Poles emigrating to Sweden for work purposes in addition to taking up employment also have the possibility to open their own business. A Swedish company should be established in accordance with the current regulations for people from countries belonging to the European Union and the European Economic Area. The types of business in Sweden generally overlap with the types of companies operating in Poland, with the classic sole proprietorship being the most popular among foreigners. The entrepreneur should be aware of the basic rights and obligations incumbent on him or her – knowledge of the law and good business practice is a guarantee of running a company in Sweden without unnecessary complications.
TYPES OF BUSINESS IN SWEDEN
Poles, just like Swedish citizens, have the right to establish their own company in Sweden. Poland’s membership in the European Community (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) means that starting a business is not particularly complicated.
The types of business in Sweden are:
- sole proprietorship (enskild nӓringsidkare);
- civil partnership (enkelt bolag);
- commercial company (HB – Handelsbolag);
- limited partnership (KB – Kommanditbolag);
- limited liability company (AB – Aktiebolag);
- subsidiary of a foreign company (Filial);
- business association (ekonomisk fӧrening);
- foundation (stiftelse);
- European stock corporation (Europabolag).
Self-employed Poles most often choose to open a sole proprietorship. This makes it possible to register a business in Sweden quickly and without the need for start-up capital. Other types of businesses in Sweden involve a more complicated registration process. Due to the requirement for a large amount of start-up capital and a number of formalities, Swedish limited partnerships and limited liability companies for foreigners are usually not available.
Sweden’s most popular types of companies:
sole proprietorship (enskild näringsidkare);
civil partnership (enkelt bolag);
commercial company (HB);
branch of a company (Filial).]
A sole proprietorship in Sweden, or enskild nӓringsidkare, is one of the most popular choices for Polish business owners starting up in the country. As an alternative to employment in another company, a sole proprietorship in Sweden allows you to gain a real say in the development and profit of your business. This type of Swedish company is recommended primarily to young entrepreneurs who cannot predict the future profits of the company and the funds they intend to turn are relatively small.
A Swedish sole proprietorship requires registration with the tax authority, the Skatteverket. In order to register the company, documents such as:
- a certified copy of an identity document (e.g. passport);
- a certificate stating that you are not liable to pay taxes in Poland;
- a certificate of no arrears in social insurance contributions in Poland;
- a completed application form for foreign entrepreneurs.
The relevant form and required attachments should be sent to the address of the Foreign Cooperation Division in Malmo: Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket), Utlandsskattekontoret, SE-205 31 Malmö, Sweden.
A Swedish sole proprietorship selling goods and services subject to VAT is required to charge the appropriate amount of tax – either 25%, 12% or 6%. VAT in Sweden is settled on the basis of a tax return filed monthly, quarterly or annually. A sole proprietorship in Sweden does not have legal personality and therefore settles income tax according to the rules for natural persons.
A company in Sweden is a form of business designed for those who are able to foresee the future profits of the company and plan to trade large sums of money. The biggest advantage of companies is the transparent legal and financial situation due to the strict requirements for running a company – accounting, bookkeeping or reporting.
An entrepreneur who wonders how to set up a company in Sweden should remember that a Swedish company is a type of business that requires certain conditions. The owner of the company first and foremost:
- must be of legal age;
- must not have private debts;
- must not have a criminal record;
- must have legal capacity.
In addition, you must have legalized your residency by reporting to the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) and you must have deposited start-up capital of a certain amount in a company bank account. Depending on the type of company, the initial capital ranges from SEK 50,000 (limited liability company) to SEK 500,000 (joint stock company). A company in Sweden also requires a notarized memorandum of association to be signed, and an entry in the Companies Register (Bolagsverket) must be made within the next six months.
In order to register a company with the Register of Companies, it is necessary to provide:
a notarized memorandum of association;
the articles of association of the company;
bank certificate of deposited initial capital;
a completed registration form.]
Corporate income tax is 28% on the company’s profit. In addition, a Swedish company selling goods and services subject to VAT is required to charge the appropriate amount of tax – either 25%, 12% or 6%. VAT in Sweden is settled on the basis of a tax return filed monthly, quarterly or annually.
