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Finnish motorcyclists win tax battle

The Finnish Government’s proposal of a new tax on motorcycles was defeated in February after an intensive advocacy campaign by SMOTO and other motorcycle lobbyists.

Last fall the ruling parties, the Centre Party, the National Coalition and The Finns, moved ahead with their aim to legislate a new annual tax on motorcycles on top of the taxes (car tax, fuel tax, insurance tax and value added tax) which motorcyclists already pay for. The proposed tax, a fixed sum of €150 per year, irrespective of the length of individual motorcycling seasons, was justified solely by the need to create new income sources for the state. A similar tax, which was also cancelled, was proposed on large boats.

SMOTO, a member of FEMA, emphasizes that this victory once again proves the power of facts over presumptions in defending biker’s rights.

Marja Kuosmanen (photo: SMOTO)

SMOTO president Marja Kuosmanen said: “The tax law proposed by the Government was meticulously shown to lie on poor foundations. The additional income generated by the new tax would have been very small, while the behavioural impacts of the tax would have led to a downturn in consumption and diminishing sales in motorcycle businesses. This would have reduced overall tax income from motorcycling. The motorcycle branch would have suffered and jobs would have been lost. At the end of the day net income to the state could have been even negative.”

Marja continues: “During the campaign, SMOTO repeatedly published this information to the public, the motorcyclists and politicians. Facts began to gain foothold. The small wave grew into a big wave. Virtually at the last minute, just before the decisive parliamentary hearings of the law proposal, the Government backed away. Mounting public pressure and the risk of having to pay a high political price for poor law making were the crucial elements leading to this outcome.”

With a deep feeling of relief, the Finnish riders are looking forward to the upcoming riding season.