Sweden tops world tax league

Sweden leads the world when it comes to national tax burdens, according to new figures from the OECD. For every kronor earned, Swedes pay more than anyone else in tax, and the figure has risen since 2004.

In fact, it’s a good time to be a taxman in most OECD countries. Increasing incomes for private individuals and companies mean that the total amount of tax paid rose in 17 out of the 24 nations surveyed.

But nobody taxes like Sweden taxes. In 2005 the total tax revenue as a percentage of Sweden’s GDP was 51.1 percent – up from 50.4 percent the year before.

The Scandinavian countries dominated the top five positions in the OECD league table. Denmark was ranked second, with a 49.7 percent tax burden, Norway fourth and Finland fifth. Belgium, where 45.4 percent of GDP is accounted for by tax, came third.

Almost 40 percent of Sweden’s tax revenue comes from income and company profits, while around 25 percent is from social charges and about the same again from tax on goods and services.

The OECD rank

1. Sweden: 51.1%

2. Denmark: 49.7%

3. Belgium: 45.4%

4. Norway: 45.0%

5. Finland: 44.5%

6. France: 44.3%

7. Iceland: 42.4%

8. Austria: 41.9%

9. Italy: 41.0%

10. Czech Republic: 38.5%

11. Luxembourg: 37.6%

12. UK: 37.2%

13. Hungary: 37.1%

14. New Zealand: 36.6%

15. Spain: 35.8%

16. Germany: 34.7%

17. Canada: 33.5%

18. Turkey: 32.3%

19. Ireland: 30.5%

20. Switzerland: 30.0%

21. Slovakia: 29.4%

22. USA: 26.8%

23. Korea: 25.6%

24. Mexico: 19.8%


Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority

Two Swedish citizens are suspected in connection with last week’s explosion at the Danish Tax Agency. One of the two is in police custody.

Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority
Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov addresses the press. Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix

Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov confirmed the arrests to press on Wednesday morning.

“Both individuals are suspected of carrying out the detonation at the Tax Agency,” Skov said.

One man, aged 22, was arrested in Swedish city Malmö on Tuesday and will be extradited to Denmark. Once he reaches Copenhagen he will appear for preliminary court proceedings, which the prosecution will request take place behind closed doors.

Swedish newspaper Kvällsposten reports the 22-year-old has no previous criminal convictions in the country.

The second man, a 23-year-old, is yet to be detained but an international arrest warrant for him has been issued, Skov said.

“During the night, we also searched several addresses in Sweden. We hereby confiscated what we believe to be a car used by the suspects,” he said.

“We have one suspect on the loose, which means we must be careful about what we say, out of consideration for the investigation,” he added.

The superintendent did not add any detail about how police were able to connect the two individuals to the August 6th explosion.

Skov also stressed that police do not believe the tax authority blast to be connected to a similar incident at a police station in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighbourhood in the early hours of Saturday.

“There is nothing to suggest (a connection),” he said.