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'Sweden is a tax paradise': Ikea adviser

Paul O'Mahony · 1 Mar 2010, 17:00

Published: 01 Mar 2010 17:00 GMT+01:00

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Tax expert Göran Grosskopf, chairman of Ingka Holding, Ikea's parent company, was instrumental in moving both the flatpack furnisher and packaging giant Tetra Pak out of Sweden for tax purposes. Ikea left for Denmark in 1973 before later switching to the Netherlands, while Tetra Pak set up headquarters in Switzerland in 1981.

But writing in a newsletter ahead of the Transfer of Ownership in Private Businesses conference, to be held in Stockholm at the end of March, Grosskopf claims the companies would have remained on home turf had today's tax system been in place at the time.

By abolishing inheritance tax, gift tax and wealth tax, Sweden has become attractive to business owners who previously struggled to build up private savings outside of their companies, he claimed

"It's very important for Sweden and is a fantastically positive development. Sweden is a tax paradise if you set aside income tax. Businesspeople think this is great," said Grosskopf.

There are however two barriers preventing Sweden from reaching its full potential, according to the Switzerland-based businessman.

"Firstly, a lack of confidence that the reforms will remain in place and, secondly, the fact that Sweden still has both direct and indirect income tax on employment," he said.

Story continues below…

Grosskopf said that both Ikea and Rausing family enterprise Tetra Pak would "without a doubt" have stayed in Sweden if today's tax conditions had been in place earlier, and if they could be assured that the tax system would remain stable in the long term.

"Taxation of companies and owners is no longer an argument against Sweden, it is an argument in favour of Sweden, said Grosskopf.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

21:58 March 1, 2010 by GLO
Private ownership willl always create wealth. Tax policy must be fair to the risk taker -builder. Those that want to ride the wagon for free willl always cry for more. So, a wagon fills with free loaders, They always cry out when times are hard. Tax policy changes and the builders flee. Swedish family's came to the USA for just an opportunity, no free ride. So, I am sad to see my country seeking to give away what others have worked so hard for. Sorry a stable country that rewards workers-builders, always struggles to maintain a balance of opportunity with limited public welfare. Opportunity to succeed or opportunity to take. Sweden is looking better for us builders all the time. I have greater praise for a clerk than a Life-Long Political Leader or Wagon Rider.. Rember, Wealth builds opportunity and nothing will ever change that fact.
23:29 March 1, 2010 by zircon
Why are you so pleased with yourself now Sverige?
00:29 March 2, 2010 by Beavis
Dont worry bag womans goign to come in and has promised to raise these taxes again, so stay in Switzerland and keep your jobs!
08:18 March 2, 2010 by Nemesis
This article has a good point.

Companies need to be based in Sweden, not overseas. If they can be helped to come back with some minor legal changes, then that is a good thing. Keeping employment in Sweden is more important than political dogma from left, right or whatever.

The laws on the ground need to be changed radically to favour small to medium sized industry so as to allow more start ups and SME´s to expand. They are the main employers and the next multinationals.

Large companies usually can not grow anymore anyway, so only need conditions that will encourage them to stay.

The SME´s are what the government should be concentrating on. Also hoooking those SME´s up with university engineering, materical science, computing, biotechology and other departments needs to be made a priority. Any hinderance to universities hooking up with locally grown industry needs to be removed.
11:49 March 2, 2010 by hpunlimited
In order for the large companies to move back to Sweden, the labor laws needs to change. It is easier and cheaper to outsource jobs to India and China where a person can be fired from the company immidietly and replaced the day after. In Sweden it is a minimum of 3 months and then labor unions causing trouble etc. Also the labor tax in Sweden is horrible. It is like the Swedish governments do not want to create jobs. Taxating companies for having employees is just plain stupid.
12:25 March 2, 2010 by Britswedeguy
I haven't noticed Sweden suffering because of companies leaving.

Companies are always going to push for lower taxes - they do that in every country.

The question is - are you willing to have poorer public services so that the big companies can get richer?
13:06 March 2, 2010 by here for the summer

did you miss the volvo sale and the saab closing ? Also did you notice all the great pharma companies that started in Sweden and moved.
15:11 March 2, 2010 by 2394040
All through history, the goal of the "aristocracy" is to keep everyone else in a state of subservience. So why be surprised if the aristocracy moves a business out of Sweden.Their goal is to maintain their power at any cost. The aristocracy couldn't possibly believe in equality of opportunity or equality of anything else. When the aristocracy moves to another country, they associate with the aristocracy in that country and continue to oppress the already-oppressed. Always remember: Freedom is not a universal value. The lust for power is the universal value. Also keep in mind that power and money are synonymous; you can't have one and not have the other.
04:33 March 7, 2010 by jackx123
Unfortunately the fact remains that companies are NOT desperately trying to come into sweden. they rather have their tax structure as to remain outside. It is very unfortunate when the opposition act as a loose gun and make statements that clearly indicates to abolish the inheritance and gift taxes. Good luck Sweden.
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