• Sweden's news in English

Sweden's tax hunt abroad yields 'record haul'

13 Mar 2013, 13:29

Published: 13 Mar 2013 13:29 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Since 2006, the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) has been on the hunt for unpaid taxes associated with money moved to tax shelters and bank accounts abroad.

Last year, the agency's efforts paid their biggest dividends yet, yielding 800 million kronor in unpaid tax revenues, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reported.

The biggest share of the previously unpaid taxes came from the UK, where Swedes had stashed enough cash to bring in 249 million kronor in tax.

Next in line was Luxembourg, where the agency reaped 160 million kronor, followed by Switzerland (158 million) and Cyprus (128 million).

In most cases, the money has escaped the long arm of the Swedish tax man through secret payments to overseas accounts or through complicated transactions involving multiple shell companies.

"Many countries can be involved in the same case," the agency's Göran Haglund told DN.

"A company in Panama can, for example, have a parent company in Cyprus and a bank account in Switzerland or Luxembourg."

However the UK is "still used most frequently" as a go-between country for different transactions, according to Haglund.

According to the tax agency's own estimates, the Swedish state is owed a total of 133 billion kronor in tax that hasn't should have been paid but hasn't yet reached the agency for one reason or another.

Story continues below…

The figure amounts to 5 percent of Sweden's gross domestic product (GDP).

TT/The Local/dl

Follow The Local on Twitter

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:25 March 13, 2013 by Great Scott
This is not even the top of the iceberg. This is only to fool the public that the government is doing something good. The real stash is in the Cayman Iles and is probably 100 times this amount.
15:25 March 13, 2013 by Phillynilly
If taxes weren't so high in the first place, then there wouldn't be any need to stash cash offshore.
02:04 March 14, 2013 by Eric1
Socialism is the greediest of the greedy. The rate of taxation is totally immoral but because of class warfare against the successful it's popular among the "schadenfraude" class.
09:55 March 14, 2013 by SimonDMontfort
I just wonder how much this "tax hunt" cost the Skatteverket to undertake? And what the actual net gain is...? Or does the 800m SEKs mentioned represent the net gain..?

Presumably, even if the search had yielded nothing, taxpayers still pay for it
12:55 March 14, 2013 by Reason and Realism
@ #4

You can bet that the proceeds of the tax hunt vastly exceeded the costs, thanks to regulations that allow governments to request information from each other on financial assets and transactions to track funding sources for terrorism and money laundering.

A couple of years ago the USA said to Switzerland: 'Hey, we think some terrorists have money in Swiss bank accounts. Tell us about all of your account holders who are living in America', and just like that the Swiss handed over information on tens of thousands of US tax dodgers, despite Switzerland's centuries-old history of offering secret Swiss bank accounts.

Unless you keep your money in your pillow case, then everything you do with your money leaves an electronic paper trail, which can trace that money back to you. Either find legal loopholes that reduce your tax burden, or pay your taxes, or elect people who will change the laws so that your tax burdern is reduced.
17:32 March 14, 2013 by SimonDMontfort
Well yes - my questions were 'rhetorical', and I'm well aware that cross-border co-operation goes on.

My problem is that I pay about 50% of my UK based income, in various taxes, to Sweden (according to current legislation) but feel that a) I personally see very little in return and b) as a non-Swede, ex-pat, although I can vote in local elections, I'm NOT allowed a vote in the national elections, where quite a lot of tax laws may be made.

Ever heard of "No taxation without representation"?

09:27 March 15, 2013 by Reason and Realism
¨@ Simon #6

I hate the high Swedish taxes, but the glass half full view is this: The most tangible benefit to living in Sweden vs the UK may likely reveal itself several years into the future, because Sweden is way ahead of the UK and most of europe in terms of living within its means (debt to GDP ratio).

In other words, the UK will eventually be forced to enact a major devaluation of its currency to deflate the value of its unsustainable debt holdings, which would also deflate the real value of your pension there, along with large reductions in Government services there.

The most hideous Swedish tax in my opinion was the wealth tax (1.5% payable every year your entire net worth, including your home, except for the first 1 million SEK). The re-introduction of this tax would have me pack my bags and head for the exit ASAP.
14:18 March 17, 2013 by cogito
R and R,

The re-introduction of the wealth tax would have many heading for the exit. Some already have their bags packed in anticipation of a Soc.Dem. comeback in the next election.
10:52 March 18, 2013 by SimonDMontfort
@ Reason and Realism & Cogito

Agree about the impact of the wealth tax. Jeez!

As for the UK's 'major devaluation of its currency' I reckon the policy of QE (quantitative easing) has the same effect as printing more money.

Lol! I could get nearly 14 SEKs to the GBP, a few years ago - now its nine point something
Today's headlines
Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available