Mr Urban Bäckström, Director General of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv), and chairman of the organisation’s eight- member Tax Commission, presented the commission’s final report on Wednesday, June 24th, 2009.

Need for a clearer and more transparent tax system
The main conclusions of the report are that Swedish taxes have to be cut, mainly on capital and wages for skilled labour. Taxes also have to be better visualised through a simpler and clearer system and transparent information on the total taxation. There through better conditions for business enterprise can be created.

Thorough work behind the report
Members of the Tax Commission, representing various parts of Swedish commercial and industrial life, have been travelling around the country, arranging meetings and listening to around 1000 entrepreneurs from the very north to the very south. The information gathered at these meetings forms a basic foundation in the commission’s work. In hearings with experts in the field the commission has formed an opinion on how future taxation should be designed in order to improve Swedish competitiveness and standard of living.

In addition, around 10 researchers and experts have written penetrating analyses on strategic and current challenges concerning taxation. In one of these reports, the two economists, Professor Ulf Jakobsson and Jan Herin, specifically looked into taxation in a knowledge society and Sweden’s attractiveness as a goal for foreign investment and for highly skilled foreign workforce.

Opticom conducts vast survey among company top executives
One important source of information for this report was a survey where Opticom interviewed 200 respondents in leading positions, mainly CEO’s, in both foreign as well as Swedish owned companies of various sizes and present in various business areas.

One result of the survey is that the Swedish entrepreneurial climate is generally perceived in a positive way even though the overall result is impaired by negative aspects like high individual taxation and restricting Swedish labour laws.

The individual climate in Sweden, including questions on wage levels, taxation, disposable income, career opportunities and general quality of life, was rated less positively than the entrepreneurial climate. 71% of respondents say it is more difficult to recruit skilled co-workers to Sweden compared to other countries and only 4% said that it is easier.

The respondents were also asked about Sweden’s position as a destination country for recruiting skilled co-workers and according to the results the main weakness is by far the taxation. The authors’ conclusion is therefore that if Sweden wants to be able to develop its knowledge driven economy in a globally competitive environment it is necessary to lower the high and progressive income tax.

For more information, please contact: Mats Nygård at mats (at) opticom (dot) se or +46 850309008.

To access the Tax Committee’s full report please click on the following link:
http://www.svensktnaringsliv.se/…/article80819.ece

To access the underlying reports regarding income tax and knowledge society as well as the Swedish business climate please click on the following link:
http://www.svensktnaringsliv.se/…/article74442.ece

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