Friday, November 07, 2014

Sweden's Finance Minister Calls For EU Tax Law Review

Via The Local:

Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson is calling for a review of tax laws in Sweden and the EU after claims that Swedish companies are among hundreds of international firms that have secured secret tax deals in Luxembourg.

Magdalena Andersson met with other European Finance Ministers in Brussels on Thursday night to discuss reports that Swedish companies including Ikea, Tele2, and SEB saved billions of kronor by banking in Luxembourg.

Hundreds of other companies based elsewhere in the EU have also been accused of taking advantage of tax avoidance schemes.

"I have just been to dinner with a number of finance ministers and this is what we talked about. There is a focus on anti-avoidance measures”, she told Swedish television network SVT.

She said that Sweden had already worked hard to combat tax avoidance but said there was “often a creativity among tax lawyers”.

Speaking from Stockholm earlier on Friday, she spoke specifically about Ikea’s role in the scandal.

"IKEA's been a very good advertisement for Sweden in the world. But it is clear that IKEA, as other companies that end up in this kind of context, must consider what it means for the image of the company in the long term”.

EU finance ministers are expected to hold further discussions on Friday, including looking at how EU-wide legislation on tax avoidance might be introduced, an idea already criticized by some leading Swedish economists.

"It is not at all a question of morality. It is about the sovereignty of countries - countries have the right to create their own tax laws, and companies must follow them. The companies have done in this case", Malin Sahlén, an economist at the liberal think tank Timbro told news agency TT.

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