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Swedes pay 70 percent of salary in taxes: study

18 Oct 2012, 12:35

Published: 18 Oct 2012 12:35 GMT+02:00

Workers who earn 25,000 kronor ($3,810) per month end up paying 69 percent, or 17,200 kronor per month, in taxes, according to an analysis carried out by Swedbank.

According to Statistics Sweden, the average salary of a municipal worker in Sweden in 2011 was 25,000 kronor.

Meanwhile, two-child households earning 55,000 kronor per month contribute 38,000 kronor in taxes, Swedbank found.

The sum includes taxes deducted from one's paycheck; value added taxes paid on consumption; as well as payroll taxes paid by employers.

All told, taxes account for Swedes' largest monthly expense by far.

"Taxes visible in our paychecks are one thing, but when you include taxes on consumption and payroll taxes, taxes end up being three times as high," Maria Ahrengart of Swedbank's Institute for Personal Finance (Institutet för Privatekonomi) said in a statement.

In 2011, Swedes paid a total of 1.56 trillion kronor in taxes.

According to Swedbank's analysis, which traced exactly where Swedes' tax money is spent, municipalities and the pension system consume most of what Swedes pay in taxes.

"It's good to know what the money actually goes to and how tax money is divided," Ahrengart told the TT news agency.

Of the 17,200 kronor in tax generated by a monthly salary of 25,000 kronor, 6,100 kronor or about 35 percent, goes to municipal taxes, while the pension system receives 4,300 kronor, or about 25 percent.

Taxes paid directly to the state account for just under 20 percent of the worker's tax bill, or about 40,000 kronor per year.

Of that sum, about 1,700 kronor goes to help pay Sweden's European Union membership fee, with an equal amount going toward foreign development aid.

About 3,000 kronor is spent annually on education, compared with 2,500 kronor on defence and 4,200 on children and family programmes.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile, of the 73,000 kronor paid in local taxes annually, elderly care consumes the largest amount -- 14,000 kronor, or about 19 percent -- while childcare and education account for about 30,000 kronor, or 41 percent.

"Much of what we pay in, we get out again in different ways," Ahrengart told TT.

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Your comments about this article

13:14 October 18, 2012 by robban70226
sad but somebody must pay for all the people staying home playing pocker in their dator and chattng in FB collecting money from Social, AND it wikll NOT get better with this spoiled generation of Swedes too lazy to work.. sad sad
13:23 October 18, 2012 by RobinHood
One hopes that those who argue on these forums that Swede's should pay even more tax will have the wisdom, the good grace and the dignity to shut up.
13:26 October 18, 2012 by Migga
Sweden should immediately leave the European Union, the only thing they get out of it is a bill.
13:34 October 18, 2012 by Europaia
Migga, no other country in the EU pays this much tax. These are all Swedish decisions. Sweden would be better off following the example of other EU countries and lowering its taxes. Why don't you suggest cutting foreign aid?
13:56 October 18, 2012 by Zombie
I cry everytime i see may paycheck, but what can I do?

I have to support the system so many others abuse.

I´m an honest person and that is my downfall.
14:05 October 18, 2012 by saw
Who comments on these articles? Not native Swedes that's for sure. I've NEVER met a native born Swede that complains about taxes. All the surveys I've read of Swedes have people willing to pay HIGHER taxes for improved elder care, school, hospital etc.
15:37 October 18, 2012 by saab

Yes, I am willing to pay more, up to 99.99%
16:14 October 18, 2012 by Great Scott

Once again you write gibberish with no content, have you ever for one moment ever had the thought "I must put my brain into gear before I open my mouth".

If you read you at not paying taxes for nothing, they go towards your future, a way of preserving money so you don't spend it all at once. If you live until you are 100 you will receive 35 years of salary at 80%, plus the cost of putting you in a care home. Of course if you don't want to pay go and live somewhere you don't pay taxes and you can work for the rest of your life without care and die in pain.

You also need to read what "Saw" has said.

