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Sweden ends discrimination against EU apartment buyers

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18:58 CET+01:00
Sweden has given in to EU pressure and made it easier to carry over capital gains tax when moving overseas by abolishing a rule that failed to recognize foreign forms of apartment ownership.

People who sold their main residence in Sweden were previously only allowed to postpone payment of the 20 percent capital gains tax indefinitely if they spent the proceeds on another property in Sweden.

The European Commission forced Sweden to change this rule, as it discriminated against people who were moving to another EU country, and broke the principle that EU citizens should be able to move freely around the union.

The government changed the rules in January to enable people with houses or tenant-owner ('bostadsrätt') apartments to carry over the tax if they bought another house or tenant-owner apartment in another EU country.

The Swedish Tax Authority refused to recognize forms of apartment ownership other than the Swedish bostadsrätt system, in practice preventing people from carrying over the tax when they bought apartments overseas.

Under the bostadsrätt system, people technically buy a share in a tenant owner association, which gives them the right to occupy a particular apartment. The system is almost unique to Sweden.

A number of people who have bought apartments in other countries have been sent bills by the tax authority, E24 reports. Now, however, officials have given in to pressure from the European Commission and extended the opportunity for people to carry over the tax to owners of foreign apartments.

People who have already been sent a demand to pay the tax "have the right under Swedish law to have their case retried and can then get their money back," tax officer Lars Tegman told E24.

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