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Foreign businesses can be permanently established in Sweden. The Swedish Tax Agency makes an individual assessment in accordance with the rules described here. Below are certain important items regarding such foreign businesses reporting of taxes and contributions and their Swedish accounting.
The Swedish branch Act (Swe: Lag om utländska filialer med mera) applies to the required legal form of business operations that are conducted in Sweden by foreign companies and by Swedish and foreign nationals resident abroad. In most cases, business operations conducted in Sweden are subject to the Branch Act. The Act states that business operations that are covered by the Branch Act are also covered by other Swedish rules regarding business operations. Sometimes, a business can be permanently established in Sweden for tax purposes, while at the same time not being subject to the Branch Act.
A natural person living abroad or a foreign legal person will be liable to pay income tax in Sweden if it carries on business operations in Sweden through a partnership in a Swedish general or limited partnership that carries on its operations from a permanent establishment in Sweden. The partner is considered permanently established in Sweden and is liable for its share of the proceeds from the general or limited partnership.
A foreign enterprise with a permanent establishment in Sweden in accordance with the Swedish Income Tax act is to declare special salary tax on pension costs (Swedish: Särskild löneskatt på pensionskostnader, SLP). This applies even if the income from the permanent establishment is exempt from taxation through a tax treaty.
A foreign enterprise whose business operations in Sweden are subject to the Swedish Branch Act is legally obligated to keep accounting records. This applies irrespectively if the business has registered its branch with the Swedish Companies Office or not.
A Swedish or foreign citizen, who lives abroad but carries on business operations in Sweden, is obligated to keep accounting records in Sweden for the operations in accordance with the Swedish Branch Act.
The accounts for the Swedish business operations are to be separate from the accounts for operations conducted abroad, and is to be kept in Sweden. How the accounts are to be made is evident from the Swedish Accounting Act (Swe: Bokföringslagen) and rules made by the Swedish Accounting Standards Board (Swe: Bokföringsnämnden). Furthermore, there is a general obligation to document for any person who is obligated to pay taxes and contributions in Sweden. This means thatanyone who is obligated to submit a tax declaration for the income of business operations in Sweden is obligated to, through accounting records or similar, ensure that a basis for fulfilling this obligation exists and that it is fulfilled.
The rate of Swedish social security contributions to be paid is dependent on if the employer has a permanent establishment in Sweden. To determine the rate of social security contributions that is to be paid, and if any tax deductions are to be made on salaries paid out, it must first be determined if a permanent establishment exists in Sweden. The assessment if a permanent establishment is in place is made by applying Swedish internal law without applying the tax treaties.
In accordance with Swedish law, a permanent establishment exists for a building site or construction or installation project that is carried on for more than six months in one and the same location.
A foreign enterprise with a permanent establishment in Sweden is to deduct tax on salaries paid to employees.
A foreign enterprise that does not have a permanent establishment is not to make tax deductions on salaries to employees, nor pay the general salary fee (Swedish: allmän löneavgift) that comprises a part of the social security contributions. The employee is to make his or her own preliminary tax payments to the Swedish Tax Agency through debited A-tax (Swedish: särskild a-skatt, SA skatt). A foreign enterprise that lacks a permanent establishment can (contractually) agree with the employee working in Sweden that he or she is to pay the social security contributions him or her self.
Regarding value added tax, the term “fixed establishment" applies instead of permanent establishment. It is important to note that these terms differ in meaning.
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