Several economic measures were introduced during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in spring to mitigate the impact on businesses, including a so-called business transition support scheme (omställningsstöd) for businesses who lost at least 30 percent of their revenue in March and April.
The deadline for applying for the scheme was August 31st, and the Swedish tax agency Skatteverket has now presented figures showing how many applied and how much money has been paid out.
In total, 23,289 applications for business transition support were sent to Skatteverket, of which 17,700 have so far been approved. A total of 1.3 billion kronor ($150 million) has so far been paid out as part of the scheme, a figure that is expected to increase after recent applications have been processed.
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Around 1,100 applications worth 186 million kronor were rejected in a preliminary probe of applications, for example because certain costs such as rent were exaggerated. But Skatteverket's report stresses that rejections were not necessarily due to attempts at cheating the system.
“The errors could be both intentional and unintentional, not all the details of this support are really straightforward,” said Skatteverket control coordinator Conny Svensson, in a statement.
Skatteverket has also launched in-depth investigations into another 1,000 businesses that have received support via the scheme. That has so far led to a total of 19 cases being reported to the Swedish Economic Crime Authority. In some of these cases dividends were paid out to the owners despite the companies claiming the opposite in their application, said Skatteverket.
The business transition support scheme is expected to put a dent in the Swedish state coffers to the tune of seven billion kronor. The majority of companies that have applied for and received the support work in the hotel and restaurant industry or in transport and storage.