Not even close! Sweden has one of the highest effective tax rates in the world! In addition to paying sometimes in excess of 60% of their income in taxes, there's also a "hidden" 25% VAT (Value Added Tax) on goods sold.
Like most things in Sweden, the agency runs efficiently. Letters from the Skatteverket often give the name and direct phone number of the employee dealing with your case, leading to quick and personal service. Tax returns arrive already filled out each year, all you have to do is sign your name. You can send in your return by a phone app.
In addition to collecting gobs of money, the beloved Skatteverket has further powers- they choose your Swedish baby's name!
Well... okay, slight exaggeration ... but they do have the ability to veto names registered by parents who apparently have little interest in living vicariously through their children, as "Sickboy," "Metallica," "Dotcom" and "Krank" have all ended up on the Skatteverket cutting room floor.
In a cunning political strategy, attempting to ride the wave of the Skatteverket popularity back into office, an incumbent Swedish government actually proposed tax increases as a tool to increase their popularity!
|Every American voter looking positively dumbfounded|
Am I missing Something?
American: "Great, so they're highly efficient at extracting money from their population, they're Big brother and know everything about you, Swedes have the highest tax rate in the world, and the politicians propose more tax?!"
Swede: "They won."
American (bewildered): "Don't you think paying 70% in taxes is already too god damn high?"
Swede: (shrugging) "Perhaps, but I feel that I am getting something for it."
Swedes do see benefits, namely ultra cheap health care and free education, an excellent system of public transportation (though this comes with extra costs) and relatively generous subsidies to low-income households that keep the poverty rate and inequality low, helping to create a society without a lot of friction or crime, which was actually one of the great things I found about living in Sweden.
Unlike America, whose citizens don't see as visible a return on their tax dollar, in part because so much of it goes to the military (which helps protect the rest of the world mind you, and saves other countries from greater expense in the area) Swedes are generally okay with sky-high taxes because people trust the administration to use their tax money in an effective manner.
The goal has always been to create as equal conditions as possible for everyone. In fact, a growing number of Swedes would accept even higher taxes to pay for a largely fair and well-functioning society.
So, my friends, if you're tired of the drones at the IRS, and you've fallen in love with the Skatteverket, (as you rightfully should) you can always renounce your American citizenship, move to Sweden, and empty your pockets. Hey, at least the babes are hot.