Högsta domstolen. Foto: Sofia Tanaka/Scanpix

Court could set 'hundreds' of tax evaders free

Some of Sweden's most serious tax offenders have been let out of prison over the past few days as a result of a Supreme Court ruling in June that says tax surcharges can be counted towards their sentences, Swedish Radio reports.

"It is a very important ruling, and a partly upright ruling. You might say it came surprisingly late," says Eric Bylander, a scholar of law at Uppsala University.

EU laws say that tax surcharges for someone who has avoided paying tax should count as a legal penalty, meaning someone who has avoided paying tax but then paid up afterwards cannot then be tried before a court. That has not previously been the case in Sweden.

Newspaper Dagens Nyheter writes that a Supreme Court decision expected Tuesday in a tax evasion case will determine how far back in time the new rules should apply. If the court grants the 50-year-old appellant a retrial, that could set a precedent for hundreds of convicted tax evaders who, in the event of retrials, might be let out of prison and awarded damages from the state for the jail time they have served after paying their tax surcharges.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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