STOCKHOLM Feb 14 The Swedish Tax Authority has
joined the opponents of a proposed tax on financial services,
saying it would hit many more companies than intended and add to
their regulatory burden, it said in a written statement to the
Sweden's centre-left minority government has long sought to
impose a financial services tax, saying the sector - which is
exempt from value-added tax - should pay more to the state.
But critics say a tax would hit the country's financial
services industry, which is a major contributor to the economy
and could push some financial firms to move jobs abroad.
The Tax Authority said the proposal would hit over 300,000
companies, far more than the around 10,000 registered financial
firms, and would affect many companies not under-taxed.
Under the proposal, all companies that have revenues from
financial services would be subject to the new tax, including
retail companies such as car dealerships offering payment plans
The Tax Authority called for several adjustments limiting
the scope of the proposal, should the government go ahead with
"It seems unreasonable that a tax aimed at reducing a tax
advantage for the financial sector would affect almost 300,000
firms which are not operating in the sector," the Tax Authority
wrote in an e-mail to the finance ministry seen by Reuters via
the freedom of information act.
"In many cases, state tax revenues would not be
proportionate to the administrative burden the tax would mean
for businesses," it said.
The Tax Authority joins the competition watchdog in
rejecting the tax proposal and the central bank has also
It has also drawn criticism from the financial sector, which
has said it could push the banking sector that includes Nordea
, Handelsbanken, Swedbank and SEB
to move more jobs abroad.
A government-appointed commission in November proposed the
15 percent payroll tax for financial services, which it said
would raise as much as 7 billion Swedish crowns ($795 million) a
year for state coffers.
The proposal, which has yet to be turned into a government
bill, is going through a three-month consultation process before
the government decides whether to press ahead.
The plan has faced criticism from centre-right opposition
parties, but the government can attach it to the budget bill
which means it would be likely to pass in parliament.
(Reporting by Johan Ahlander. Editing by Jane Merriman)