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Sweden scraps income-based 'TV tax' scheme

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Sweden scraps income-based 'TV tax' scheme
16:06 CEST+02:00
Sweden's plan to replace licence fees with an income-based tax to fund public broadcasters has been put on ice, according to the ministry of culture, which says that a more thorough analysis into the scheme needs to be carried out.

“It was clear to the committee that its proposal would need further analysis. And that is what we are doing, so there won't be a new finance system in place by January 1st 2014,” said minister for culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth to news agency TT.

The government-appointed public service committee has been working for about a year on a large number of questions regarding the operation of national public broadcasters Sveriges Radio, Sveriges Television and Sveriges Utbildningsradio.

In September, the committee presented their findings with some new suggestions ahead of the next licensing period starting on January 1st 2014.

Among their suggestions was a new fee system whereby an income based TV tax should be paid by everyone over 18 years of age.

Currently, households in Sweden pay an annual fee of 2,076 kronor ($313), which is collected on behalf of the three public broadcasters (SVT, Sveriges Radio and Sveriges Utbildningsradio) by Radiotjänst i Kiruna AB, jointly owned by the three broadcasters.

In return viewers receive five TV channels, 45 radio channels as well as TV and radio on the Internet.

The committee felt that the new scheme would be a way to get to the 12 percent of Swedish households that ought to be paying their TV license fee but don't, costing the public service companies almost a billion kronor each year.

But the ministry announced on Monday that when the proposals were sent out for comment, the suggestion for a new TV tax was not among them. The proposal needs a closer look, according to the ministry, which does not rule out that an income-based TV tax could become a reality in the future.

“No, this remains open, but there are some definite question marks, among other things regarding the Tax Authority's role. But the goal is to find a system, which is supported by the Swedish people and that guarantees freedom for the public broadcasters,” said Adelsohn Liljeroth to TT.

“At the same time as it must guarantee their independence it has to last in the long term and encompass as many as possibly paying,” she said.

TT/The Local/rm

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