Yet another reminder to change your user name, the real Robin Hood was a man of the people, the put his name in disgrace.
16:15 October 18, 2012 by Svensksmith
I pay a hefty matrimony tax. My wife gets my paycheck.
16:56 October 18, 2012 by millionmileman

Then I wonder what measly stipent Denmark gives it's citezens back as pocket change?
18:28 October 18, 2012 by Grokh
funny how swedes pay so much and yet get so much out of it.

free healthcare, free education etc.

americans get nothing but want to pay less and get more lol
18:36 October 18, 2012 by cogito
@saw (#6) If it's true, as you say, that Swedes don't complain, that's the worst thing I've heard about the people yet, as it confirms the insulting caricature "Dumb Swedes." It means they have been brainwashed to think of themselves as children or cretins, incapable of deciding how to spend their own money.

And if it's true that you have never met a Swede who complains about taxes, it tells me you hang out with the takers, not the makers.

btw, what is your obsession with NATIVE (sic) Swedes. Racist much?
21:21 October 18, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Germany is aspiring to be like you in Sweden. Plenty of wasters landing here also that need support.
21:46 October 18, 2012 by kanjo
Oh my, I wonder if any one ever compares what they get from sweden relative what they pay into the system....I would love to see the results.
22:54 October 18, 2012 by Skåne-American
This looks like fuzzy math. You can't count the employer avgift as part of a worker's tax bill unless you also give the worker a "virtual" 30% salary increase.
22:59 October 18, 2012 by althegreatest
Now i know why Tatra and IKEA are not actually Swedish companies. Kinda rediculous really. Hats off to all the Swedish companies that stay put and employ tax accountants to dodge paying such taxes. If Swedes pay such taxes the public service delivery should be top notch.
05:07 October 19, 2012 by Programmeny
I watch all these people commenting and can't help but wonder: Do you people suffer from multiple personalities?

Take the one named "Grokh" for example.

He said: "funny how swedes pay so much and yet get so much out of it.

free healthcare, free education etc.

americans get nothing but want to pay less and get more lol"

Now let's break that down a bit.

How in the world can you include "pay" and "free" in the same sentence?

You just said it yourself, Swedes pay so much and get so much out of it.

It is not FREE healthcare nor FREE education. It is PREPAID Healthcare, and a shitty one that is.

And we all know what happens to unused pre-paid things, they expire.

There are people out there who do not get sick, nor have any children, and still pay the same taxes. How is that fair? Why should I pay for someone staying a year at home, getting the same salary as me, because she decided to get cheeky and got herself pregnant?

Why should I pay for people who have no idea on how to minimally protect themselves from illness and keep themselves healthy?

And in the end, healthcare in Sweden is not only A) Prepaid but both B) Much Worse than private and C) Much more expensive in the long run.

Consider this: You pay monthly for it, and yet maybe you get help from a doctor that really requires an investment about once every five years, if even.

I would rather pay the doctor every time I needed one. That would ensure that the ambulance actually comes when I call it, that would ensure that the doctor would actually have an interest in seeing me, that would ensure that I won't wait for a week to see a doctor, that would ensure a lot of things.

You don't need government offered healthcare in order to let all citizens get healthcare, you just need to ensure that everyone has a paycheck or if disabled, help from the state in the form of a paycheck, not in the form of a lot of "free" things that they don't need.
05:19 October 19, 2012 by dawntreader
As an American, I wish we had a system more like yours. People die over here for lack of healthcare and the elderly who are not well of end up in the worst nursing homes or dying alone in their house and being eaten by their dogs/cats their body found months later when a neighbor decides to find out what that funky smell is...
08:27 October 19, 2012 by saw
When I first moved to Sweden from the USA, before I learned Swedish, I found this site helpful, but was surprised that most of the commenters use it as a venue to complain about Swedes. But, now I'm fairly sure that most of the people who comment are just ignorant Americans that have never been to Sweden.