HOW TO START A BUSINESS IN SWEDEN?
Those wondering how to start a business in Sweden should indicate their home country at the outset. The entrepreneur’s country of origin is the starting point that determines the further steps that need to be taken to register a business in Sweden.
Poland is a country belonging to the European Union and the European Economic Area, which means that Poles emigrating to Sweden have the possibility to open their own business there – the only condition is that their residence is legalized and that they are able to support themselves. The residence permit is issued by the Swedish Migration Board – Migrationsverket. You can apply for a residence permit at a branch of the authority, at the Swedish embassy in Poland, or at a Polish consulate in Sweden. The residence permit is issued for five years – after two years, the Migration Board examines the financial situation of the company. If the entrepreneur is able to support himself and the members of his family in Sweden, the permit is maintained. If the company’s financial situation is not stable, the authority may revoke the residence permit in Sweden.
Registration with the Swedish Population Register is possible for persons who have lived in Sweden for at least one year and for persons who plan to stay longer than twelve months – it is also necessary to present a residence permit or proof of right of residence in the country. Once you have registered with the tax office, you will be given a personal identification number – personnummer – which is necessary for running a business or registering with the social security system coordinated by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency – Försäkringskassan.
A Swedish company in three steps:
select the type of business;
register the company in the Companies Register (bolagsverket);
register the company at the tax office (Skatteverket).]
The basic step is to decide on the type of business you intend to open. A Swedish sole proprietorship does not require start-up capital, but sole proprietors are fully liable for the business and liabilities with all their assets. Whereas, opening a company requires a certain amount of start-up capital and a number of other conditions.
The company must then be registered with the Swedish Companies Register – Bolagsverket. The obligation to register does not apply to owners of sole proprietorships, but it is worth considering doing so. This will ensure that the designated company name in Sweden will be protected in the territorial region and no other entrepreneur in the region will be able to register a company with the same name. The types of Swedish businesses required to register with the Companies Register are all types of companies, including limited liability company and limited partnership, and business associations.
The final step in setting up a business in Sweden is to register with the Swedish Tax Agency – Skatteverket. The registration process requires the presentation of a certified copy of an identity document, such as a valid passport. After filing the application, the tax office will assign a coordination number, which is a temporary identification number needed for official applications.
A Swedish company should be registered as a payer of F-tax, i.e. business tax (f-skatt) and VAT (moms). If the company intends to employ workers, it is also necessary to register as a Swedish employer. The owner of a company in Sweden simultaneously employed by another entrepreneur, instead of the standard F-tax, registers as a payer of FA-tax, i.e. a combination of activity tax (f-skatt) and employment tax – A-tax.
Registration with the Skatteverket can be done electronically via a dedicated website – verksamt.se – or by traditionally going directly to the office (form SKV 4632 must be completed). Online registration only applies to those who have a Swedish digital signature – BankID.
FORMALITIES WITH A SWEDISH COMPANY
A Swedish company is an opportunity to develop your own business and have a direct impact on your financial situation. However, it is worth remembering that running your own business also means that you have to comply with Swedish regulations and obligations for entrepreneurs.
A company in Sweden should have a bank account for all transactions related to the running of the company. A Swedish account is particularly important for companies that are required to deposit initial capital. An account with a Swedish bank can be opened by an entrepreneur upon presentation of proof of identity (identity card or passport) – in some establishments, it is necessary to present a Swedish document – a lease agreement confirming an address of residence in Sweden and an F-tax certificate. If you have a personal identity number (personnummer), you can open a bank account online.
A business owner must remember the required registrations – among others, the Business Register (Bolagsverket), the VAT Register, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency – Försäkringskassan. Doing business in Sweden is also about paying taxes on time – submitting documents and paying dues.
A Swedish entrepreneur should regularly monitor all company payments – both those related to delivery charges and payments from customers. Verification of current receivables and payables keeps the financial situation transparent and enables the necessary steps to be taken to resolve any discrepancies. Monitoring payments makes it easier to take care of company records. Compiling cost and income invoices, account statements and receipts is also useful in the event of an audit from the tax authority (Skatteverket).
