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Swedish tax law under intense pressure as the government must defend robustly its double punishment rule or …

Monday, 05 March 2012
Sweden is a very sensitive country when it comes to taxation. This is because despite the gradual fall of its welfare provision the country continues to be one of the most radical taxing countries in the EU.

Even is a tax criminal is being fined, it is customary for Sweden to provide a double penalty for the so called tax criminal. This is explained in that in Sweden, tax penalties may also be fined for the same unrelated issues. Now the cries of the people who have been victims seem to have been heard as voices coming from the European Court now requires that Sweden provides an explanation for the reason of the double penalty.

"For the individuals who suffer, it is a tremendously important issue. This is of great interest to many people who have been sentenced to penalties relating to taxation and other criminal penalty, "says Börje Leidhammar, attorney and counsel in three of the tax-related targets that are now being dealt with by the ECHR.

The issue concerns an article of the Convention which says that no person shall be punished twice for violating the tax laws.

In Sweden, it is possible that a person first obtains a tax surcharge from the Tax authority and subsequently be prosecuted and convicted with more fines or imprisonment for the offenses relating to the original tax crime.

The European Court has seen the case and wants to understand why the Swedish government makes its tax system works as it does.
Borje Leidhammar, who also is professor of Tax Law at the University of Gävle, believes that Sweden will be forced to give way.
"It's very large sums involved. By extension, changes in Swedish regulations mean that many people would want a new trial. Individuals who believe they have been violated may demand a reclaim," he says.

The Swedish government is expected to respond no later than June 13. Then those individuals who appealed will receive their response from the government six weeks later. Over the next few months there is also expected to be several other studies notice on the issue.

"Right now the State is really under the microscope. This is a first step towards a change, "says Börje Leidhammar.

Both Norway and Finland had earlier rules similar rules to Sweden. However, they have removed the double punishment.
By Team

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