Sweden Introduces Tonnage Tax
The Swedish government has proposed a tonnage tax system that means Swedish shipping companies will operate under competitive conditions similar to companies in other countries in Europe.
At Donsö Shipping Meet 2015, the Minister for Infrastructure Anna Johansson presented the government's maritime strategy and revealed that a Swedish tonnage tax will be introduced in summer 2016.
"This is extremely pleasing and a long-awaited decision,” said Magnus Kårestedt, Port of Gothenburg Chief Executive. “The tonnage tax is an important element in achieving a more equitable level of competition for the Swedish merchant fleet. This will reinforce the whole of the shipping industry in Sweden.”
Swedish ships have been registered under flags of convenience for many years. Last year, the Swedish merchant fleet decreased by a further six ships, making 320 in all. Sweship, formerly the Swedish Shipowners' Association, estimates that the introduction of the tonnage tax will, over the next ten years, result in 300 new ships sailing under the Swedish flag and 17,000 new jobs.
"In purely concrete terms this means that we will see more ships sailing under the Swedish flag at the Port of Gothenburg and at the same time an increase in peripheral shipping operations," said Kårestedt.
The government regards the introduction of the tonnage tax has an integral part of Sweden's ambition to have the lowest level of unemployment in the E.U. by 2020.
Tonnage tax, also known as blue tax, is a voluntary tax system to which companies can become affiliated. Tonnage tax makes it possible for shipping companies to pay tax in Sweden according to fixed tariffs based on the net tonnage of the ships. Corporation tax is levied on the tonnage income instead of the actual commercial profit, thus making it a competitive and transparent tax. It is a predictable system that offers good continuity for the shipping industry.