ENFORCEMENT SERVICE IN SWEDEN – ENFORCING HIGH TAXES – AN OVERVIEW

Introduction

This overview aims at introducing the Swedish Enforcement Service and the enforcement legislation. Sweden is a high-tax country. Common is 25 percent VAT with some variety. During the center-right government between 2006 to 2014 personal taxes were reduced. Denmark has today (2016) the highest taxation in the world.

Since the beginning of seventeenth century Sweden has been known for an effective state administration. Axel Oxenstierna was the father of the establishment of a new administrative system. The extensive reforms of the 1610s and 1620s modernized the country. Among the areas reformed were the army and navy, trade and industry regulation, regional and local administrative practices, the higher education, and above all the judicial system, including enforcement of judgments.

The enforcement system has been reorganized many times but is still based on the Oxenstierna reforms.

It is complicated to present the Enforcement Administration in one country in another language because of the terminology. I have chosen to mainly use the British terminology. Any errors are completely my own.

Below are excerpts from a longer essay to be published in 2017.

1. Enforcement

1.1 The Enforcement Service (exekutionsväsendet)

The Enforcement Service is a state service. Historically it was paid for by local authorities. The local district was headed by a country bailiff (landsfiskal) in the rural areas and in the cities by a city bailiff (stadsfiskal). He was also district police commissioner and district prosecutor.

In 1965 police, public prosecution and enforcement administration were reorganized and the three services were taken over by the state and three separate authorities were introduced: the police administration, the public prosecutor administration and the enforcement administration. During the period 1965 – 1988 there were in all 81 districts of local enforcement authorities (kronofogdemyndigheter). Head of each authority was a chief enforcement officer. A reorganization in 1988 created 24 province (län) enforcement administrations (länskronofogdemyndigheter) each headed by a county enforcement director (länskronodirektör), which is an administrative appointment. Already in 1997 the Enforcement Service was again reorganized and 10 regional enforcement authorities (regionkronofogdemyndigheter) were created each headed by a Regional Enforcement Director (regionkronodirektör). Later in 2006 a National Enforcement Administration, one single administration with a number of regional offices was created for all of Sweden.

There are mainly three categories of personnel in the Enforcement Administration. Enforcement officers (who have a law degree and experience of court service as assistant judges), enforcement personnel (responsible for the field operations of the authority) and office personnel.

Earlier a Department for Administration of the Enforcement Service was divided into two sections: Enforcement Law Section and Enforcement Administration Section. Itwas part of the National Tax Board. The board’s main responsibility was however supervision of direct taxation and a number of other taxes.

It was also supervisory authority for such services as Civic Registration and Administration of General Elections. The department responsible for the Enforcement Administration was actually one of the minor roles of the board.

The total number of employees in the Swedish Enforcement Service countrywide is around 2,900.

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