A company in Sweden is obliged to keep its data up to date. Any changes related to contact details or the company name should be reported immediately to the relevant institutions (tax office, bank) and customers.
A Swedish entrepreneur should also remember to comply with health and safety rules. Occupational health and safety is especially important when the company has employees. Health and safety rules in Sweden are coordinated by the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Mynak).
What should a Swedish entrepreneur bear in mind?
Company bank account;
entries in registers;
advance payments of income tax,
taxes for employees;
delivery of documents to authorities;
keeping documents in order;
updating company data;
CORPORATE INCOME TAX
A company in Sweden is required to pay a certain amount of income tax. Income tax consists of national tax and local tax: tax paid to the municipality (kommun) and tax paid to the region (landsting). Local tax is used, among other things, to finance the local education system or the healthcare system.
In 2020, the national income tax is:
- 0% – for income not exceeding SEK 490 700,
- 20% – for income above SEK 509 300.
The amount of local tax depends on the region and varies from 30% to 35% – the average local income tax rate is assumed to be 32%.
Corporate income tax is 28% on company profits.
Swedish income tax consists of:
national income tax;
local income tax (komun and landsting).]
Non-Swedish tax residents who work in Sweden for a domestic or foreign employer are taxed at a flat rate of 25%.
The income tax does not apply to persons who work for a foreign employer not permanently established in Sweden and who are not Swedish tax residents, provided that they have spent less than 183 days in Sweden in a consecutive twelve-month period.
Income tax rates for individuals in Sweden for 2020:
from 0 to 490 700 SEK
more than 509 300 SEK
A Swedish company pays income tax on the basis of its declared income for the year. The entrepreneur estimates the expected income when registering the company, and the tax office calculates the advance income tax payments paid each month.
Advance income tax payments – deadlines:
by 17 January
until 12 June
Until 12 July
until 17 August
until 12 September
until 12 October
until 12 November
until 12 December]
At the end of the tax year, the entrepreneur prepares the relevant tax return, which is the basis for calculating the amount of tax for the year. If the declared amount of the company’s profit was greater than the profit actually made, the entrepreneur will be refunded the overpaid tax. If the company in Sweden has made more profit than expected, the arrears will have to be repaid.
The tax return is sent by the Swedish Tax Agency to a digital mailbox or in paper form. The deadline for the digital box is 27 February. The annual return for those with digital boxes is sent between 4 and 11 March, the paper version is sent between 13 and 15 April. The deadline for online tax returns is 31 March, paper returns can be submitted until 4 May.
The payment deadline indicated on the final tax return is always at least 90 days from the date of the tax office’s decision.
VAT IN SWEDEN
Swedish VAT (moms) is a tax on goods and services that applies to all transactions occurring at each stage of production and distribution. A transaction is understood to be the sale of goods, the provision of services, an exchange or an own payment from a company. A company in Sweden is obliged to pay VAT while having the right to deduct it – the difference between output tax (charged on sales) and input tax (paid on purchases) is paid.
A business in Sweden must be entered in the VAT register if:
- the company moves goods necessary for the business to another EU country without a change of ownership of the goods,
- the company sells goods or services to other EU countries,
- the company sells goods or services to countries outside the European Union.
Entry in the VAT register can be done electronically (skatteverket.se) or traditionally using form SKV 4620.
If the purchases are necessary for the operation of the business, the Swedish entrepreneur is entitled to deduct input tax – goods excluded from deductions are, for example, passenger cars.
A Swedish business subject to VAT should keep records indicating the amount of input tax charged. Invoices issued by the business must include the percentage of VAT included in the sales price, only if the VAT amount is shown on the invoice is the input VAT deductible.
VAT rates in Sweden:
25% standard rate;
12% reduced rate (foodstuffs, hotels, handicrafts);
6% low rate (newspapers, books, passenger transport, etc.).]
The frequency of submission of the VAT return depends on the size and annual turnover of the company and is determined at the stage of submission of the registration application to the Skatteverket. Swedish VAT is settled:
- once a year or once every three months or once a month – for small companies with a turnover of less than SEK 1 million per year;
- once every three months or once a month – for medium-sized companies with a turnover of between one million and forty million SEK per year;
- once a month for large companies with a turnover of more than SEK forty million per year.
