Last updated: 10 7 2019
Taxes are a fee charged in order to pay for public expenses. We pay taxes on our income and on goods and services. Income tax is paid to the state, the municipality and the county council.
Why pay taxes?
We pay taxes in order to create a better society together. The basic idea with taxes is that everyone should get the same help and opportunities.
We pay quite a lot in taxes in Sweden, compared with other countries. The reason taxes are high is that the state, municipalities and county councils in Sweden have very wide areas of responsibility. Areas such as education, medical care and infrastructure are financed with taxes.
What types of taxes are there?
There are different types of taxes. Some of the most common types are taxes on work and income, vehicles and traffic, alcoholic beverages and tobacco. This means that you pay taxes on your salary, in order to be able to own and drive a car, and when you buy alcohol or tobacco.
Politicians in the Riksdag, county councils and municipalities decide what taxes we are going to pay and how high they should be.
What do taxes pay for?
Taxes pay for education, medical care and infrastructure, for example:
In school you are educated by teachers without having to pay money. The teachers' salaries are paid with taxes.
When you become ill you receive medical care at a medical care centre or in a hospital. This medical care is paid for with taxes.
If a road needs to be repaired, the repairs are paid for with taxes.
There are many other things that are paid for with taxes, including:
Care for the elderly
The justice system
What does the Tax Agency do?
The Tax Agency is the government agency in Sweden that is responsible for ensuring that private individuals and companies pay the taxes and contributions that the politicians have determined. The Tax Agency's tasks include:
managing the population register
registering estate inventories
investigating tax crime
Anyone who is registered as resident in Sweden and who is 13 years old or over can apply for an ID card (identity card) from the Tax Agency.
Every year, everyone who has earned money has to tell the Tax Agency about their earnings. This known as filing your tax return. It applies for private individuals as well as companies.
At the beginning of the year, the Tax Agency sends a tax return form to the person who has to file a tax return. The form says how much you earned during the past year. You have to check that the information is correct.
If the information is correct you have to approve the tax return. You can do that by sending a text message, phoning, or using the Tax Agency's app or the e-service on the Tax Agency's website. The e-service is only available in Swedish.
If the information in the tax return is incorrect you have to correct it. You can make changes to your tax return using the e-service on the Tax Agency's website. The e-service is only available in Swedish.
If you are unable to file your tax return by sending text message, phoning, or using the app or the e-service, you can file your tax return by filling in the paper form and posting it to the Tax Agency.
If you have not received a tax return form, you may nevertheless be obliged to file a tax return.
On the Tax Agency's website you can order a tax return form from the Tax Agency's ordering service. The ordering service is only available in Swedish.
What happens if you don't pay tax?
Not paying taxes may amount to committing a crime known as tax evasion.
If you work without paying taxes, you get none of these advantages. You are also breaking the law, and risk being sentenced to up to two years in prison.
If you don't pay tax on your vehicle, for example, you will not be allowed to drive it. You will also have to pay a late payment charge. This means you have to pay more than you would have if you had paid the tax when it was due. If you still don't pay your tax, the Tax Agency will hand over the matter to the Enforcement Authority.