Minister wavers over tax

The outlook for the proposal of a new financial tax is not looking bright. After heavy criticism Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson is wavering.

Critics believe the tax would affect 318,000 companies, compared to the 10,700 that are actually active within the financial sector, according to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).

Magdalena Andersson said on Tuesday, “Given that it has such a wide impact, it is uncertain that it would fulfil its task.” She says the responses to the proposal will now be looked at in detail but she is not ruling out the idea of a banking tax. “We want the banks, in one way or another, to be able to contribute more,” she says.

Tough blow for Stockholm

In August 2015 the Swedish government announced plans to make Stockholm a leading financial centre in Europe. Seventeen months later, the same government has plans to levy a 15% payroll tax on the financial sector. Such a move could eliminate up to 10,000 jobs in Stockholm, according to the Swedish Bankers’ Association and consultant Copenhagen Economics.

Andreas Hatzigeorgiou, chief economist at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, is deeply concerned, saying the proposed tax would “knock out Sweden’s main economic artery”.

Banking industry slams new tax

Finance minister Magdalena Andersson has proposed that a new payroll tax of 15% should be levied on financial sector, staring 2018.

The Swedish Bankers’ Association (Bankföreningen) has warned that the new tax will put 16,000 jobs in the sector at risk, while SEB CEO Annika Falkengren forecasts the transfer of banking services to the Baltics.

Swedbank warns that the level of service will be affected, and the cost will be passed on to consumers.

Magdalena Andersson has promised to analyse consumer costs and the transfer of jobs abroad, but is convinced that the additional tax revenues will create growth and jobs in Sweden.