Tax authorities go after venture capital partners

The Swedish tax authorities have written to around 100 partners in some of Sweden’s largest venture capital companies as part of new proceedings to revise their taxes upwards. The agency has spent millions of kronor, amounting to nearly 12,000 work hours, so far on the case, Swedish Radio News reports.

Anders Hultqvist, a professor in tax law at Stockholm University, says the tax people should give up.

“If they are going to do this again, then it will go through the entire judicial system, and it will be years before we have a precedent-setting decision,” he says.

Hultqvist says it would be better if parliament reviewed the current legislation instead.

The tax authority originally argued that the partners’ venture capital investment incomes should be taxed as if they were incomes from services. When that failed in the courts, they turned instead to trying to tax the partners for dividends in a “fåmansföretag”, a company where four or less owners hold more than half of the ownership voting power.

Should the agency win, that would mean some SEK 2 billion for the state coffers. But Professor Hultqvist says changing strategy just makes them look desperate.

The administrative law court tells Swedish Radio News a decision could come this summer at the earliest. Then it will undoubtedly be appealed to a higher court.

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