A voice for newcomers in Sweden

Does Sweden's tax system really screw the rich?

Sweden is one of the world's most billionaire-dense nations, so is the Swedish tax system really so tough on the wealthy? Photo: Claudio Bresciani / TT

Published: 11.Jan.2018 14:56 hrs

People tend to believe two things about Swedish taxes: firstly, that they are extremely high and, secondly, that Swedes pay them readily because of the high level of public services they receive in return and their commitment to the welfare state.

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A Guardian headline from 2008 proclaims: 'Sweden: Where tax goes up to 60 per cent, and everybody's happy paying it'. An opinion piece for Vox that regularly does the rounds on social media has the title: 'I'm an American living in Sweden. Here's why I came to embrace the higher taxes.'

It's true that Swedes report a high level of satisfaction in the country's public services, and even the Tax Agency itself enjoys a good reputation. According to a 2017 poll by Kantar Sifo, the Tax Agency has the fifth best reputation of Sweden's 29 public authorities, scoring highly on categories such as accessibility.

But unsurprisingly, not everyone is delighted to hand over a hefty portion of their wage packet to the taxman.

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