Swedish tax break millions fund overseas home renovations: report

Thousands of Swedes are taking advantage of the tax breaks on offer from the government for home improvements to spruce up their second homes on the French Riviera and elsewhere.

The tax breaks total several million kronor, according to figures compiled by the Metro daily.

The so-called “rotavdrag” is a tax subsidy available to anyone wishing to make renovations or improvements on their homes. It was introduced as an effort to boost an under-pressure building industry and the tax break is on 50 percent of the cost of the work, up to a maximum of 50,000 kronor ($7,200) per person, per year.

Many have used it to make their houses more environmentally friendly, or undertaken larger building projects, though the authorities administering the scheme have over the past year received more than one thousand applications from Swedes doing work on their holiday homes.

The work has included the installation of swimming pools and new kitchens.

Most of the applications are for building work in France and Spain as people look to do up bathrooms kitchens and building facades.

While the tax break is available to Swedes resident in Sweden, there is nothing to preclude their use for homes outside the country, as the deductions are available to any dwelling within the EU.

“As long as the dwelling is within the EU then anyone is eligible. This applies to anyone who pays income tax in Sweden,” said the tax authority legal expert Pia Blank Thörnross to the Metro newspaper.

Last year, of the 1.2 million people who applied for the subsidy, only 35,000 reached the maximum 50,000 kronor limit.

Despite this fact, the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) is pressing to double the limit to 100,000 kronor, reasoning that the move is of no net cost to the state.

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Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority

Two Swedish citizens are suspected in connection with last week’s explosion at the Danish Tax Agency. One of the two is in police custody.

Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority
Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov addresses the press. Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix

Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov confirmed the arrests to press on Wednesday morning.

“Both individuals are suspected of carrying out the detonation at the Tax Agency,” Skov said.

One man, aged 22, was arrested in Swedish city Malmö on Tuesday and will be extradited to Denmark. Once he reaches Copenhagen he will appear for preliminary court proceedings, which the prosecution will request take place behind closed doors.

Swedish newspaper Kvällsposten reports the 22-year-old has no previous criminal convictions in the country.

The second man, a 23-year-old, is yet to be detained but an international arrest warrant for him has been issued, Skov said.

“During the night, we also searched several addresses in Sweden. We hereby confiscated what we believe to be a car used by the suspects,” he said.

“We have one suspect on the loose, which means we must be careful about what we say, out of consideration for the investigation,” he added.

The superintendent did not add any detail about how police were able to connect the two individuals to the August 6th explosion.

Skov also stressed that police do not believe the tax authority blast to be connected to a similar incident at a police station in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighbourhood in the early hours of Saturday.

“There is nothing to suggest (a connection),” he said.