Under current legislation, an athlete may fund a maximum of 50 percent of his or her athlete income in a calendar year, or € 100,000. Funded funds must be withdrawn within 10 years of the end of the career.
The possibility of financing means that, for example, according to tax data, a hockey player who has earned EUR 200,000 could have earned EUR 300,000 in a tax year if he has transferred EUR 100,000 to the fund.
When examining income and tax information for hockey players, the difference between the tax year and the game period must also be taken into account.
The tax year does not follow the same rhythm as the game season. So the player may have had a completely different contract in the spring than in the fall. The player has also been able to play part of the tax year outside Finland.
This is how the fund works
An athlete earning more than 9,600 euros can transfer half of his or her annual income from sports in Finland to the Athletes’ Fund tax-free. The maximum amount of funding is EUR 100,000 per year.
Sports income does not include income earned abroad or received directly from a sponsor, so it cannot be transferred to funds. According to the Income Tax Act, the funds transferred to the fund must be withdrawn at the end of the career within 2-10 years.
The career is considered to have ended when the player so declares or at the latest when the income from the sport has fallen below EUR 9,600 for two consecutive years. Continuing a gaming career abroad does not trigger the lifting obligation.
Football players playing in the Veikkausliiga are also allowed to fund their earnings, but due to the low domestic salary level of the sport, the advantage belongs only to a few and high-income earners.