Other instructions for the operation of an association

Regulations concerning rules

The rules (bylaws) of an association must contain the details mentioned in Section 8 of the Associations Act (see models under 'Purpose and activity' below).

Name

The name of the association must be sufficiently different from the ones previously entered in the Register and it must not be misleading or contrary to proper bahaviour.

Domicile

Not more than one municipality in Finland can be indicated as the domicile of the association.

Purpose and activity

Models in Finnish and Swedish.

Members of an association

An association may have natural persons and organisations having legal capacity, also foreign, as members. If the primary purpose of the association is to exercise influence over State affairs, it may have as members only Finnish citizens and foreigners residing in Finland, or registered associations whose members meet the requirement.

Liabilities of members

Liability to pay fees must be included in the rules. Other special duties of members must also be stated in the rules.

Rights of members

The most important rights of members are the right to participate in the operation of the association, the right to vote and the right to be elected to the bodies of the association. If the association wants to restrict these rights for example in respect of a certain group of members, such restriction must be contained in the rules.

Executive Committee

The size and term of office of the Executive Committee must be stated in the rules. The minimum size of the committee is the chairperson and two members. An association may provide for a larger Executive Committee in its rules. The size of the Committee can also be determined by indicating the minimum and maximum number of its members, for example the chairperson and 2 to 5 ordinary and 0 to 2 deputy members.

The chairperson of the Executive Committee must be a resident of Finland. This requirement also concerns the vice-chairperson. The Finnish Patent and Registration Office may on request grant an exemption from this requirement. The chairperson of the Executive Committee must not be legally incompetent and other members of the Committee must be 15 of age or older. A bankrupt person cannot act as a member of the Executive Committee. Restructuring of debts is not an obstacle to serving as a member of the Committee.

Auditors

The number and term of office of the auditors has to be stated in the rules. An association must have at least one ordinary and one deputy auditor. An auditing organisation may also serve as an auditor.

Accounting period

The accounting period is a 12-month period specified by the rules.

Ordinary meeting

The rules must contain provisions on the date of the meeting in which decisions are made on the association’s statutory matters (see the model).

Manner of and period for convening a meeting

The meeting must be convened in an evidentiary manner (such as by letter, announcement in a newspaper or journal, e-mail to members who have given their e-mail address; oral invitation is not acceptable).

Use of assets in the case of dissolution

The rules must specify a non-profit purpose for which the assets are to be surrendered.

Persons entitled to sign the name of the association

The chairperson of the association is always entitled to sign its name, unless this right is not restricted (two together) or extended (also other persons are authorised to sign the name) by a provision in the rules. A person who is legally incompetent or bankrupt cannot sign for the association. Restructuring of debts is not an obstacle to signing for an association.

In matters concerning taxation of the association advice is available from the Tax Office of the town or city where the association is registered.

Foreigners

In Finland the freedom of association also covers foreign natural persons and foreign organisations having legal capacity. Consequently, in Finland foreigners may found associations, join them and act in them, also as members of the Executive Committee, and be entitled to sign the name of the association. The only restriction is laid down by section 35(3) of the Associations Act, according to which the chairperson has to be a resident of Finland. The restriction also applies to the vice-chairperson. The Finnish Patent and Registration Office may grant an exemption from this restriction. See the instructions on how to draw up a petition.

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Latest update 08.01.2014