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The basics of the Swedish investment taxation account ISK, Investeringssparkonto

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Hi guys, this is my first day here and I just wanted to share some knowledge.

Opposite to popular belief Sweden has a very beneficial system of private asset taxation. This post is my best effort of explaining our flat-rate asset account ISK in English. ISK is an acronym for investeringssparkonto.

First of Sweden still have its old, classic or standard way of private asset taxation like almost all countries and territories where you only pay tax if and when you made a profit. That tax level is 30 % on gains and enables tax deductions between 14.7 - 30 % of a loss. The deduction percentage depends on if you can set of the loss against profits within the same calender year and the size of the amount itself. For comparison the same capital gain tax is as high as 42 % in neighbouring Denmark.

From 2012 there is another way of taxing privately held and publicly listed securities like stocks, funds, ETFs, certificates and derivatives like options, futures, warrants and swaps. Simply anything that is publicly traded with the exception of companies where your involvement is closely linked to the resulting earnings, meaning your own company. Also you cannot hold more than 10 % of a company's shares within the ISK account type.

The ISK is an account type working just as any portfolio accounts, for storing all of those securities types listed above. Now the fun part, gains themself are not taxed. Neither are dividends.

Instead of taxing gains after selling any individual security the average value of the account has a flat-rate tax, paid separately outside of the account upon the yearly individual income declaration in May the following year. The flat-tax rate is based on the Swedish government borrowing rate the prior year and is therefore currently very low. To prevent a negative tax rate as a result of potentially even lower rates in the future a downward brake has been set at 0,375 % which is also the current rate. Without the cap the rate would be 0,27 % for 2021.

Historical ISK rates in Sweden for reference

2012, 0,495 %
2013, 0,447 %
2014, 0,627 %
2015, 0,270 %
2016, 0,420 %
2017, 0,375 %
2018, 0,447 %
2019, 0,453 %
2020, 0,375 %
2021, 0,375 %

The formula for calculating when it is more beneficiary to store your assets in an ISK instead of the classic account is ((GBR + 1 % ) * 0.3) / 0.3 = ((0.51 % + 1 %) / 30 %) / 30 %) where GBR stands for last years average government borrowing rate which can be found here https://www.riksgalden.se/en/our-operations/government-borrowing-rate/this-is-how-we-apply-the-government-borrowing-rate/

This means that for 2021, to even out the tax implication between an ISK and a traditional portfolio account the return on ISK has to be 1,25 %. ((0,1 + 1 % ) * 0.3) / 0.3 = ((0.51 % + 1 %) / 30 %) / 30 %). Any higher return rate therefore gives you a lower tax impact. For reference the Stockholm stock index OMX30 representing the 30 largest companies has had an average yearly return of 12,99 % between 1984 and 2021. Excluding dividends..

However the flat-rate tax comes with the downside of not being able to deduct any loses and you still have to pay your tax even if you have negative returns.

The average account value is calculated by adding the value from each start of the quarters plus all deposits made during the year and then the value by four.

Example

  • Value Q1, 500 000 kr
  • Value Q2, 555 000 kr
  • Value Q3, 1 110 000 kr
  • Value Q4, 2 000 000 kr
  • Total deposits during the year, 150 000 kr

(500 000 + 555 000 + 1 110 000 + 2 000 000 + 150 000 = 4 315 000) / 4 = 1 078 750, 1 078 750 * 0,00375 = 4 045 kr in tax for 2021

All calculations are made by the bank and sent to the tax authority Skatteverket. You neither can or have to declare any single transaction. To be able to have an ISK you have to be a tax resident of Sweden. If you have an ISK and then move out and lose your unlimited tax liability the account is transformed to a traditional one with the new cost basis from the time of transformation.

More information can be found in Swedish at https://www.skatteverket.se/privat/skatter/vardepapper/investeringssparkontoisk.4.5fc8c94513259a4ba1d800037851.html?q=isk and please let me know if this information was helpful or if you have any further questions.

ISKKontonLogo.png

Edited by TSI, The Swedish Investor
Added an image, formating
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