Sweden: Proposed amendments to the taxation of non-resident artists and athletes

Following a formal request by the European Commission to end discrimination of non-resident artists and athletes (IP/07/1163 of 24 July 2007) the Swedish Government has now introduced a legislative proposal (Proposed Bill 2008/09:182) to parliament that would enable non-resident artists and athletes to opt for taxation under the normal rules of the Swedish income tax law. Currently income of non/resident artists and athletes from performances in Sweden is subject to a 15% withholding tax based on the Law on special income tax for non-resident artists). Reportedly taxpayers would have to apply at beforehand for taxation under the normal income tax rules, and the contracting party would only be allowed to not withhold the 15% tax following a positive decision of the Swedish tax authorities.

In addition, it was also reported that the current exemption from social fees for income subject to the current 15% withholding tax. For residents of European countries the levying of social fees will be subject to application of EC legislation for the avoidance of double levying of social levies, for other social security agreements between Sweden and their country of residence may be relevant.

Reportedly the amendments would upon enactment become applicable from 30 June 2009.