Swedes are known for having a high standard of living which their taxes help to pay.
People know that Sweden's taxes are very high, but they use a progressive tax system meaning that people with a higher income pay a higher percentage of taxes and people with a lower payment pay less rate; in easy words: if you pay more, it means that you earn more. By continuing to read the article, you will notice that it is worth paying taxes when they are seen from a distance, with free education, public health services, well-paved streets, etc.
Politicians in parliament, municipalities and county councils decide what taxes to charge and the corresponding fees from income and consumption taxes.
Taxes are split, a municipal tax and a national tax. A National tax is standard and changes every year depending on inflation. Municipality tax changes per commune and depends on the city or town where people live. For example (based on 2021 tax tables of Statistic Sweden), Österåker municipality rate in 2022 is 28.98 per cent, which makes it the lowest rate. The inhabitants in Dorotea municipality have the highest total tax rate in the country, 35.15 per cent in 2022.
The task of collecting taxes is accomplished by the Tax Administration Agency (Skatteverket in Swedish), which has offices all over the country.
Sweden's tax agency is one of the country's most trusted institutions because of their friendly customer service, for contributing positively to society, and because the procedures can be done digitally, such as the annual tax return, the refund request, etc.
The Agency manages the civil registration of individuals (when a baby has born, the Agency send the personal identification number to the parents) and collects taxes such as income, corporate tax, VAT and Excise tax.
Personal income tax is paid on all income such as salary, sickness benefit and retirement; the employee pays social security contributions.
Corporate tax is a direct tax on a business or company's net income or profits.
VAT (Value Added Tax) is calculated within the final price of products and services that the public pays. In VAT tax, there's a paid percentage that goes from 25%, 12%, 6% percentage or VAT exempt depending on the product or service offered:
A 25% VAT rate applies to most goods and services like financial services, dental care, films via streaming, spirits, wine and beer with an alcohol content above 3.5%, tobacco, and animal feed, among others.
A 12% VAT rate applies to camping services like tent rentals, electricity, showers and foodstuffs.
A 6% VAT rate applies for books, brochures, newspapers, books for children, topographical maps, and theatre entrances.
VAT exempts dancing or/and acting public performance, primary and lower secondary education; upper-secondary education; and higher education, insurance services, wealth, gifts or inheritance, among others.
A large proportion of tax money goes into:
Finance education- education in Sweden is free for everyone who lives in the country from nursery, kindergarten, primary, high school and university.
Health care for children- everyone under 23 years old has free dental care with the Public Dental Service and private dentists; access to medical treatment when ill or injured. Receive support when feeling mentally unwell.
Health care for adults with a limited amount permitted spent by year that covers, for example, ER, heart tests, and allergic tests, every year women can visit a gynaecologist for a preventive check-up, full body check-ups, etc.
Parental leave is 480 days shared by the father (240 days) and the mother (240 days) to dedicate themselves to the care of the newborn so that both parents are involved in the education of their children.
Parental support is money people receive when they become parents, which allows them to dedicate themselves to their children and cover basic needs.
Workplace benefits like moving day (fully paid vacation day) once a year to people can move if they need it. Suppose employees get sick from the second day of illness; they are paid 80% of their salary. If an employee is on long-term disability gets 80% of the salary. It is also covered if an employee needs to visit a mental health specialist—the right to 25 days vacation plus holidays.
The Pension for retirement is the money from people's work and is based on the income received throughout working life. It can be applied from 65 years old and is evaluated by the Pensionsmyndigheten (Swedish Pension Agency). The Agency is the administrator of people's pensions and is paid as long as the person lives. The Pension consists of an income pension, income pension complement, premium pension and guarantees Pension.
Municipal taxes and government grants primarily fund elderly care, offering different kinds of support like housing arrangements to make it accessible, preparing meals delivered at the elder home, and psychomotor and physical stimulation activities to keep them active, among others. All these actions are to make their life easy and independent and to let them live in their own houses for the rest of their days.
The public transportation system is very efficient, and people can get a monthly pass with unlimited travel to go anywhere, including ferries, commuter trains, etc.
Sweden is a country where you can see that taxes are used, the streets are clean, public transport is efficient, the elderly look calm and cared for, the children don't look helpless, and people have a quiet life because they have access to public health and feel safe in their city. They know how their taxes are used.
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