As a general rule, VAT is due on the 12th of each month. For medium-sized companies, VAT must be paid by the 26th of each month at the latest.
A business in Sweden selling goods to a buyer operating within the EU, who is registered for VAT in one of the EU countries, does not charge VAT, which should be declared by the buyer. Swedish VAT is only charged if the buyer is not registered for VAT. If goods are exported to a country outside the European Union, VAT is not charged.
EMPLOYEE IN THE COMPANY
Business in Sweden often requires employees. Individuals from countries within the European Community do not need a work permit. For employees who are non-EU citizens, it is necessary to contact Migrationverket – the Swedish Migration Board. A foreign employer who hires temporary workers from outside Sweden should also report this to the Swedish Work Environment Authority.
A company in Sweden that intends to employ workers should report the employment to the Tax Agency. An entrepreneur registered as an employer will receive monthly PAYE forms to pay employer contributions and tax for the employees. On the form, the employee’s salary and benefits, the calculated tax and employer’s contributions must be indicated. The calculated tax and contributions should be paid by the entrepreneur into an individual account at the tax office. It is also the employer’s responsibility to make tax deductions from the salary and other employee benefits.
Taxes and contributions paid by an employer with employees amount to a total of 31.42% of the tax base, i.e. the amount of gross salary and other benefits. The employer’s tax (arbetsgivaravgifter) includes, inter alia, insurance contributions (3.55%), pension contribution (10.21%) and payroll tax (11.62%).
The Swedish company should pay employer contributions and tax for employees by the 12th of each month. Employee contributions amount to a total of 31.42% of the tax base.
An employment contract may be concluded orally, but according to the Swedish Employment Protection Act, the employer is obliged to provide written information regarding the terms and conditions of employment. This means that the employment contract should take the form of a written document, which allows for the regulation of all issues related to the commencement and performance of work. The document should include such information as:
- personal data,
- place of work,
- date of commencement of work,
- a detailed description of the duties,
- form of employment,
- notice period,
- additional employee benefits,
- length of leave,
- length of working day or week,
- optional collective agreements at work.
An employee in Sweden is entitled to sickness benefits. Once the sickness has been reported, the employer should determine the appropriate amount of benefit on the basis of the salary and other benefits paid. The sickness benefit is 80% of the average salary, including any employee allowances.
THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN SWEDEN
A business in Sweden means that certain costs must be incurred – the exact amount depends on the type and nature of the business, the number of employees and the turnover of the company.
The main costs that a Swedish business generates are taxes paid periodically to an individual tax account at Skatteverket. Income tax for individuals, i.e. Swedish sole proprietorships, for example, range from 30 per cent to as much as 55 per cent of the company’s profit. For legal persons, i.e. companies, the tax rate is 28% on the company’s profit. In addition, a company in Sweden providing services subject to VAT must be entered in the VAT register and pay the tax due of 25%, 12% or 6%.
It is also a cost for a Swedish company to establish share capital in the required amount – depending on the type of business, the share capital is between SEK 50,000 and SEK 500,000.
AUTHORISATIONS FOR COMPANIES
A Swedish company may require additional permits or certificates. Depending on the industry, different types of companies in Sweden generate an obligation to present a permit regarding the type of activity, the person carrying out the activity or the premises where the activity is carried out. Permits for companies are issued by national authorities (for example, the National Food Agency) or local authorities (city councils, administrative boards, etc.).
Swedish companies operating in certain areas of the economy require special business permits. This applies, for example, to the food or catering industry – this type of business should have a business licence issued by the National Food Agency. Conversely, a business in Sweden dealing with transport matters requires a permit from the Swedish Transport Agency. Detailed information related to the individual permits for Swedish companies can be found at verksamt.se.
Business in Sweden does not require a work permit – a residence permit only applies to persons who intend to stay in Sweden for longer than three months. The application for a residence permit is submitted individually, and in the case of minors, the child’s parent or legal guardian should do so. It is submitted free of charge at a branch of the Migration Board (Migrationsverket), the Swedish embassy in Poland or a Polish consulate in Sweden. If the application is rejected, it is possible to appeal to the Aliens Board – this must be done within three weeks of receiving a negative decision from the Migrationsverket.
