On October 28, 2021 the Swedish Government submitted a bill proposing the introduction of a so-called tax risk. Under the proposal a tax liability will arise in the event of a “simplified indebtedness” within the taxpayer group (attributable to its operations in Sweden) which, as per the beginning of the financial year, is equal to or greater than SEK 150 billion (excluding intra-group indebtedness and provisions).
The tax base is to be linked to liabilities of the credit institution, and the rate of the proposed tax will be 0.05% of the tax base in 2022 and 0.06% of the tax base from 2023 on.
The threshold amount of SEK 150 billion will increase annually based on an index. All liabilities within a group should be included, except the following:
· Intra-group debt;
· Provisions and untaxed reserves; and
· Debt which is not attributable to Sweden (i.e. debt in a non-Swedish group company which is not attributable to the business of a Swedish branch/Swedish operations).
There had been concerns that the newly to be introduced risk tax might constitute illegal State Aid. On November 24, 2021 the European Commission however announced that it concluded that the Swedish risk tax on credit institutions does not constitute State aid. In this respect the European Commission stated the following:
“The European Commission has found that Sweden's legislative proposal to introduce a risk tax on large credit institutions does not constitute State aid. The proposed risk tax will apply to credit institutions with total liabilities exceeding €15 billion (SEK 150 billion). This represents around 90% of the aggregated balance sheet total of credit institutions in Sweden. Such large institutions could cause significant indirect costs for the Swedish society, should a new crisis in the financial sector occur. The risk tax therefore aims at improving Sweden's ability to cope with the indirect costs stemming from a potential financial crisis. The Commission has assessed the Swedish risk tax and has concluded that it neither confers a selective advantage to the entities to which the risk tax does not apply nor constitutes an attempt to circumvent EU State aid rules. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the measure does not constitute State aid under EU rules. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.56348 in the State aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.”
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