Temporary deferrals and representative responsibility - what applies?

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Companies can now apply to postpone payment of taxes and fees. But what about when companies apply for temporary deferral – can representatives become personally responsible for the company's tax liabilities? The Swedish Tax Agency has published a statement.

Since the government proposed temporary deferral of taxes and fees, the question of representative responsibility has arisen. Can company representatives become personally liable if the company cannot pay the tax when the deferral ends? The Swedish Tax Agency has now made a that has been eagerly awaited by the country's entrepreneurs. The Swedish Tax Agency will not apply for representative responsibility regarding taxes and fees covered by these temporary deferrals.

Temporary deferred tax payments came into force on 30 March but can be applied retroactively from 1 January. Thus, in addition to applying for a deferral of tax payments, companies can also recover tax that has already been paid during the beginning of 2020.

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What is representative responsibility?

The rules regarding representative's responsibility may result in a company representative becoming personally liable for payment of the company's tax liabilities. If the representative intentionally or due to gross negligence failed to take effective measures to settle the company's debts by the tax due date, the person may be liable for personal payment responsibility.

What about temporary deferrals?

After the issue of temporary deferral and representative responsibility was raised by the trade unions, the Swedish Tax Agency quickly published a statement. It is clear from the statement that the Swedish Tax Agency will not apply for representative responsibility regarding taxes and fees covered by so-called temporary deferral. This also includes the deferral fee which will be levied on the deferred amount during the deferral period.

Read more: Temporarily reduced employer contributions – this is how it works

The Swedish Tax Agency however considers that it may be relevant, in individual cases, to apply for a representative responsibility towards a representative who acted intentionally. This would be when someone has, in contrast to the purpose of the provisions regarding temporary deferrals, obviously taken advantage of the possibility of temporary deferrals.

The Swedish Tax Agency will not apply for representative responsibility during the temporary deferral period, which also includes the period from 1 of January 2020 retroactively. Entrepreneurs, who have been granted temporary deferral of taxes and fees, do not at the initial stage risk representative responsibility regarding the taxes and fees during the period March to September 2020. After the temporary deferral period has expired normal rules apply and a company representative can become personally liable for payment of the company's tax liabilities in case the company does not pay taxes and fees within the 12 month deferral period.

Comments

We have experienced a great concern among the country's entrepreneurs regarding the representative responsibility and by extension the personal tax liability during these troubled times. It is therefore great news that the Swedish Tax Agency has made a clear statement that this will not be the case. This provided that companies did not, obviously and completely contrary to the purpose, exploit the opportunity to seek temporary deferral. For taxes and fees that are not covered by temporary deferrals, the usual rules will apply and if the taxes or fees are not paid by the due date, i.e. if gross negligence or intent exists, the Swedish Tax Agency may apply for representative responsibility.

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At PwC, we want to help and make a difference by supporting companies during this time of uncertainty. We have therefore set up a free hotline where you can call and get answers to your questions related to the government's support package and other covid-19 related business issues.

Stefan Asklöf

Stefan Asklöf

Stefan Asklöf jobbar på PwC:s kontor i Stockholm som auktoriserad skatterådgivare för entreprenörer och deras bolag.
072-995 26 17 Stefan Asklöf work at PwC's office in Stockholm as a tax advisor for entrepreneurs and their companies.
+46 72 995 26 17

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