Sweden Issues Tax Avoidance Action Plan
Sweden will appoint an inquiry to study whether tax advisers should be required to inform the Swedish Tax Agency about tax planning schemes as part of an action plan to combat tax avoidance, which also urges companies to maintain their own tax policies at board level.
According to the Government, the introduction of this obligation on tax advisers could help the tax authority respond more quickly to shut down abusive tax avoidance schemes. The terms of reference for the inquiry are currently being prepared.
The idea forms part of a 10-point plan to combat tax avoidance and evasion, announced by the Government on May 11, which calls on companies to put tax issues on the agenda at board meetings. “Corporations should draw up a tax policy and an internal control system to ensure that actions taken by the corporate management are in compliance with the view of the board of directors on tax policy issues,” the plan states.
The plan also calls for a review of its value-added tax laws with the goal of making VAT legislation easier to comply with and enable the Tax Agency to police the VAT system more effectively. Sweden also intends to launch an inquiry into the effectiveness of fines for inaccurate tax returns.
In addition, to counteract the “informal” economy and the use of casual labor, the Government intends to push for the introduction of staff registers in more sectors, including vehicle service stations, the wholesale food trade, and the beauty industry. Furthermore, the Government has proposed that employers report compensation paid to employees in a monthly return. Currently, this is done on an annual basis.
The plan also says that the Government will promote international efforts to curb tax avoidance and evasion, including pushing for more countries to sign up to the OECD Common Reporting Standard, encouraging the recording and sharing of company beneficial ownership data, and calling for the introduction of an EU blacklist of uncooperative territories, with blacklisted jurisdictions subjected to sanctions.