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Swedish Tax authority reports success in the hunt for hidden assets broad as the year saw tax evaders scared out of themselves.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Over 1500 Swedes in 2011 voluntarily moved their money from tax havens back to Sweden. The fear of being discovered and prosecuted appears to be increasing when Swedish tax authority is now increasingly benefiting from information exchange with a number of tax havens.

Some 250 individuals and companies have in years hidden their resources from the Swedish tax authority’s view, in hiding assets abroad. Some of these individuals have been forced to pay about half a million in taxes and penalties to the Swedish state. This is in the ways of some 1500 people choosing to have to voluntarily disclose their assets, following a pardon instituted by the state.

In recent years, the Swedish government has tightened the crew on those suspected to hiding their wealth and assets abroad, thus keeping it away from being taxed or being taxed assessed.

One major force which drove fear in those with resources in the so-called tax havens was the large number of new tax treaties signed with the tax havens for information exchange. Therefore, when the government gave the tax evaders new opportunities to correct their tax assessment, they panicked and rushed to do so.

Some 395 people made a so-called voluntary correction to the taxes assessment for 2010 according to reports and this number continues to increase.


For those resisting the government threats, work continued by checking credit card transactions. Often it is through a credit cards issued by a foreign bank that enable Swedes with hidden money to have access to their assets and use it freely in Sweden. When the cards are used in Sweden, the card holders are investigated by the tax authority.

This makes their life more stressful as if they were claiming some sort of welfare benefits.
In 2011, the Swedish tax authority said that this method could raise revenue from about 250 individuals and companies for a total of around Skr460 million.

Malou Edstrom, head of the foreign Tax Department of the Swedish tax authority told the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter that he is pleased with the outcome.

“It has been successful, particularly in light of the continued increase in the number of self corrections. Several of the new information sharing agreements is in force and we have thus been able to request information from the new agreement countries under the agreements terms. We have had fast response and high quality,” she said.

The authority is seeing more transactions with tax havens and new contracting countries as well as increasing investigations with foreign companies established in mostly Cyprus and Malta.

In total, since the foreign project started in 2006, approximately 1640 individuals and businesses have corrected their taxes this way - and Skr3.8 billion in taxes and penalties have been collected by the Swedish Treasury.

What has made headlines most in the past years was the so-called Peru-approach, which includes several Swedish prominent law firms using a loophole to avoid tax. They did this by sending money to what is described as a mail company in Peru in which only a very low Peruvian tax is paid.

One of those who got stuck in the audit was Bertil Villard, president of pension company,  AMF Pension, who transferred over Skr23 million in this way. He was forced to resign as a result, but was acquitted on charges of tax evasion though there is an appeal by the tax authority on the way

“We continue to expand international cooperation. We will also continue to analyze, investigate and monitor new types of tax arrangement with an international connection,” says Malou Edstrom.
By Teaam

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