My truth about tax in Sweden

The Swedish krona is strong
The Swedish krona is strong

Sweden’s GDP will hit roughly 7% in the first quarter of 2011 despite something we are all supposed to fear — high Swedish taxes.

But I love Swedish taxes. Yup I said it. Sure we pay a lot of taxes in Sweden. This includes a 25% sales tax, income tax, and a super progressive tax.

Personally, I’m sick and tired of hearing people complain about higher taxes.

Rich Swedes pay a ton of taxes, up to 65% for the richest. Isn’t that great? In the United States, the rich pay somewhere between 40 and 48%.  You  may have noticed the American economy isn’t doing so well right now. When the tax code in America was more progressive, the country was doing much better than it is today.

Call me a crazy socialist, an old-fashioned European. But you know what, Sweden still has a thriving middle class. The same can’t be said for many other countries, such as the United States, where the middle class is under serious threat.

According to a recent OECD report, Sweden spends more of its GDP on social services such as free education and health care than any other country in the world. Who can argue with that?

And it works. Even Bill Clinton says the Swedish model is back in fashion.

So, tonight, I will go out and have a few drinks, happy to buy a beer, and pay extra for it, knowing that the money is funding something great like free education or public transportation.

Those of you with opinions on taxes, tell us which system you think works best and why.

15 Replies to “My truth about tax in Sweden”

  1. Methinks Sweden’s system would not translate too well in the U.S. Plus Sweden isn’t playing as the world’s policeman. So, there are maybe 9 million in Sweden? That’s one large city in the U.S.! New York City is already trying to operate under the Swedish plan; not working so well.

  2. It’s fine that you like paying taxes and think the “services” you recieve are great. But what if I don’t? What if I’d rather spend my money myself. That’s not really an option as taxation is not voluntary, i.e. I don’t get to choose the services my resoureces are spent on, or choose not to spend them at all. They are extracted from me under the treath of force. I furthermore know for a fact that all of my taxed resources are not directed towards the serivices I recieve, since there is a lot of overhead.

    So I have a question for you. If I do not want to direct my resources towards something I disagree with, are you going to advocate that force be used against me?, are you willing to make me conform to your ideal by threatening me with violence, or will you allow me to disagree with you…?

  3. Yeah, you forgot to mention that.
    But suicide rates in Sweden are far from highest in the world.

    FYI: (according to WHO)
    41. USA: 11,2 (suicides /100,000 people)
    30. Sweden: 12,2

    12. Russia 21,4
    2. South Korea 31,2
    1. Lithuania 34,1

    And I don’t even like Sweden that much…

  4. Hi there—found you via a search for american/swedish taxes. Am an American planning to move to Sweden with my dual-EU citizen husband (one citizenship is Swedish). How is it paying taxes back in America, too, for you? Trying to figure out what the situation will be like for us…


  5. Haha… nice to read your comments… I’ve been a lot in USA and found that it was/is boring like all the other countries in the world, and still it is very interesting like all the other countries in the world… Taxes: gosh, it gives us a lot. In June my health was bad and surgery cost me around $200, including time at hospital, ambulance, surgery (drilling hole in head and suck the liquide out), X-ray, taxi back home and money for the time I couldn’t work… School is of course free… Dentist for the kids are free… And suicide… gosh – it’s a myth… the suicide statistic is higher in USA…. My conclusion is: more and better education for american kids… Enough now… 🙂

  6. I wish the taxes in the US for the rich were 40-48%. The top marginal tax rate is 35% and those that are extremely rich where most of their income is from dividends, pay closer to 15%. This is why you are seeing extreme wealth inequality in the US, but the radical capitalists keep pushing for even lower tax rates.

  7. An important tax in Sweden that Gabriel seems to have forgot is payroll tax, that along with income tax is paid from all employees’ salaries. Payroll tax is a “hidden” tax in Sweden, which means that you can’t see it on your payslip. This means that most Swedes pay about half of their gross incomes in taxes.

    1. Hi Mikael,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m interested in it. Can you send me a link to that information about?

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