Tax cuts will mean harder work, says Right

Lower taxes could be on the cards for if the centre-right coalition wins the next election. As the Moderate Party and its allies launched their shadow budget, there were warnings that tax cuts would need to be paid for by solid, Lutheran hard work. If that doesn’t sound attractive, reports that estate agents living in luxury flats were paying no tax showed that there is a way to pay less without working more –as long as you don’t mind explaining it to a tax inspector.

The centre-right opposition parties continued to show their unity by putting forward joint budget proposals this week. Well, almost. All the parties agreed that less tax was a good thing, and that this required more people to be working than at present, reported Svenska Dagbladet. The Moderates wanted to cut tax the most – saying that their plans to drastically cut local taxes would save someone on a middle-income 15,000 crowns a year.

One way to help pay for all this was to cut benefits. The Moderates’ proposal would see unemployment and sick benefits would be cut to 65 percent of earnings, although other parties, such as the Christian Democrats, thought that this went too far.

The Centre Party’s big idea was to abolish wealth tax as well as cut income tax, reported DN.

“Work should be rewarded – this is an old Swedish tradition that we need to rediscover,” said Centre Party leader Maud Olofsson as she launched the party’s budget proposal.

While many Swedes are undoubtedly keen on paying less tax, DN exposed a group that appeared not to want to pay anything at all. The paper did a survey that revealed that 112 estate agents in Sweden paid no tax in 2003. Aftonbladet reported that over half of the estate agents surveyed lived in the exclusive Östermalm district of Stockholm.

Aftonbladet reported that the tax authorities were investigating a number of those estate agents who currently pay no tax.

“Some estate agents do not keep accounts at all – they do business outside the firm,” said Eva Bergholm Guhny of the Swedish Tax Authority, who told Aftonbladet that tax crimes could result in prison sentences of up to six years.

The way in which our taxes are spent was also in focus this week. A survey in showed that three quarters of people were against public transport being made free, a policy that the Left Party and the Greens have promoted of late. The cost, which DN said would be 57 billion crowns a year, would be covered by taxpayers’ money.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet