Depending on the tax implications of the presence in Sweden, it might be necessary to register for VAT and corporate tax (Sw. F-skatt) with the Swedish Tax Agency (Sw. Skatteverket). Registration for corporate tax is especially important when services are sold within Sweden as F-skatt implies that the purchaser of the services will not have to withhold tax on remuneration paid.
An obligation to register for VAT in Sweden can arise for a foreign company even if the company does not have a permanent establishment in Sweden, for instance, a company that transfers its own goods from another EU member state to Sweden is obliged to register for VAT in Sweden.
A Swedish employer, or a foreign employer with a permanent establishment in Sweden, is required to register with the Swedish Tax Agency in order to fulfill the employer reporting obligations, such as preliminary tax deductions and the payment of social security contributions.
Also, foreign employers without a permanent establishment have to register for social security contributions if they have employees who belong to the Swedish social security system.
Employees with the intention to stay in Sweden for more than 12 months should register with the Swedish Tax Agency in order to receive a Swedish personal identity number (Sw. personnummer).
Under Swedish law, employers are required to notify the Swedish Tax Agency when hiring third country nationals to work in Sweden. A third-country national is an individual who is not a citizen of a country within the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. The employer must ensure that the employee has a valid work and residence permit for Sweden before the employment starts. Documents to prove this should be retained by the employer for at least 12 months after the termination of employment.
The employer should send a notification via regular post to the Swedish Tax Agency no later than the 12th of the calendar month following the start of the employment in Sweden.
Under Swedish law, foreign employers must report postings to Sweden and register a contact person in Sweden with the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Sw. Arbetsmiljöverket). A posting to Swedens defined as the sending of an employee by his/her employer to work in Sweden on behalf of the employer for a limited period of time in conjunction with the employer providing cross-border services to a recipient of those services in Sweden. The posting has to be reported if the employee carries out activities in Sweden for a period longer than five consecutive days. The reporting is required in respect of both citizens of the EU/EEA and third country nationals.
The registration can be done electronically at a website provided by the Work Environment Agency.
EU and EEA citizens do not need a work or residence permit to work in Sweden.
A non-EU/EEA citizen needs a work and residence permit before entering Sweden. The salary and other employment conditions must be at market levels in Sweden and the relevant labour union in Sweden must be given the opportunity to express its opinion on the terms of the employment. Additional requirements may apply for a work permit, for example in the case of employment with a company that has operated for less than one year, or as regards certain industries.
Exemption from work permit requirements can apply, for example, to visiting researchers and specialists employed by an international group working in Sweden for a short period. The exemption also applies to employees participating in internal training or other skills development at a company in an international group for up to three months, in total, over a period of 12 months.
Applications for residence and work permits are made with the Swedish Migration Agency (Sw. Migrationsverket) and the process can take up to 10 months.
Depending on the business carried out in Sweden, it might be necessary to conduct various statutory registrations and/or apply for certain permits. This can apply, for example, to operations having an environmental influence, financial services, health services, or to certain import activities or the transfer to Sweden of certain goods, e.g. vegetable or animal goods.
Director, PwC Sweden