SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

JOBS

Ten things you need to know about filing your Swedish tax return

It's time to submit your Swedish tax return form. Don't despair: these ten tips should make the process a bit easier to understand, including how the coronavirus affects your taxes.

Ten things you need to know about filing your Swedish tax return
Taxes, everyone's favourite topic. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

1. The basics

First, it’s good to cover the basics of what the return entails. The standard tax return booklet can be a scary-looking creature for newcomers to the Swedish system, but it’s relatively straightforward to deal with for most.

For lots of people it’s a simple case of checking that all of the pre-printed amounts on the tax return are correct, then submitting it for confirmation. The most simple way to submit it is online, using either Skatteverket’s app (which requires electronic identification in the form of BankID) or using their web service, which can be accessed through either BankID or the eight digit security code printed on the form itself.

If there are no changes to be made the form can also be submitted by sending a text message including your personal identity number and signature code to 71144 from within Sweden, or by calling 020 567 100 and following the instructions. If you prefer the old fashioned way, you can send the completed paper form in by following the instructions on the booklet itself.

If your Swedish isn’t great, a handy English language list of all the categories on the declaration form can be found here. Everything needs to be in Skatteverket’s hands by May 2nd at the latest, so keep that in mind if you’re going to submit using the paper method in particular.

Hold your horses before you sign off on everything though: there could be deductions to take advantage of and additional information not present on the pre-printed sheet that needs to be submitted.


Declaring online is fairly simple for many. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

2. Taxes on the sale of a home

Did you sell a Swedish property in the last tax year? That needs to be declared on your income tax return. The date you sold the home should be listed, and in Skatteverket’s eyes that’s the date the contract was signed, not the date you received the money from the sale.

A 22 percent tax on profits from property sales is paid in Sweden, but if you’re using the profit to upgrade to a new house in the country or a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) it is possible to apply to defer the tax. Skatteverket’s website has details in English about how to declare the sale of property.

READ ALSO: A beginner’s guide to buying an apartment in Sweden


If you sold property it has to be declared. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

3. Deductions for service work on your home

If you’ve paid for services like repairs, maintenance or cleaning in your owned home, you could be eligible for ROT & RUT tax deductions, although these should already have been deducted by the company at the time when you paid for the services.

There is also a specification of exactly what kind of cleaning costs are deductible. “Simple cleaning costs” fit the criteria, by which Skatteverket means everyday household cleaning that doesn’t require a trained specialist or heavy machinery like floor buffing machines. Professional cleaning of a property before moving house can also be deducted.


Some cleaning costs are deductible. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

4. Deductions for your journey to and from work

Some journeys to and from work are eligible for a tax deduction, but only for the part of your expenses that exceeded 11,000 kronor per year. If public transport was your method, you can deduct the applicable amount provided the distance between home and work was at least 2 kilometres. For cars or motorcycle, the distance has to be at least 5 kilometres and the time saved on your return journey must be at least two hours per day compared to making the same journey via public transport.

More details for the kind of journeys to and from work that are eligible can be found in English here.


Photo: Anna AF Klercker/TT

5. Deductions for temporary employment in a different location

If you are temporarily employed in a location in Sweden other than the one you live in (like for example while working as six-month paternity/maternity cover or on a short project), deductions are available to account for the increased costs of living incurred.

You must have spent the night where the place of work is located, and that place must be more than 50 kilometres from your permanent home in order be eligible.

The cost of accommodation in the location of your temporary work can be deducted, while meals and petty expenses for the first month at a standard allowance of 120 kronor per day can be too. The full details are available in this brochure.


Based in Stockholm but doing temporary work in Malmö? Good news. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

6. Daily allowances for working abroad

A useful deduction to be aware of if you ever travel abroad from Sweden for work is the daily tax-free allowance called the utlandstraktamente. The amount, which varies between countries, is designed to account for your increased expenses while working abroad compared to home.

The daily allowance for each county can be consulted here, and it is also worth noting that the amount is different for a full day than a half day. If your journey abroad starts at noon or later then the departure day counts as a half a day, while the return day counts as half a day if it is concluded at 7pm or earlier. 

FIND A JOB: Browse thousands of English-language jobs in Sweden


An allowance to lessen the pain of that business trip to Barcelona. Photo: Manu Fernandez/AP

7. Other deductions to watch out for

Require books or newspapers to do your work, but your employer doesn’t provide them? It’s possible to deduct the cost. The same applies to training or studying you pay for in order to help retain your current employment – though not studying you’ve paid for as part of applying for a new job.

Some other work-related costs that are deductible include tools or instruments necessary for work, and work-related telephone calls incurred at your own expense (but not the cost of a subscription or handset).

A list of other common deductions (and some things that are not deductible) can be found here.


If tools are required for your job and you pay for them, you can deduct the cost. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

8. Additional information if you have your own business

If you have your own business your tax declaration form may require additional information to be submitted. Sole traders for example can be asked to submit an “NE appendix” detailing your company’s results for the relevant tax year alongside the income tax return, as well as accounts and VAT (moms) declarations for the year.

A useful checklist (in Swedish) of all of the additional information required as a sole trader can be found here. Skatteverket lists the process for other types of companies here.

Unless your level of Swedish is good and you have a solid understanding of the nuances of Sweden’s tax, it could be useful to get an accountant to help with this if it’s within budget. Better safe than sorry.

