Swedish Opposition Ready to Join Tax War That Government Avoids

(Bloomberg) -- Sweden can’t delay cutting corporate taxes or it will find it hard to compete following drastic changes in taxes and trade in the U.S., according to a key opposition leader.

“I expect a corporate tax cut,” Elisabeth Svantesson, fiscal policy spokeswoman for the opposition Moderate Party, said an interview Monday in Stockholm. “It’s obvious that it needs to be lowered, our corporate tax level needs to be competitive.”

Sweden is holding an election in September and the level of taxation looks once again to become a key battle ground between the two blocs. Social Democratic Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson has touted her success in rebuilding government surpluses and welfare by increasing taxes at the same time as she has overseen one of the fastest growing developed economies.

But in the current era of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and raised trade tariffs and with Brexit shifting the balance of power in the EU to Sweden’s disadvantage, there are many worrying factors in the world economy, Svantesson said.

A corporate tax cut plan proposed as far back as in 2014 has stalled in the current government. Sweden’s current rate is at 22 percent. The Swedish government will present a proposal on corporate taxes to the Swedish council on legislation on March 21, according to a statement on Tuesday.

Businesses in Sweden need clarity on taxes and the country’s marginal tax rate, which has again become the highest in the OECD under the current government, needs to come down, according to Svantesson.

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