Santa Claus Declares Bankruptcy Over Finnish Tax Bill

Sorry kids, but you’ll be upset to hear that Santa Claus has gone bust. This isn’t the Grinch speaking either, as Santa’s official office in Lapland, Finland declared itself bankrupt Thursday over an unpaid tax bill of 200,000 euros ($228,000).

Santa’s Office is part of a theme park up in the Arctic Circle called Santa Claus Village, and while several other companies in the park are not affected, Santa has a huge unpaid tax bill owing.

According to the Independent, things have got tough for the Santa Claus Office after the recession caused a sharp drop from Russians, who were once the most frequent visitors to the attraction. But it’s not only the Russians that can’t afford to visit Santa Claus these days.

In the past, around 300,000 visitors came every year to see Santa Claus in his official residence in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland. Now with recessions and austerity hitting Europe, there are fewer visitors from Spain, Greece, Italy, and Portugal as well.

Jarmo Kariniemi, the managing director of the Santa Claus Office, told AFP that with the current economic downturn, it started off with fewer tourists “from Greece, then from Spain, Italy and Portugal, and eventually from Russia.”

However, there is still hope for the kids this year as Juha Seppala, head of the Rovaniemi Regional Development Agency, said that they would ensure Santa Claus is there in the future.

“There is no way the village would be left without Santa Claus. The activities will continue in one way or another.”

As the report of the bankruptcy hit the media, Santa’s helpers were quick to give out the message of business as usual for the spirit of Christmas. They took to the official Santa Claus Office Facebook page, saying they will keep smiling and hope for a better future.

“Despite the current news, lets keep smiling and work for a better future. Tide will change, we have a week to turn this around. With love, the Santa’s Helpers at Santa Claus Office.”

The latest post on that page thanked Santa’s supporters and posted a link to an Indiegogo campaign to try and raise money to pay the tax bill.

It seems Santa Claus has one week to pay his outstanding tax and with the “Save Santa Claus Bail out fund” crowdfunding campaign, they hope that Christmas will be as usual up in Lapland, Finland. With only four months to go until Christmas, this is, of course, becoming even more urgent.

While at the time of writing, they have only raised 177 euros in the 20 hours since starting the campaign, hopefully Santa’s little helpers will happily contribute to pay the bill.

[Image: Santa Claus Finland CC BY-NC 2.0 Visit Finland]