Online booze shops refuse to cooperate with tax board

Online booze shops refuse to cooperate with tax board
A number of suppliers of online alcohol have indicated that they will not release details of their customer's transactions to the Swedish tax authorities.

The National Tax Board (Skatteverket) announced on Thursday that it plans to track down people who have failed to pay Swedish tax on alcohol purchased over the internet.

Within the next few days letters labelled ‘regarding alcohol tax’ will be sent out to around 6,000 people who failed to pay the tax. They will also be faced with a late payment fine of 1,000 kronor ($142) per order.

The board has managed to track down non-payers by contacting Spanish and German authorities and requesting them to gather order lists from a number of companies selling alcohol online.

According to the tax board, people who import alcohol to Sweden without paying taxes can be hit with the fine at any time up to six years after buying the alcohol.

But some companies quickly made it clear that they would not cooperate with the tax board.

“There is no way we are giving out any information about our customers, and the authorities can’t force us,” Kari Sjöblom, owner of Vinboden, told Dagens Industri.

According to Sjöblom, Vinboden’s turnover has increased by 40 percent over the last month, resulting in sales of 2.5 million kronor.

“We’ll take this to court if we have to. We are not obliged by law to give out this information,” he said.

Stefan Broberg from Sprit & Vin was equally reluctant to reveal customer details.

“We have not received a request and we do not intend to give out any information,” he told Dagens Industri.

The tax board however has said that it will continue with its current policy.

“What these companies say is up to them. We will get whatever information we can from any foreign authorities willing to lend us a helping hand,” the board’s Niclas Rönnberg told Skatteverket.