STOCKHOLM, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Sweden's centre-left government will only introduce a promised bank tax in 2018 at the earliest, the final year of its current term of office, the country's financial markets minister said.
The government pledged ahead of last year's election to introduce a bank tax to raise 4.0 billion Swedish crowns ($493 million) annually. However, the plans were withdrawn in March as the proposal was deemed to breach European Union regulations.
The government launched a new investigation to ready a proposal but Financial Markets Minister Per Bolund of the Green Party said this would not be completed any time soon.
"Our ambition is to put forward a proposal in the 2018 budget," Bolund told Reuters.
"The financial market is under-taxed. Since they are exempt from VAT, there are reasons to see if they can help finance welfare and investments," he said.
One of the possible solutions the government is looking at is the Danish system, where banks pay a higher payroll tax.
"It is definitely one of the alternatives on the table," said Bolund.
Swedish banks fared well during the financial crisis and are among the most profitable lenders in Europe. However, the bank sector has been highly critical of any additional bank tax and Nordea chairman Bjorn Wahlroos said earlier this year the bank could leave Sweden if the tax is introduced. ($1 = 8.1208 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Johan Sennero and Johan Ahlander; editing by Niklas Pollard)