State to stop asking for wealth declaration

Residents of Sweden will no longer have to declare their wealth to the state after the abolition of wealth tax next year.

The government had initially proposed that the Swedish tax authority would continue to collect information about taxpayers’ wealth after the tax was abolished. Now Ingemar Hansson, state secretary at the Department of Finance, said the government was making a u-turn on the issue.

“We want to protect the legitimacy of the tax system. It is not the intention that the tax authority should be a public information gatherer or a Big Brother,” he told Sveriges Radio.

But critics have said that to do so would be an unnecessary invasion of privacy, as all tax details collected in Sweden are available to the public. It was also pointed out that continued collection of wealth details would make it easy for a new government to reintroduce the tax.

Jan Björklund, the new leader of the Liberal Party, was the latest leading government figure to criticize the plan to keep collecting wealth information. In his keynote speech to the Liberal Party conference, he argued that “the individual’s right to a private sphere should be protected.”

Next year is likely to be the last year in which Swedes are asked for details of their wealth.