Today is Swedish tax day

Date:May 3, 2004 / year-entry #169
Orig Link:
Comments:    16
Summary:Of course, in Sweden, every day is tax day. By now, it's too late to fill out your tax form, which the Swedish tax agency permits you to file on paper, via Internet, over the phone, or even via SMS. They even have what I wish the US tax agency had: An online tax form...

Of course, in Sweden, every day is tax day.

By now, it's too late to fill out your tax form, which the Swedish tax agency permits you to file on paper, via Internet, over the phone, or even via SMS.

They even have what I wish the US tax agency had: An online tax form calculator.

Comments (16)
  1. theCoach says:

    The IRS should be required to produce a software program + APIs that encapsulated all of the tax rules, as well as a financial calculation program that had a standard interface for fincial companies ( via web services Fidelity could download all of the proper tax info, and employers could keep track of the relevant info, etc.)

    Additionally, the IRS would be responsible for a report that estimated that cost that tax law changes would add to the maintenance of the program.

    Eventually, a much more robust digital finance system makes sense ( not using electronic transactions will be to cash transactions as cash transactions are to barter). My 2 cents.

  2. slide says:

    The IRS should just switch to a flat tax and stop wasting so much of everyone’s time and money. Oh, but then that would reduce the bloat of that government contractor, reduce the need for tax attorneys, and actually make sense.

  3. Raymond Chen says:

    What gets me are the worksheets where you end up writing the same numbers over and over again

    line 3: subtract line 2 from line 1

    line 4: take the smaller of line 3 or 5 billion

    line 5: subtract line 4 from line 1.

    Um, line 5 equals line 2 for all but 3 people in the country.

    If they just printed the formulas that would save me a lot of time. Instead the formulas are broken down into teeny mind-numbing steps.

  4. Robert Björn says:

    I did mine via SMS a few weeks ago. I loved it, much more comfy than doing it over the internet (as I did last year). :)



    Stockholm, Sweden

  5. Aryeh Sanders says:

    The worksheets are designed that way to reduce errors, even at the expense of additional annoyance. Most of us Americans can still handle simple addition and subtraction with accuracy, and the IRS writes the forms as simply as possible to take advantage of that.

  6. Mike Dunn says:

    My mom has trouble figuring a 15% tip even when she uses a calculator. I’d hate to see her reaction to an equation in a tax form.

    Actually, I know what her reaction would be: "Mike, can you do this math for me?" ;)

  7. J. Daniel Smith says:

    I think there may be some contorted legal mumbo-jumbo about why the IRS doesn’t produce formulas.

    Supposedly, the US "voluntary" compliance tax system (uh-huh). If the IRS told you that you owe us $XXX, that’s different than you telling them "I owe you $XXX".

    Remember, this is tax law and the government; it doesn’t have to make sense.

  8. Anonymous Coward says:

    The best tax form is one you don’t have to fill in. In Britain only people in the highest income tax bracket or company directors have to fill out a tax form. The taxes are done on a PAYE basis and the right thing happens for the vast majority of people. You can choose to fill out a tax form if you want special deductions (of which there are considerably fewer than in the US). Also if you file before a certain date, then then Inland Revenue does the calculations for you. After that date you have to do them yourself and are fined if they are wrong. The US could really learn from this.

  9. David Larsson says:

    Actually, you have until midnight today to leave your tax form, which I just did (a mere 3 hours before deadline this year). Of course, by this time you’ll have to do it in person at one of the local offices. It has become something of a tradition to leave your form this late (but not too late!), which is quite amusing to watch. The traffic is absolutely jammed outside the tax office in central Gothenburg with officials running among cars and bicycles, collecting envelopes with signed forms, all in good spirit. Tax Festival Day, you could say.

    For each year the "Skatteverket" seems to know more and more about your transactions, steadily increasing the likelyhood that you can send a simple confirmation that they got everything right via SMS/POTS/web/whatever. (Are they using spanking new Web Services to compile any of this information? Or some of that Old Thing?)

  10. jaybaz [MS] says:

    In the US, starting this year, online tax prep software is available for free to many Americans.

  11. ko says:

    The australian tax office has an app which you download to do your taxes. It includes relevant tax law in plain english as help files and is generally fairly easy to use.

  12. Johan Thelin says:

    I did my taxes last weekend, that is a new record for me. Eight days early. However, I used the paper-method – feels good to sign things with a really expensive pen instead of using a digital signature.

    When discussing the Swedish efforts to use IT within the different departments of the government there is currently a big discussion concerning the accessability. It is odd that huge consultant firms cannot follow W3C’s standards and keep blocking non-Windows and non-IE users. More alarming is that the government keeps buing these solutions anyway.

  13. Andrew Shuttlewood says:

    [Taxes in the UK]

    It’s nice to not have to file taxes, but equally you don’t get deductions on business expenses, or educational expenses. So I think it’s a two way street.

  14. Ross says:

    Four years ago I moved from New Zealand to the US. Tax in the US seems almost painfully more complicated than NZ. Like someone mentioned about the UK, I believe now if you are a normal salary or wage earner in NZ then you don’t need to do a tax return at all. It is simply done correctly each month. Banks withhold and pay the tax on interest directly. For most people, there are only two possible tax rates depending on income. If an employed person does some private paid moonlighting then its only the total income that matters. Its all the same rate.

  15. Today is Swedish tax day Of course, in Sweden, every day is tax day. By now, it’s too late to…

  16. Craig Ringer says:

    ko: The ATO’s app is pretty good, I’ll agree. Unfortunately, despite the client app being written in Java, it only runs under win32. Not too impressive from a gov’t departments if you ask me.

    Still, better that than no tax app at all, or something like the situation with TurboTax in the USA.

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