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Swedish tax agency extends court battle over one krona dispute

Published: 23 Nov 2009 16:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Nov 2009 16:30 GMT+01:00

One krona ($0.15) is apparently all it takes to get the ever-watchful Swedish tax authorities to set their lawyers in action, as the agency has opted to launch an appeal following a lower court ruling over a disputed payment.

Back in April, a Stockholm man paid one krona too little in congestion tax after pushing the wrong button while carrying out the online transaction.

Instead of paying the 65 kronor he owed the Swedish Transit Agency (Transportstyrelsen), the man only ended up paying 64 kronor.

While the man eventually paid back the missing krona, it wasn’t registered in the transit agency's account until after the payment deadline, prompting a 500 kronor fine.

The man appealed the fine to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket), which agreed to lower the penalty to 200 kronor.

But the man was anything but satisfied with what he saw as the tax agency’s meager attempt at kindness, and decided to have the case tried in the county administrative court (Länsrätten) in Stockholm.

In late October, the court found in favour of the man and waived the fine completely.

According to the court, the small amount of the payment error, combined with pushing the wrong button resulted in it being “obviously unreasonable” to fine the man for the late krona.

Now the Tax Agency wants to appeal the court’s ruling to the administrative court of appeal (Kammarrätten), arguing that the man’s error was ultimately “within his control and responsibility”, thus making him liable for the late fee, according to current laws governing payment of the congestion tax fees.

According to the agency, the lower court’s ruling in the case “is out of line with earlier decisions from the county administrative court”.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:16 November 23, 2009 by tillerman
Another example of the stupid use of state power by the Swedish bureaucracy. All the time, effort, and lawyers' fees paid by taxpayers is going to far outweigh whatever is collected and it will have little effect on encouraging other taxpayers to pay.
18:37 November 23, 2009 by byke
I would laugh so hard if this became a test case, causing the congestion tax to be classed as illegal as it targets only certain people and clearly discriminates at times.
21:09 November 23, 2009 by Soft Boiled
Obviously common sense isnt as common as the name suggests .. duuuh
21:11 November 23, 2009 by glamshek
In this case the Tax Agency has wasted more than it could gain. The money, the goodwill of is law abiding citizen, the time...
23:58 November 23, 2009 by delusion1982
I am just wondering if these jerkheads at skatteverket are paying for the law suit from my salary tax in some way!
12:55 November 24, 2009 by Rebel
So when you apply for a job with the Tax Agency it's a plus to check "Highly anal retentive" under extra considerations?
15:26 November 24, 2009 by peropaco
The tax authority only employs numpty people. They should all be tied up under water for 8 minutes without oxygen and try to reverse their stupidity.
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