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Hej,

During 2019, I've worked in Sweden for 9 months and temporarily in the US for < 3 months (during which I requested unpaid leave from my normal Swedish employment).

I am aware that I need to declare the income received abroad also in SE. Here is my US income (roughly gross total of 41k$):

  • Gross Salary: 20k$ (of which withheld taxes ~7k$)
  • Gross "Benefits": 21k$ (of which withheld taxes ~7k$)

The "Benefits" (which now seem more like a curse) covered: relocation flights, relocation company fees, and an, apparently expensive as hell, temporary accommodation. The relocation company paid around 14k$ for these and grossed-up with 7k$ in taxes (which makes a total of approx. 21k$ gross).

I had no idea that those 21k$ would appear as part of my income. And I'm concerned because it seems like those will make my income fall in a higher taxation bracket; which implies that I will have to ADD TAXES over money that (I thought) I have never earned!

QUESTIONS:

Am I understanding correctly?

Is there any hope that I can get deductions for part of that money?

(For example, I heard of "Double Accommodation" and various deduction for "increased living expenses", but It's a little difficult for me to understand if those apply also in my case) (At the same time, I don't want to over-pay!)

I would be very glad if somebody here has experience with these situations and can advise.

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To begin with: you only have to pay higher taxes on the part of your income that exceeds the threshold for the tax bracket. This threshold is 490 700 SEK for the income year 2019. That is, if you have a taxable income of 500 000 SEK you pay "normal" tax on 490 700 SEK and the higher tax rate on the remaining 9 300 SEK. You don't provide your Swedish income, so I can't make a more specific calculation for you.

But also, yes, you have a right to several kinds of tax deductions (reducing your taxable income) when relocating for a new job. I am not a tax lawyer, but this is the relevant information page at Skatteverket: https://www.skatteverket.se/privat/etjansterochblanketter/svarpavanligafragor/avdrag/dubbelbosattning/vilkareglergallerforavdragfordubbelbosattningvidanstallningisverige.5.10010ec103545f243e80001831.html

For the first month, you may make deductions for "meals and small expenses". I am not exactly sure what "small expenses" means but maybe you can deduct the relocation flight? You should contact Skatteverket and ask them directly. You can also instead opt to deduct a standard amount per day, 762 SEK per day (for a month).

For the entire time (but at most two years) you may make a deduction for double accomodation. You must be able to, upon request, provide a receipt for the accomodation cost. But it looks like you should be able to deduct the entire accomodation expense without much hassle.

You may also make a deduction for travelling home once per week. I'm not sure the relocation flight home is covered, though.

Good luck and remember that you can always call or e-mail Skatteverket and ask them directly. You can be anonymous if you prefer.

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  • Jobjörn, thanks! My SE income is ~400k kr, which brings my overall gross income to 400k kr + 41k $ = >800k kr. I'm employed as a doctoral student (the 3 months in the US were because of an internship at a software company). I called SKV, but sadly, the person I spoke with didn't seem sure about their advice and after hearing that I am a "student doing an internship" they immediately said that double accommodation and increased living expenses don't apply to students. I am worried: I don't want to over-pay just because SKV employees don't care about understanding the overall picture. – ojke83 Feb 13 at 16:46
  • OK, if you phrase it as paid internship I think you'll get a different answer. The best you can do is find out what deductions you should be able to make, make them, and clearly explain your reasoning in the declaration form (no sms declaration for you this year). – Jobjörn Folkesson Feb 13 at 18:22
  • I don't know how much your accomodation is, but at least that and 762*30 SEK should be deductible. If your accomodation was 1/3 of the $21k you mentioned, we end up with a total taxable amount of about 630 000 SEK, which means extra tax of about 20%*(630kSEK-491kSEK)=28kSEK. Considering you did get a couple of free flights and other benefits, it might be worth it after all? Note: this is not taking into account grundskatteavdrag and jobbskatteavdrag. – Jobjörn Folkesson Feb 13 at 18:27
  • Thanks again, do you think that mentioning that given the extremely temporary nature of the employment (12-weeks, established in advance) I kept paying the rent of my accommodation here in Sweden (and didn't cancel my rental here) is it a good thing? Would that help substantiate the claims of double accommodation? Also, would you say it is worth paying an accountant or tax lawyer (considering the sums)? – ojke83 Feb 13 at 19:26
  • Again, I'm not a tax lawyer, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I would describe the specifics of the arrangement in some detail, and I do indeed think that would help substantiate your claims. I would not pay an accountant or tax lawyer, I would speak with Skatteverket (and read up on their website) and ask around at your university for people with similar experiences. – Jobjörn Folkesson Feb 14 at 15:22

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