual taxpayers in the previous year.

The tax authority even releases for the media a list of the wealthiest people in the country, with the names of those who made more than 100,000 euros. The list dominates news coverage from early morning. But in fact, any citizen can request anybody's income and tax data of anyone. Of course, by paying a fee.

The official richest Finns

This year the most envied (or admired, depending on how you look at it) person in the country is Petri Aleksi Järvilehto.

Founder of the gaming company Seriously Digital Entertainment, Järvilehto's income in 2019 amounted to more than 30.5 million euros, which placed him in the first position of the official ranking of the 'rich'.

According to data from the tax authority, Järvilehto's income came primarily from capital income.

Being rich not only implies earning a lot, but also paying taxes: in 2019 the treasury took 34% of Järvilehto's income and he contributed more than 10 million euros to the welfare of society.

Second on the list was entrepreneur Jorma Jussi Sylvester Takanen of the iLoq company, who reported making 17.2 million euros. Of them, he paid almost 6 million in taxes.

The third was Ilkka Matias Paananen, the founder of the video game company Supercell, with almost 15 million in earnings. Paananen, who was number 1 on the list a year ago, paid more than 7 million euros in taxes (48% of his earnings).

A long-awaited day

The Finns - always attentive to what their neighbors do - confidently explain that this is a long-awaited day for many. Some people use this for example to find out if their coworkers earn more money than they do or to know more about other people's properties.

This tradition, which most Finns defend as a sign of transparency, for others it is just an expression of vigilance and the constant interest of Finns in the affairs of their neighbors.

In most European countries this would be impossible, because laws prevent the publication of income and taxation data on individual taxpayers.

Last year, for the first time more than 230 contributors have been able to request the removal of their data from the public list of the biggest money-earners, under the new European data protection regulation. This year, the names of more than 4,000 people have been removed from the list by special request.

However, the public can still access their tax data, as anyone's, by on site request at local tax offices.

Finnish media brought to an administrative court the decision to allow people's names removed from the list of the wealthiest. The matter is still being considered by the court.

Tax authority reveals list of richest Finns on Envy Day