Booze tax could fall to stem illegal imports

The Swedish government's taxation committee is considering reducing the tax on beer and wine, it was revealed on Sunday. But in return, the tax on spirits could be increased.

The move would be an attempt to tackle the illegal import of alcohol, but the alliance parties have been split by the idea.

“I can confirm that discussions are taking place,” said the chairman of the taxation committee, Lennart Hedquist, to Svenska Dagbladet.

The paper claimed that politicians could propose slashing the tax on beer and wine by around 25 percent. At the same time, the tax on spirits would be increased by an amount that would make the measure ‘cost neutral’.

Another member of the committee, Lennart Sacrédeus of the Christian Democrats, said that he is “open to the idea”, while his party’s parliamentary group is opposed to a reduction of wine and beer tax.

The Liberals will address the issue on Thursday, but the party’s member of the taxation committee, Gunnar Andrén, declared himself to be sceptical.

The Centre Party’s committee member, Jörgen Johansson, did not comment but has in the past tabled a motion for reducing the tax on beer and wine.

“We have to get to grips with illegal imports, primarily of beer. A 13-14 year old in a square in an average Swedish town can buy a crate of beer for 120-140 kronor at 1am with a quarter of an hour’s notice. That means something’s wrong,” Johansson told SvD.