The Swedish invoice most often takes the form of an electronic invoice – paper forms have been withdrawn by, among other things, state authorities and government agencies. A company in Sweden that handles e-invoices receives the documents in a special standard – Svefaktura.
(A Swedish invoicing company should have an identification number and a company bank account number. The document must clearly indicate the type of transaction – it should be prepared and sent to the customer on the day the goods or services are delivered.)*
The Swedish invoice should contain information such as:
date of issue;
date of delivery or date of payment;
details of the parties to the transaction (name, surname, company name, address);
the VAT number of the seller;
optionally, the VAT number of the buyer;
type of transaction;
the price for the good or service;
the taxable amount;
the VAT amount;
the terms of delivery of the good or service.]
For Swedish limited liability companies, it is also necessary to include the identification number, name and registered office of the company (city or municipality) on the invoice.
Swedish companies can do the accounting themselves or with the help of a professional accountant. Invoices can be issued using certified software, but Microsoft Excel cannot be used for this purpose. A company in Sweden is obliged to store invoices using special software that meets strict security requirements.
SOCIAL BENEFITS FOR SWEDISH ENTREPRENEURS
A Swedish sole proprietorship makes it possible to benefit from health insurance. The condition is that taxes and social security contributions are paid. The entrepreneur’s sickness allowance in the event of illness or incapacity is calculated on the basis of the company’s income.
The standard amount of sickness benefit is 80% of the company’s income. Its exact amount – SGI – is determined by taking into account a number of criteria including, inter alia, the type of business. A Swedish entrepreneur will normally receive the benefit for fourteen days – after which time it is possible to continue the benefit by providing the Social Insurance Agency with a medical certificate of further incapacity to work.
Maternity benefit is payable to any woman working or operating in Sweden. The benefit is paid in the last weeks of pregnancy and the amount is 80% of the last income. For the first child, maternity allowance is paid for 480 days – a maximum of 60 days of allowance can be taken before the birth.
Business in Sweden also makes it possible to collect childcare allowance. The owner of a sole proprietorship company can apply for payment of the allowance, which is calculated on the basis of the income received by the Swedish company. In contrast to sickness benefit, a low income or no income at all does not exclude the possibility of drawing childcare allowance. Childcare allowance for a child under one year of age who is a Swedish citizen is paid for 480 days.
After closing down the business, the Swedish entrepreneur can apply for unemployment benefit.
PENSION IN SWEDEN
There is no set retirement age in Sweden – the benefit can start to be drawn at any time after the age of 61. The pensioner has the option to collect the benefit in full or to continue working and collect a certain part of the pension at the same time.
The pension in Sweden is calculated on the basis of taxes paid and social security contributions from the age of 16. The Swedish Pension Agency takes into account all income received as a result of work in the country as well as funds resulting from parental leave, stipends received, pension, rehabilitation benefit, unemployment benefit, etc. A business owner in Sweden can count on a benefit based on earnings – the calculated amount is influenced by both earnings and the chosen pension fund.
The pension system in Sweden consists of three elements:
the general pension (paid by the state);
the occupational pension (paid by the employer);
optional individual savings.]
The Swedish general pension is an income-related pension, a contributory pension and a guaranteed pension, paid out for the rest of the recipient’s life. The income-related pension is an annual 16 per cent of the earned income that forms the basis for calculating the pension and other Swedish taxable benefits. Income is defined as salary, business income, parental allowance, unemployment benefit, pension, rehabilitation and training allowance. A contributory pension is 2.5 per cent of annual income placed in a selected pension fund or an automatic state fund. Guaranteed pension is the basic protection for people with low or no income – the amount depends on the pension depending on income, marital status and period of residence in Sweden. It is available to persons who have reached the age of 65.
The occupational pension is a benefit from the employer, covering primarily:
- persons employed by municipalities and regions,
- persons employed by the state administration,
- white-collar workers employed in the private sector,
- blue-collar workers employed in the private sector.
