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Swedish Taxation: Developments since 1862

Swedish Inheritance and Gift Taxation (1885–2004)

Book Chapter
Du Rietz, Gunnar, Magnus Henrekson and Daniel Waldenström (2015). “Swedish Inheritance and Gift Taxation (1885–2004)”. In Magnus Henrekson and Mikael Stenkula (Eds.), Swedish Taxation: Developments since 1862 (223–265). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gunnar Du Rietz, Magnus Henrekson, Daniel Waldenström

Magnus Henrekson, Mikael Stenkula

This chapter studies the evolution of Swedish inheritance taxation from its inception in 1885 to its abolishment in 2004. The basic principles of the tax, including underlying ideas and ambitions, tax schedules, and rules concerning valuation of assets, liability matters, and deduction opportunities, are thoroughly described. Using these rules, inheritance tax rates are calculated for a number of differently endowed family firms and individuals. The overall trend exhibits an inverse-U shape for all firms and individuals. Until World War II, tax rates were very low (never above 6%); but in the postwar era, rates increased rapidly for both inherited firms and individual fortunes. Effective tax rates peaked in the mid-1970s. Valuation reliefs were introduced in the 1970s, which sharply reduced tax rates for inherited family businesses. Tax rates for deceased individuals were first cut in 1987 and then significantly reduced in 1991–1992.