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The Rise and Fall of Swedish Wealth Taxation

Author

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  • Henrekson Magnus
  • Rietz Gunnar Du

    (Research Institite of Industrial Economics, IFN)

Abstract

We study the evolution of modern Swedish wealth taxation from its introduction in**1911 until it was abolished in 2007. The rules concerning valuation of assets, deductions/exemptions and tax schedules to characterize effective wealth tax schedules are described. These rules and schedules are used to calculate marginal and average wealth tax rates for three differently endowed owners of family firms and individual fortunes corresponding to a large, medium-sized and small firm. The overall trend in the direct wealth tax was rising until 1971 for owners of large and medium-sized firms and for individuals of equally-sized wealth consisting of non-corporate assets. Average direct wealth tax rates were low until 1934, except for 1913 when a progressive defense tax was levied. There were three major tax hikes: in 1934, when the wealth tax was more than doubled, in 1948 when tax rates were doubled again and in 1971 for owners of large firms and similarly sized non-corporate fortunes. Effective tax rates peaked in 1973 for owners of large firms and in 1983 for individuals with large non-corporate wealth. Reduction rules limited the wealth tax rates from 1934 for fortunes with high wealth/income ratios. The wealth tax on unlisted net business equity was abolished in 1991. Tax rates for wealthy individuals were decreased in 1991 and in 1992 and then remained at 0.5-1 percent through 2006, depending on whether the reduction rule was applicable. Tax rates for small-firm owners and small individual fortunes were substantially lower. Aggregate wealth tax revenues were rela-tively small; they never exceeded 0.4 percent of GDP in the postwar period and amounted to 0.16 percent of GDP in 2006.

Suggested Citation

  • Henrekson Magnus & Rietz Gunnar Du, 2014. "The Rise and Fall of Swedish Wealth Taxation," Nordic Tax Journal, Sciendo, vol. 2014(1), pages 9-35, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:notajo:v:2014:y:2014:i:1:p:9-35:n:2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Du Rietz, Gunnar & Johansson, Dan & Stenkula, Mikael, 2013. "Swedish Labor Income Taxation (1862–2013)," Working Paper Series 977, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 10 Sep 2015.
    2. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 1997. "Industrial Policy, Employer Size, and Economic Performance in Sweden," NBER Chapters,in: The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model, pages 353-398 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Hochguertel, Stefan & Ohlsson, Henry, 2012. "Who is at the top? Wealth mobility over the life cycle," Working Paper Series 2012:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. Ohlsson, Henry, 2011. "The legacy of the Swedish gift and inheritance tax, 1884–2004," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 539-569, December.
    5. Du Rietz, Gunnar & Johansson, Dan & Stenkula, Mikael, 2014. "A 150-year Perspective on Swedish Capital Income Taxation," HUI Working Papers 101, HUI Research.
    6. Jenny Nykvist, 2008. "Entrepreneurship and Liquidity Constraints: Evidence from Sweden," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 23-43, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Krenek & Margit Schratzenstaller, 2018. "A European Net Wealth Tax," WIFO Working Papers 561, WIFO.

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