In addition to the base benefit, the Swedish occupational pension also includes sickness benefit and protection for immediate family members in the event of the employee’s death. The pension is paid in perpetuity or for a specified period of time: five, ten, fifteen or twenty years.
Individual pension savings mainly apply to the self-employed. You can save via a bank or insurance company.
- What industries are most popular in Sweden?
Industries currently enjoying the greatest interest and popularity in Sweden, thanks to which a Polish entrepreneur has a chance to break through on the Swedish market and be successful, include:
- IT industry (e.g. mobile applications),
- organic food,
- software services,
- real estate market, e.g. flat rental
- transport services.
- What institutions are helpful for developing my own business in Sweden?
Institutions and online platforms helpful for developing one’s own business in Sweden include:
- a crowdfunding platform through which Polish startups can apply for funds to develop their business;
- the Export Promotion Portal, which provides a list of trade offices from abroad;
- the website of the Ministry of Development;
- Office for Registration of Enterprises;
- Polish-Swedish Chamber of Commerce;
- Patent and Registration Office;
- Migration Office.
- What can I do to make my company successful in Sweden?
In order for a company to succeed in Sweden, you should first have a good business idea, do a competition assessment beforehand and prepare a detailed business plan, it is also worth using the design thinking method, which is based on principles such as:
- innovative products,
- customer welfare and needs,
In addition, it is worth familiarizing yourself with both the regulations and laws, as well as the taxes, terms and accounting rules for Swedish companies. It is also worth familiarizing yourself with Swedish business culture and ethics – Swedish entrepreneurs are trusting and open to new ideas, do not like bureaucracy and try not to combine their professional and private lives, instead they place a high value on punctuality, accuracy and orderliness, are distanced and therefore only establish permanent cooperation when they get to know their business partner well.
- What documents do I need to register my own business in Sweden?
The documents needed to register your own company in Sweden depend largely on the type of legal form of business. In order to register a company, you will need: a certificate from your bank stating that the initial capital has been deposited in your account, a completed registration form, the company’s articles of association and a notarized memorandum of association. In addition, you must be of legal age, have no debts, have legal capacity and have no criminal record.
On the other hand, in the case of a sole proprietorship, you will need to prepare such documents as a completed registration form, a certificate from the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) stating that you are not in arrears with contributions, a certified copy of your passport, a tax application for entrepreneurs from abroad, and a certificate stating that you are not in arrears with taxes from the tax office in Poland.
In addition, irrespective of the legal form chosen, you must legalize your residence in Sweden, register your business with the Swedish tax authorities, and you also need a VAT number and a statistical number.
- How do I register a company in Sweden if I do not have an identity card?
If you do not have an identity card, you should download an application form from the Swedish Tax Agency’s website and fill in, in either English or Swedish, the appropriate application form and send it, together with the necessary documents translated by a sworn translator, to the Skatteverket (Foreign Cooperation Division): Swedish Tax Agency, Utlandsskattekontoret, SE-205 31 Malmö, Sweden. Once you have received your certificate of registration as an F-taxpayer, for which you wait, from the moment you submit the form, between 2 and 6 weeks, you can start running your business in Sweden.
- What permits are needed to run my own business in Sweden?
The permit needed to register your own business in Sweden is a Swedish residence permit issued by the Swedish Migration Board, which can be applied for at both the Polish consulate in Sweden and the Swedish embassy in Poland. In addition, certain legal forms of Swedish business require certificates or permits, which are issued by e.g. the police, the Swedish Board of Agriculture or the National Food Agency.
- How do I suspend or close a business in Sweden?
If you want to suspend or close your business in Sweden, you should deregister it, preferably at the time you stop paying taxes, so that the Swedish tax authorities do not charge tax on your business income at that time. It is worth remembering that after closing your business, you can apply for unemployment benefits in Sweden.
- What is worth knowing about Swedish work ethic and business culture?
Swedish entrepreneurs are quite emotionally reserved, do not like bureaucracy, and their relationships with business partners are based on trust and openness. Swedes emphasize teamwork and an informal and polite communication style. The employees’ viewpoint is as important as the leader’s opinion, so the leader’s independence and, at the same time, joint decision-making are important.
