Tax authorities to investigate Swedish-owned firms overseas

Swedes who start companies in Estonia and Great Britain are to receive closer scrutiny from Swedish tax authorities.

Officials from Sweden’s National Tax Board (Skatteverket) suspect that many such companies are used to evade taxes on commercial activity taking place in Sweden.

Skatteverket’s Angela Langenskiöld told Dagens Nyheter (DN) that Swedes who start companies in Great Britain for a few pounds can then open subsidiaries in Sweden.

The number of Tax and Contributions Liability notification forms sent to Skatteverket from British subsidiaries operating in Sweden has tripled over the last three years.

Advertisements and marketing campaigns for starting a company in Estonia feature the country’s low taxes, including a corporate tax rate of 0 percent.

Taxes on dividends and income are also lower in Estonia than in Sweden.

Around 100 Estonian companies have filed notification forms with Skatteverket, according to DN.

The agency’s goal is to uncover cases in which foreign companies are set up with the sole intention of avoiding Swedish taxes.

“We also want to make sure those who are not acting intentionally are properly informed of the rules,” said Langenskiöld.

Skatteverket calculates that fraud and mistakes result in about 133 billion kronor in lost revenues every year.