Sweden closes in on tax havens

TT/David Landes
TT/David Landes - [email protected]
Sweden closes in on tax havens

In cooperation with its Nordic neighbours, Sweden is putting more pressure on tax havens to loosen their secrecy laws in the hopes of complicating matters for people trying to avoid paying Swedish taxes.


Within the year, Sweden’s Tax Authority (Skatteverket) will likely ink an agreement with at least one tax haven that will allow the agency to access information on companies, accounts, and banking transactions.

“I believe there is a very good possibility that we’ll get at least one, or perhaps more, information exchange agreements before the end of the year,” said Torsten Fensby, project leader for Nordic the tax haven project, to Sveriges Radio.

The Copenhagen-based Nordic Council has been negotiating with several tax havens which have rules making it easier for people to avoid paying Swedish taxes.

While a full list of countries with which the group is negotiating hasn’t been made public, the Nordic Council has announced that discussions were underway with Guernsey, Jersey, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands.

Last autumn the group also reached a deal with the Isle of Man which included agreements on an air and sea access, taxes on physical people, and the treatment of internal pricing questions in exchange for an information sharing agreement.

The Swedish Tax Authority reckons that Sweden loses out on 46 billion kronor ($7.65 billion) in tax revenues annually because of people placing their money offshore.

However, the new agreement won’t affect tax revenues in Sweden, according to Fensby.

“What will likely happen is that capital will shift to another state which has secrecy laws. But the inescapable fact is that every new agreement reduces the playing field for those who devote themselves to international tax avoidance,” he said.


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