The longer I live here the more I love Sweden taxes and all!
08:40 October 19, 2012 by muscle
I am willing to pay more taxes provided that I remain getting respect for my work and every body in sweden has equal life style and less poverty!

and i am not a swede!
09:08 October 19, 2012 by azimuth
#17 very well said!! And I totally agree with you.
09:40 October 19, 2012 by bryan73
Interesting conversation.

It's never really fair to make direct comparissons to tax systems and rates in different countries that have very different social structures. It's much more complex than just comparing percentages.

Let's look at the U.S. where I lived a lot and worked in different states. Work in New York City, you pay federal taxes, New York State taxes, New York City taxes, and could also be paying taxes to another state if you live outside New York. Then you pay social security taxes, plus your employer pays social security taxes. Plus your employer pays for your healthcare insurance and that of your family. But it doesn't end there. If you have kids (I didn't when I worked there but many of my friends did), you have to begin setting aside around $500 per month to save for a decent college education.

Having said all that, taxes are too high in Sweden and there is too much fat in the system. Too much social welfare and too many people taking faked sick leave (like several people I know currently taking time off for stress, paid for by the government). With the global economy what it is, there won't be room for such luxuries much longer. Sad to say, I know my job can be oursourced tomorrow to somebody sitting in India who would certainly be more productive.
10:35 October 19, 2012 by smilingjack

and for all that you get a whole 2 weeks annual leave.

have to remember also that a lot of americans have to survive on kissing butt - ie tips and are expected to pay tax on those too.
10:43 October 19, 2012 by Skåne-American
In the US, the health care system is completely rigged against the taxpayers in favor of the insurance industry. The gov't picks up the tab for the the most expensive (i.e. uninsurable) groups -- the elderly, the chronically ill, the disabled, the indigent, etc. -- through Medicare and Medicaid, while the private sector insures healthy working people, who are obviously far less expensive to treat.

People without insurance are the biggest drain on the system, because if their medical bills get too high, they can discharge them through bankruptcy court. And if they get too sick to work, they go on Medicaid. Although, that should change once the health insurance mandate goes into effect.
11:13 October 19, 2012 by smilingjack
commented on the australian tax system under the story on the australian ambassador this morning. obviously didnt resonate well. story has been buried and has more comments than other articles here. naughty naughty.
11:51 October 19, 2012 by CCVB
How can you say that healthcare is free???? I pay 150kr each time I see a doctor, 300kr to go to akut hospital so hows that free?????????????? have you all looked at your elec, water, phone etc bills????? 80 pct of it is only taxes, Sweden has been reported to be the most taxed country in the world, yes, even in front of Denmark ... perhaps in DK you pay a lot of taxes but you actually do get "free" healthcare, free education, free nursing homes when you neeed one, elderlies are well looked after, there is social care, unemployed people do not starve and can still afford food and heating etc etc so please, stop talking about Sweden as this wonderful magical country because it is not. far from it and FYI, I do live in Sweden, I dont intend to stay, hopefully, another couple of years and I am out, my hubby is Danish and I lived in the UK and Belgium before so I do have grounds to compare!!!!!
11:59 October 19, 2012 by Keith #5083
#19 saw + #6

Totally agree (I came from UK and just love the fairness and real democracy of this country).As for costs, well many things are now much cheaper in Sweden than the UK - I no longer bother bringing stuff back from the UK on a 'cost saving' basis.

#15 Skane American

Yep, it seems the habit of banking orgs nowadays to present unbalanced figures, as you very correctly point out it is hard to count an employer's tax as being paid by an employee.

#3 Migga

I used to be just like you, but then I started to look further than my own nose and found that, actually, the EU was not such a bad thing.I mean if you simply took the claimed EU payment amount and added it to the 'defence budget amount' it would still look good compared with many nations-and the EU has been instrumental in bringing peace in Europe for decades. But,hey, don't let facts stand in the way of your prejudice.
12:07 October 19, 2012 by stigskog
No one seems to comment on the evil immorality of the state.

