Swedes bring assets home to be taxed

Swedes bring assets home to be taxed
Wads of cash. File photo: Orwar/Flickr
More and more Swedes are bringing assets abroad to the attention of the Swedish tax agency, a hike attributed to an ever wider net of information sharing, which now includes Switzerland.

Sveriges Television (SVT) reported on Thursday that the number of Swedes who volunteer information about assets abroad has gone up by 21 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.

The biggest sums of money being returned to Sweden come from Switzerland, the Swedish tax agency (Skatteverket) said.

"We have got quite a comprehensive net of information exchange deals with Switzerland, Luxembourg and tonnes of former tax havens," agency spokesman Göran Haglund told SVT. "For example, Swiss banks demand that you show you've paid tax in Sweden, otherwise you can't keep your account." 

Most assets brought back to Sweden came from Switzerland followed by Luxembourg, the US, the Isle of Man, and the UK, according to last year's tally.

In October 2013, Switzerland signed an OECD convention that brought it in line with international standards on sharing information between countries about taxable assets.

"The signing of the convention confirms Switzerland's commitment to the global fight against tax fraud and tax evasion," Switzerland’s Ambassador to the OECD Stefan Flückiger said at the time.

Market experts warned that Africa and Central Asia could become new hide-outs for tax evaders.

In Sweden, the tax agency received notice of 1.5 billion kronor in assets that were being taken home under the revised "self-correction" rules (självrättelse) – in essence a sort of tax amnesty for anyone who wants to register having assets abroad. While the person would have to pay back tax arrears, he or she would not be up-taxed as a penalty for not notifying the Swedish authorities.

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