Woman wins court case over elusive decimal point

A woman from Eskilstuna in central Sweden has won a protracted court battle with the authorities over a decimal point she neglected to include in her 2003 income tax declaration.

Despite claims that she had made an innocent mistake, Ingrid “Ninni” Lundqvist was ordered by the country administrative court to pay a penalty tax of 19,000 kronor, a decision that was later upheld by the administrative court of appeal.

But on Thursday Ninni finally got the nod from the supreme administrative court that her imperfect mathematical punctuation would not result in a hefty fine.

The error occurred when Ninni was entering the sum to be deducted for travel to and from her place of work. For twenty years she had made deductions for her journey from her home in Ärla to her job as a nurse at Mälar Hospital.

In 2003 the deduction amounted to 14,835.2 kronor, or 14 835,2 as the amount is written using the Swedish notation. But Ninni forgot to place a comma between the 5 and the 2, Eskilstuna-Kuriren reports.

This significant monetary discrepancy did not go unnoticed by tax officials, who wondered why a nurse was deducting two thirds of her annual wage for travel expenses.

“When they got in touch from the tax office in Eskilstuna and asked why I had deducted such a large amount, I immediately explained that it was a mistake. I apologized and hoped that would be enough,” she told Eskilstuna-Kuriren.

It turned out to be anything but enough as the tax authorities launched a court case that would take three and a half years to fully resolve.