You say to your small children -"don't hit", don't take", "don't threaten" because it is universally preferable behaviour. But the state uses violence, threats and kidnapping to steal 70% of peoples income.

People say, but that's democracy, that's what the majority want... but if the majority wanted to rape the minority would that be okay ? no ? so how come its ok to steal and kidnap.

You can have a government that is funded by voluntary taxes only, but it is a huge risk, because as soon as the massive prosperity arises out of peoples freedom the state will get greedy for its share.

To paraphrase the late Murray Rothbard said 'Society is the sum total of voluntary interactions between people' ... note the word voluntary, so that excludes the parasitic state.
13:15 October 19, 2012 by what would thomas paine do
Swedish "healthcare" is an Anthropogenic Hazard.
13:25 October 19, 2012 by cogito
"The longer I live here the more I love Sweden taxes and all! (#19)

Many would agree with you. They can usually be found lying on the sofa, living off a Swedish woman or the taxpayers.
14:30 October 19, 2012 by Beavis
Why on earth is VAT included?? If you take this into consideration most countries will have high rates, is it just to xreate the sensationist headline??? Income taxes on average are around 30% In many countreis a-kasse or prsi is not voluntary. who when you add all the other stealth taxes, you pay a little more in Sweden- but not much..so long as the social democrats dont get in- then the rates will go way way up (as they have promised) to pay more out to the unemployed
15:21 October 19, 2012 by Svensksmith
@dawntreader #17

Be careful what you wish for.
17:10 October 19, 2012 by Grokh
@Programmeny swedes pay taxes. they dont pay for education.

the government invests the money in education so that people get free education.

or are you saying every american that pays taxes are giving their money to pakistan , afeghanistan etc?

in several other european countries people pay tax, and then pay for education.

oh for fucks sakes how stupid are you?

if i pay taxes and the whole society benefits , doesnt it make it a better society for myself to live in ? or are you one of those that would rather be rich and have people stab you for your shoes ?

so what if sick people get treated or educated out of the taxes i paid? the society benefits and makes the country better.

your paranoia over a small percentage of people who abuse the system is idiotic, there will always be those who abuse it thats what prison is for.

if you want to pay low taxes and live in a country where you get nothing out of the money you paid then go live in some horrible country like USA.
17:15 October 19, 2012 by cogito
Svensksmith, I think you meant #18. And dawntreader could be describing healthcare in Sweden:

"... elderly who are not well off end up in the worst nursing homes or dying alone in their house and being eaten by their dogs/cats their body found months later when a neighbor decides to find out what that funky smell is..."

Do a search in TheLocal archives for examples.
00:27 October 20, 2012 by Ironmistress
Road to serfdom.
14:07 October 20, 2012 by Roy E

Programmeny has it right. You forfeit your right to choose to the government, so that you can have the government provide for you. Then you try to claim the moral high ground, thinking there is something noble about abdicating personal responsibility, decision making, and accountability to government bureaucrats. It's ridiculous.

You should get yourself a tattoo that reads 'Born to be a Serf'.
15:25 October 20, 2012 by lgboevin
As an american when I first read this was that I was glad I'm only in the 28% bracket. When I add up all the extra ways we are taxed, that puts my income way higher than the 28%. Thinking Sweden has free education, free medical and a array of social benefits that we do not have here in USA. Our social security system needs major work, mostly due to being missmanaged over so many years, if the government doesn't change it we will have run out of money in 20 years. I have worked my entire life and due to a work injury I had to retire 10 years early and also I was eligable for disabled benefits of which I have never used in the 35 years of work. I'm very happy we have a disability system. Many people have their hand out saying the government needs to help them, some really need help and I'm all for that but some do not, they are just lazy and have the entitlement attitude. We could use some of Sweden ideas on education, enviromental, social services to enhance our country. Remember many issuses in the world are money ( greed) problems. We all value money and want a good life for ourselfs and our children. My opinion is Sweden had so many great ideas, so does the USA, just wish we all could come up with a system thats fair and balanced.

