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Swedes shun tax havens in favour of amnesty

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Swedes shun tax havens in favour of amnesty
Luxembourg is a popular tax haven for Swedes
12:21 CET+01:00
A voluntary amnesty for Swedes with assets hidden in tax havens is paying dividends, according to Swedish tax authorities, who report that the amnesty had brought in close to a billion kronor in new tax revenue in 2010.

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.

“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.

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