VAT in Sweden

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Swedish VAT

Sweden comes under the EU VAT rules, and is part of the EU single market economy. VAT Directives are issued by the EU which lay out the principles of the VAT regime to be adopted by the member states, including Sweden. These Directives take precedence over the local legislation.

Swedish VAT law

Sweden introduced VAT, known as moms, in 1969.  It is administered by Skatteverket, the Swedish Tax Administration.

Swedish VAT registration

Foreign companies may register for VAT in Sweden without the need to form a local company; this is known as non-resident VAT trading. There is no VAT threshold in Sweden for the registration of foreign traders and a foreign business must register for VAT from the first day of starting activities in Sweden. An application for a VAT number must be received by the VAT Department no later than 14 days before the first taxable supply; this also applies where foreign businesses execute intra-community acquisitions as these may trigger the need to VAT register.

Non-EU companies may need to appoint a local fiscal representative in some cases.

There are strict rules on the situations where a registration is permitted. Common scenarios which require a Swedish VAT registration include:

  • importing goods into the EU via Sweden
  • buying and selling goods within Sweden
  • holding goods in a warehouse in Sweden as stock
  • selling goods from Sweden to other EU countries
  • acquiring goods from other EU countries into Sweden
  • distance selling to private individuals in Sweden from another EU country e.g. internet retailing.

Registering for Swedish VAT generally takes around four to six weeks from the date when the application has been submitted, although this can vary.

Sweden VAT compliance

There are detailed rules controlling the recording and processing of Swedish transactions. These include guidelines on:

  • Swedish invoice requirements
  • foreign currency invoicing and reporting
  • correcting errors in previous returns
  • what records must be kept.

Swedish VAT rates

The standard VAT rate in Sweden is 25%. with reduced rates of 12% and 6% for food, accommodation rental, books, newspapers and other goods and services.

Examples of exempt supplies are healthcare, financial services and education.

Swedish VAT returns

Companies with a Swedish VAT number must submit periodic VAT returns detailing all taxable supplies (sales) and inputs (purchases). Returns are submitted monthly or quarterly; the filing frequency depends on the taxable turnover, and  deadlines vary, too.

Returns can be filed electronically or by paper return forms.

Sweden - Intrastat and EC sales lists

In addition to VAT returns, companies may be required to submit additional statistical information. The Swedish Intrastat system (or supplementary statistical declaration) requires a monthly return listing all movement of goods between Sweden and other EU-member states. There are annual thresholds for these filings. The Swedish intrastat thresholds are SEK 450,000,000 for arrivals and dispatches respectively.

The EC sales list  return contains information on the VAT numbers of EU customers and the values of sales in the period to them, and ECSL is filed either monthly or quarterly.

Swedish VAT refunds

If a foreign company is not making taxable supplies in Sweden but is incurring Swedish VAT on local goods or services, then Swedish VAT may recovered through a VAT reclaim.

View more information on other countries, or find out more about VAT.