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TAX

How to pay your Swedish tax bill before the deadline

Thousands of Swedish taxpayers risk getting contacted by debt collectors if they fail to pay their tax arrears on time.

How to pay your Swedish tax bill before the deadline
Don't miss the Swedish tax vocabulary in this article. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

A total of 1.8 million Swedish taxpayers have been told to pay tax arrears, and Sweden's national debt collecting agency (known as the Enforcement Authority in English or Kronofogden in Swedish) on Thursday urged anyone with outstanding payments not to miss the deadline.

“Everyone has a lot going on and it can be easy to miss your arrears. We therefore want to remind all taxpayers to have another look in their digital mailbox and not wait until the last moment to pay,” said Johan Kranz, analyst at the Enforcement Authority, in a statement.

According to the Swedish Tax Agency, the vast majority of people pay their tax arrears on time, but in January this year it handed 34,000 cases from 2017 over to the Enforcement Authority. Of those, 9,500 people had no previous debts, and two-thirds of them then paid their tax debt within 30 days.

This indicates, according to the Tax Agency, that many of them could have avoided ending up in a situation where they had to pay the extra fee for when the case goes to the Enforcement Authority.

If the Enforcement Authority has to be called in to recover the debt, it adds another 600 kronor ($62) on to the tax bill. If a person fails to pay, they risk getting a worse credit score, which could make it harder to for example get a mortgage, rent an apartment or sign up to a phone deal.

So how do you know if you have to pay tax arrears?

You should have been sent a final tax statement in August, which tells you if you are owed money back (skatteåterbäring) or if you did not pay enough last year and have to pay tax arrears (kvarskatt).

If your arrears are less than 100 kronor you can postpone the payment until they reach that sum.

The deadline for most people is November 12th. It is also worth noting that the interest on any deficit in your tax account is high: 16.25 percent, which could send costs soaring even more for late payments.

The payment procedure is slightly different depending on whether you pay the bill from a foreign bank account or a Swedish bank account, and more information is available in English on the Tax Agency website.

Vocabulary

fee – (en) avgift

tax – (en) skatt (bonus trivia: this is also the Swedish word for 'treasure')

taxpayer – (en) skattebetalare

debt – (en) skuld

payment – (en) betalning

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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.

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