READ ALSO: Six tips for learning Swedish… without even being in Sweden


Paying someone else to do it is an option. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

9. When you’ll get some money back

If you use the SMS, app, telephone or online service methods, do not need to make any changes to your tax form (such as adding deductions or additional income), and declare by March 30th (and have a bank account registered with Skatteverket by then), you’ll get any money you’re owed back by April 9th.

If you file your declaration through the paper method or declare digitally by May 3rd, you’ll get any money back by a still not too shabby June 11th.

You can register your bank account with Skatteverket here


April in Sweden can look like this, so a tax rebate may not be the worst thing in the world. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

10. What about the coronavirus?

The Swedish Tax Agency has put together a webpage containing plenty of handy information about what you need to be aware of in terms of changed circumstances due to the pandemic here (in English).

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

WORKING IN SWEDEN

CHECKLIST: Here’s what you need to do if you move away from Sweden

What authorities do you need to inform before you leave, are you liable to Swedish tax and how can you access your Swedish pension? Here's a checklist.

CHECKLIST: Here's what you need to do if you move away from Sweden

Tell the relevant authorities if you’re leaving for more than a year

If you’re planning on leaving Sweden for more than a year, you will have to let the authorities know. The main authorities in question are Skatteverket (the Tax Agency) and Försäkringskassan (the Social Insurance Agency).

Försäkringskassan

You have to tell Försäkringskassan when you leave so they can assess whether or not you still qualify for Swedish social insurance. As a general rule, you aren’t eligible for Swedish social insurance if you move away from Sweden, but there are exceptions, such as maternity or paternity benefits if you’re moving to another EU country.

This also applies to any family members who move with you – any over-18’s should send in their own documentation to Försäkingskassan about their move abroad. If you’re moving abroad with anyone under 18, you can include them in your own report to Försäkringskassan.

If both legal guardians are moving abroad together, both need to include any children in their application. If one legal guardian is moving abroad and the other is staying in Sweden, you need the guardian staying in Sweden to co-sign your application. If you are the sole legal guardian of any under-18’s travelling with you, you don’t need any documentation from the other parent.

You can register a move abroad with Försäkringskassan on the Mina sidor service on their website, here (log in with BankID).

Skatteverket

If you are moving abroad for a year or longer, you also need to tell the Tax Agency. This also applies if you were planning on moving abroad for less than a year but ended up staying for longer.

If you move to another Nordic country, you will also need to register your move with that country’s authorities if you will be there for six months or more. You’ll be deregistered from the Swedish population register the same day you become registered in another Nordic country’s register.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll lose your personnummer – you’ll still be able to use it if you ever move back to Sweden – but you will no longer be registered as resident in Sweden.

Similarly to Försäkringskassan, you will also need to report any children you are bringing with you, and both legal guardians must sign the form, whether or not both guardians are moving abroad or not.

In some cases, you may still be liable to pay tax in Sweden even if you live abroad – particularly if you are a Swedish citizen or have lived in Sweden for at least ten years. This could be due to owning or renting out property in Sweden, having family in Sweden, or owning a business in Sweden.

You can tell the tax agency of your plans to move abroad here.

Contact your a-kassa, if relevant

If you are member of a Swedish a-kassa (unemployment insurance), make sure you tell them that you’re leaving the country. As a general rule, you have unemployment insurance in the country you work in, so you will most likely have to cancel your a-kassa subscription.

If you are moving to another country with the a-kassa system, such as Denmark or Finland, it may pay to wait until you have joined a new a-kassa in that country before you cancel your membership in Sweden.

This is due to the fact, in some countries, you only qualify for benefits once you fulfil a membership and employment requirement. In Sweden and Denmark, you must have been a member for 12 months before you qualify. In Finland, the membership requirement is 26 weeks.

If you qualify for a-kassa in Sweden before you leave the country, you may be able to transfer your a-kassa membership period over to your new a-kassa abroad and qualify there straight away, but this usually only applies if your period of a-kassa membership is unbroken.

Check what applies in your new country before you cancel your membership in Sweden – your a-kassa should be able to help you with this.

Contact your union, if relevant

Similarly, if you are a member of a Swedish union or fackförbund, let them know you’re moving abroad.

If you’re moving to another Nordic country, they might be able to point you in the direction of the relevant union in that country, if you want to remain a member of a union in your new country.

If you’re moving to another EU country, you may be able to remain a member of your Swedish union as a foreign worker with the status utlandsvistelse.

If you chose to do this, you will usually pay a lower monthly fee than you do in Sweden, and they can still provide assistance with work related issues – although it may make more sense to join a local union in your field with more knowledge of the labout market.

If you don’t want to be a member of a union in your new country and don’t want to be a member of a Swedish union, you should contact your  union and ask them to cancel your membership.

Collect relevant documents regarding your Swedish pension

If you have worked in Sweden and paid tax for any length of time, you will have paid in to a Swedish pension. You retain this pension wherever you move, but you must apply for it yourself.

To do so, you will need to give details of when you lived and worked in Sweden, as well as providing copies of work contracts, if you have them. If you have these documents before you leave Sweden, make copies so that you can provide them when asked.

If you move to the EU/EES or Switzerland, you may also have the right to other, non-work based pensions, such as guarantee pension for low- or no-income earners, or the income pension complement (inkomstpensionstillägg).

Currently, you can receive your Swedish pension once you turn 62 – although there is a proposal in parliament due to raise pension age to 63 for those born after 1961 from 2023, so this may change.

SHOW COMMENTS