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Swedes shun tax havens in favour of amnesty

TT/The Local/js · 28 Dec 2011, 12:21

Published: 28 Dec 2011 12:21 GMT+01:00

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In 2011, nearly 1,600 Swedes opted to report assets from tax havens to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) in order to avoid the prospect of still penalties for trying to avoid paying tax in Sweden.

“It amounts to about a billion kronor ($146 million) in tax," Göran Hägglund, an analyst at the tax agency, told news agency TT.

The figure marks a four-fold increase in the number of people taking advantage of the amnesty compared to 2010.

The rise in voluntary accounting of overseas assets comes as Swedish tax authorities have stepped up their information exchange with authorities in tax havens such as Switzerland, Monaco and Jersey.

“The network and the exchange of information between countries is increasingly close and keeping one's savings off the radar in Europe, or other parts of the world, is virtually impossible today," Kent Andersson, Head of Taxation at Bankaktiebolag Erik Penser, told Sveriges Television (SVT).

A few years ago, Swedish tax authorities estimated Swedes have about 300 billion kronor placed in accounts in tax havens abroad, primarily in Switzerland and Luxembourg.

But they believe the figure has shrunk somewhat since then.

In addition, new tax treaties have allowed the Tax Agency to identify and tax around 250 individuals and companies in the last two years, resulting in the collection of about 460 million kronor in taxes.

The Tax Agency said it is unlikely to penalize Swedes who have not yet declared their assets abroad.

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“If you have money that you have not declared you have a right to make a correction of that, so long as we have not issued any type of control of your case beforehand," Hägglund told SVT.

Since the tax agency launched its programme focusing on Swedes' assets abroad in 2006, it has collected around 3.8 billion in taxes from 1,640 companies and individuals.

TT/The Local/js (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:46 December 28, 2011 by eppie
Another great way of supporting white collar crime.

If you are increasing cooperation with Switzerland etc. you can find these people and fine the hell out of them.

This method yields peanuts (124 million dollars....come on), and is another way of agreeing with tax evasion.
15:42 December 28, 2011 by Abe L
How about solving the actual reason as to why people put money abroad? The tax-pressure in Sweden is flat out retarded. Why do successful people get punished for making a living? And why do you need to pay taxes on money you've already payed taxes on when you obtained it?
17:03 December 28, 2011 by eppie
@abe L

-first it isn't retarded.

-Second you have a pretty good chance of becoming succesful in Sweden...you will still make a lot of money, and yes you pay some taxes. Your problem being?

-third the tax burden doesn't have to do a lot with the amount of evasion. Lot's of people evade taxes, americans, russians, europeans etc. Probably tax evasion in Sweden is among the lowest in the world.
02:39 December 29, 2011 by Larry Thrash
If the government wasn't so greedy and selfish perhaps they wouldn't have this problem. One's wages and wealth belong to one's self. Taking more than half is legalized theft.
10:51 December 29, 2011 by Lavaux
@Abe L

The tax pressure is retarded, but the better word is "regressive". To understand why Swedes punish financial success by taking it away, you only need to understand Jante Lagen, which can be summed up thus: Do not stick out. Rich Swedes stick out, making their fellow Swedes feel inferior, who respond by taking a big chunk of their income and wealth in taxes. It follows that the main aim of taxes in Sweden is to determine the amount of income and wealth that each individual Swede has after taxation and transfers. It's not about sharing the wealth or redistributing it or "social justice", although these arguments assuage the takers' consciences. Rather, it's about closing the wealth gaps between individuals so that none of them stick out too far from their fellows.

Wealth is freedom, so it's no surprise that rich Swedes save and invest their freedom abroad where there is far more of it. Note how the leftist Swedes respond to these facts. First they argue that Swedish taxes aren't too high. But if that were true, Swedes wouldn't evade taxes because the reward would be less than the risks. Second they argue that raising taxes doesn't change behavior or divert capital. But if that were true, why have they admitted that cutting taxes decreases tax evasion while increasing economic growth? Third they argue that Swedes are used to high taxes and enjoy paying them. But if that were true, why is it that the Swedes most in favor of high taxes pay the least in taxes while the Swedes least in favor of high taxes pay the most?

You're never going to convince most Swedes that their tax system is immoral or unjust or self-destructive, AbeL, as eppie's poorly reasoned and counter-factual response indicates. Worse, your objections to it will eat at you so long as you live in Sweden unless and until you accept it as a cost of living here akin to lousy weather, darkness, high prices for everything that could lead to fun, etc. Adapt to the bad by embracing and enjoying the good as much as you can.
23:38 December 30, 2011 by Kaethar
These arguments... tax evasion exists all over the world no matter the tax rate in the country in question. But as always people will feel the need to make up facts to support their own ideological bias.
20:52 December 31, 2011 by Grokh
how about making them pay for living in the country they live.
12:57 January 1, 2012 by franksfrank
how about learning about concepts such as voluntarism and the non aggression principle.

grokh You are to weak to put a gun to someones head yourself, but will do so just one step removed. your violence is abhorrent

"I didn't sign no damn social contract"!!! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
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