We had a Sweden exchange student living with us a few years ago, I leaned so much about your country since then. She is now a big part of our life, just like a daughter . I'm proud of where I live and hope you are too there in Sweden, I don't always agree with the decisions our government has done but thats the power of our voting system, there so many places in the world I would never want to be due to the government or lack of it. I'm hoping sometime to visit your country to really view the beautiful land you live.
19:31 October 20, 2012 by Ironmistress
In the Middle Ages, the serfs usually paid 10% of their income to the landlord and 10% to the church. The church took care of the social security instead of the state and maintained schools, hospitals and poorhouses.

Medieval serfs' taxation rate was 20%. In the year 2012, the Swedes pay 70% of their income as taxes. It is three times worse than in the Middle Ages.

Why do Swedes tolerate such kind of rip-off?

Where do all that tax money go? Paying off the Islamist invader? Mind you, paying Danegeld will get you rid of the geld but not of the Dane.
00:12 October 21, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
@Ironmistress - LOL Serfs didn't get paid. They got beaten and everything taken from them except the odd turnip....

Swedes have an open Democracy. If they like how they arrange things, wonderful for them! They can always vote for one of the Right wing parties en masse if they don't. Americans prefer their system for them. Otherwise they'd change it (recall Russia around 1917 and then 1991).

Swedes put a higher value on collective community than Americans who put individual freedom at a higher value. Chinese value collective servitude (beats me why...I don't get it!). Should I force the Chinois to live as I do? Or let them infringe on my freedoms and perogatives as a subject of Her Imperial Britannic Majesty? Let the Swedes arrange their own affairs as suits them best. They live in Sweden, not Texas or Ethiopia (or even in the Heaven that is Norway!)
00:30 October 21, 2012 by Eric1
Socialism/Communist is the fastest way to serfdom.
01:22 October 21, 2012 by BackpackerKev
Am I just dumb or the fact that Sweden has such high tax rates, and is also a capitalist country just doesn't add up?

You have High tax in a socialist country but an average tax in a capitalist country..

To me it just seems greedy, or the fact that Sweden's basic infrastructure is so in-effective, it cost the same for a country of 9 million that is does for one 4-5 times the population. i think the government read the book, How to be a capitalist country for dummies, but got no further than the index page.

I am still absolutely disgusted that in the majority of places you must pay to use the toilets, as though the basic need of a human is a profitable business and allowed to be seen as such. In Central Stockholm, it takes 3 people to make sure the toilets are cleaned(10 stalls), and just one guy will take your money and then put it in the slot for you that you could have done yourself and charge 10kr.!! If this is not the very premise of an in-effective business model, you can only guess how much tax is spend on 5 people doing the job that 2 can do...
16:24 October 21, 2012 by Just_Kidding
What are these municipalities offering in return for a 35% piece in salaries?
20:56 October 21, 2012 by cogito
@lgboevin (#37) "We had a Sweden exchange student living with us a few years ago, I leaned so much about your country...."

Not sure what planet your exchange student came from, but it can't have been Sweden. For the zillionth time, health care in Sweden is not free. It is wildly expensive. Moreover, Swedish health care is unhealthy and uncaring.
21:55 November 4, 2012 by AmandaB12
How many of the comments on this page come from Sweden's tax funded propaganda institute (Swedish Institute) I wonder? Maybe we can start reducing taxes by abolishing this shameless propaganda office? I see The Local publishes their propaganda without explaining that it is government propaganda.

Sweden must be the closest thing to the U.S.S.R. the world has ever seen and its a shame. Just reading about the homeschooling refugees, but I guess that's what we pay taxes for, so the regime can persecute loving innocent families who don't want to send their children to the regime's indoctrination and obedience training centers so they can learn how great it is to work 70% of their miserable centrally planned lives for that monster they call a "government." BTW, calling the plunder of 70% of your labor "democracy" is insane. Even slaves in the American south got to keep more of their labor than that! They got "free housing" and "free food" and "free healthcare" also! Wake up Sweden!
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