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Inheritance becoming an increasingly important wealth source in Finland

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INHERITANCES in Finland will increase both in number and value as large age groups die and pass on their wealth to future, smaller generations, reports YLE.

Hannu Nummiaro, an economist at Lähi-Tapiola, stated to the Finnish public broadcasting company last week that the number of inheritances distributed to beneficiaries is expected to increase by 20 per cent by 2045.

With wealth in the country growing and concentrating increasingly on older age groups, the importance of inheritances is growing.

“Over the past decade, Finnish wealth has gained significantly in value,” he said.

Statistics from the Finnish Tax Administration indicate that the total value of inheritances has varied between six and seven billion euros a year, translating to around 600–700 million euros in revenue from the inheritance tax. While the average inheritance is worth roughly 40,000 euros, the majority of inheritances are smaller, with about 60 per cent of beneficiaries every year inheriting less than 20,000 euros.

The inheritance tax is not applied to inheritance portions of less than 20,000 euros.

“The geographical differentiation of wealth and inheritance distributions have the combined effect that, going forward, a larger share of total wealth will likely be owned by a smaller group of Finns,” told Nummiaro.

There has been fairly little research on inheritances due to the difficulty of obtaining longer-term data on inheritances and their development, Matti Tuomala, a professor emeritus of economics at Tampere University, told YLE. He believes the lack of data is indicative of a reluctance to cast light on wealth.

“Not everyone has an interest in the issue, or they have an interest but rather in the way that makes them think let’s not look into the subject,” he commented, adding that ultimately the finger should be pointed at the Finnish Parliament.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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