Banking, Money and Taxes in Sweden

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Sweden has a highly sophisticated banking system, although it has several idiosyncratic features that when combined with the language difference, can present initial challenges for expats.

Banking in Sweden

Money in Sweden - 100 KronaExpats should open a local account at one of the main commercial banks: Handelsbanken, Foreningssparbanken, Nordbanken and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB). They all offer full Internet banking facilities, but most services are currently only in Swedish. When opening an account you’ll need proof of address, passport, details of employment, and a personal tax number which can be obtained from the local tax office.

Cheques are seldom used in Sweden. Instead a document called giro is used; this gives permission for one bank to transfer funds electronically to another. Many bills will have a giro slip attached that can be detached and posted or deposited to facilitate payment.

Regular banking hours in Sweden are 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Major credit and charge cards are accepted throughout the country, and in many cases are more commonly used than cash.

Taxes in Sweden

Expats moving to Sweden are taxed depending on the length of their stay. To be considered a Swedish resident for tax purposes an expat must be:
  • Living in Sweden, defined as having an actual and permanent home there; or
  • Spending more than six months continuously in Sweden per year, with short holidays and exits disregarded. 
A certain tax free allocation is provided on a sliding scale based on income. The basic deduction ranges from 12,500 SEK to 32,700 SEK. For example, at the top scale if an expat’s taxable income is 333,400 SEK or over, the tax free basic deduction is 12,500 SEK.

Expats may be eligible for tax relief under certain conditions. Those who may benefit are specialists, qualified scientists or experts with scarce knowledge and skills, and key senior employees. The tax relief exempts the following and can only apply for a maximum of three years:
  • 25 percent of salary and benefits;
  • moving expenses to and from Sweden;
  • two return tickets to the home country annually for the individual and family members; and
  • children’s school fees in Sweden.
In order to qualify for the expatriate tax relief, an expat must file an application for tax relief within three months of starting employment at the Tax Committee (Sw. Forskarskattenämnden). Note that one must apply in person. A civic identity number, and if one is remaining for a year or more, a personal identity number (personnummer) will also be issued. This process is called folkbokföring. Those expats working here but staying under a year will only receive a coordination number (samordningsnummer).

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