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