Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 956: Taxation of Goods and Services in Sweden (1862 - 2010)

Mikael Stenkula ()
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Mikael Stenkula: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper presents annual Swedish time-series data regarding consumption taxes, i.e., the indirect taxation of goods and services, for the 1862–2013 period. As a share of total state tax revenue, consumption tax revenue was high at the beginning of the period, although as a share of GDP, it was rather low. At the beginning of the period examined, customs duties and specific consumption taxes on alcohol and sugar were the most important sources of revenue. The importance of consumption taxes decreased during World War I. After World War I, consumption taxes began to regain their importance, and taxation of vehicles and tobacco contributed significantly to tax revenue. After another dip during World War II, the tax revenue from consumption taxes increased again following the end of the war, and as a share of GDP, it increased sharply. However, the importance of specific consumption taxes and customs duties, in particular, has fallen dramatically since that time. The mix of specific consumption taxes also shifted with an emphasis on energy and environmental taxes. A permanent general consumption tax was introduced in 1960, and its importance has increased sharply since its introduction, accounting for more than 40 percent of central government revenue toward the end of the period examined.

Keywords: Consumption taxes; Taxation of goods and services; Excise duties; Customs duties; VAT

JEL-codes: H20; N43; N44

45 pages, First version: February 20, 2013. Revised: September 10, 2015. Earlier revisions: October 21, 2014, November 25, 2014, September 10, 2015.

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