Finland imposes tax hike on sugary delights

Confectionery-loving Finns have been dealt a bitter blow this week as the government announced its plans to tax sugary goods. A levy on ice cream, soft drinks and sweets will be implemented, while biscuits, buns and pastries will remain exempt to the rule. The Finnish government announced the plans at a recent general session.

Originally intended to be set at almost one euro per kilogram of goodies, the tax has now been dropped to EUR 0.75 per kilo. When a tax on sweets was last enforced during the markka era in 1999, the level was set at the equivalent of EUR 0.58 per kilogram.

The planned increased will see the price of some sweets shoot up by between one and 15 percent, while ice cream guzzlers could find themselves out in the cold with even greater hikes. Excise tax on soft drinks will also rise from 4.5 cents to 7.5 cents per litre, with the tax now extended to juices, mineral water and coffee drinks as well as fizzy pop.

Along with fattening treats such as biscuits and buns, special diet products, infant formulas and nutrient drinks will stay below the levy’s radar. Rather than a scheme to improve the nation’s health, however, the aim of the move is to increase revenues from taxes and cover the gap created after the abolition of employer contributions to basic pension schemes.

The higher taxes on the finer things in life are estimated to bring an additional EUR 135 million into state coffers each year. They will be implemented at the beginning of next year.