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Building sites, construction or installation projects

Special rules are to be applied when a foreign enterprise conducts a building, construction or installation project in Sweden.

The tax treaties normally contain a time limit that must be exceeded for a foreign enterprise that conducts building operations to have a permanent establishment. The time limit varies in different tax treaties. In some tax treaties, particularly with developing countries, the time limit is six months. In other treaties it is often twelve months.

The working period start when the construction enterprise physically establishes itself at a building site in Sweden. Which activities that are part of a project, and thereby a part of the project time, is affected by what has been agreed between the parties. However, time used for preparatory work is considered to be a part of the project, for example installing a planning office for the construction work. A project is finished when the construction enterprise leaves the construction site. Any adjusting works made in conjunction with finishing the construction is a part of the project time. Also, the final inspection and the time used for adjustments after the final inspection are included. Work conducted due to warranties (guarantees) after the construction company has left the construction site are normally not considered a part of the project time. Temporary interruptions due to weather, lack of supplies/equipment, work force issues etc. are to be considered a part of the project time.

Several construction projects

If a foreign construction enterprise has several ongoing construction projects in Sweden, these are to be assessed individually. However, this requires that they are not commercially nor geographically cohesive. Only projects exceeding the time limit in applicable tax treaties are a part of the permanent establishment. The foreign enterprise has only a single Swedish organisational number and only submits a single income tax declaration for all projects.  

Repairs and maintenance

Renovation/restoration works are covered by the construction rule. However, the construction rule does not cover maintenance work on existing buildings nor work with painting and paperhanging. With repairs and maintenance, the general rule of permanent establishments is used to determine if a permanent establishment is in place. Where the limit is between renovation/restoration and repairs and maintenance is not clearly stated.  

Construction planning and management

Such operations are to be assessed in accordance with the general rule and not the construction rule, if it is conducted at a foreign enterprises planning- and management office in Sweden, and this office also offers services to different building projects the foreign enterprise has here.

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