In addition, for Swedes it is important to find consensus, the best possible solution for everyone, and freedom of action, which makes the team’s work more efficient.
Swedish entrepreneurs value punctuality and be on time, while they regard business meetings as a time for substantive discussion rather than loose talk. For Swedes, a verbal agreement has the same importance as a written agreement, during discussions they listen carefully and do not interrupt the speaker, they show respect to their business partner, they do not like unnecessary digressions and exalting themselves.
- Why is it worth opening a business in Sweden?
Sweden is, according to US News & World Report, the 20th most powerful country in the world:
- Sweden ranks 6th in the world as the best country in many areas;
- it is one of the most convenient places to start your own business;
- the country has one of the best pension and healthcare systems;
- leads the way in terms of technology (Klarna, iZettle, King and Sporify);
- Swedes are the best in the world both in terms of the digital economy, innovative PR technologies (Volvo, Absolut, H&M) and global brands (IKEA, Volvo, Electrolux, H&M, Ericsson) and in terms of music exports;
- excellent place for professional and female emigrants (e.g. due to the small disparity between men’s and women’s wages);
- 4th in the world in terms of life expectancy;
- characterized by a diverse and competitive economy.
- What should I do before registering a startup in Sweden?
Before registering a startup in Sweden, it is advisable to first familiarize yourself with the competition, have a good idea, do thorough research on the Internet and prepare a detailed business plan. When starting your own business, it is also a good idea to think globally, as the Swedish market is not very large and therefore Swedish companies become international before they grow and develop.
- What organizations can be helpful when setting up a startup in Sweden?
When setting up a startup, you can use the help of such industry organizations to get the data you need, as: the Swedish IT and Telecom Industries, the Swedish Trade Federation (retail and wholesale trade), Lantmännen (agriculture and agricultural resources), the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association (hospitality) and the Swedish Construction Federation (construction).
In addition, it may be helpful to contact Business Sweden or a branch of the Swedish Work and Society Foundation – Nyföretagarcentrum or Business Sweden (advice and contact with other Swedish companies). It is also advisable to use, established by the Tax Administration, the Agency for Economic and Regional Growth and the Companies Registration Office, the portal Verksamt.se (list of companies in need of permits, business plan, advisors), as well as social networks (Instagram, Facebook, Linkedln).
If you want to hire employees in your new company, it is also worth reading the Employment Protection Act – Lagen om Anställningsskydd, which regulates employment conditions in Sweden, describing 4 types of fixed-term employment contracts, including legislation for people over 67 and temporary replacement work. The law also states that all employment contracts are of indefinite duration in Sweden (exceptions are employment contracts that contain other conditions).
The websites of the Swedish authorities, such as Bolagsverket and Skatteverket, are also very good sources of information.
- What is the procedure for setting up a new company in Sweden and how long does it take?
The procedure for establishing a new company in Sweden is not complicated or time-consuming. First, you need to apply for both a tax identification number, i.e. the equivalent of the Polish PESEL number and the equivalent of the Polish NIP number, then you need to choose the appropriate legal form of business, and then fill in and submit an application form – preferably via the website (verksamt.se), by letter or in person at the Companies Register (Bolagsverket) and the Tax Office (Skatteverket). When filling in the form, you must include the planned turnover and income of the company, on the basis of which the Swedish tax authorities calculate tax.
In addition, you should have an adequate budget for the first year of operation of your company in Sweden and then await a response from the Swedish Tax Agency. Sometimes the office will require explanations or additional documents.
During the tax year, it is possible to submit a correction to the preliminary declared income. The tax amount will then also change. Alternatively, you may have any overpaid tax refunded to you during the annual return.
Depending on the legal form of the Swedish business, the process of setting up a new company in Sweden takes between 1 and 30 days.
- How much do specialist advisory services cost in Sweden?
The cost of specialist consultancy services in Sweden is approximately SEK 450/50 USD per hour.
- What is a business visa, and how do I register it?
A business visa is a document that gives a foreign entrepreneur the right to register their company in Sweden. To obtain a Swedish visa, it is advisable to contact the Swedish embassy in advance for the necessary documents, which include:
- two copies of your registration certificate,
- your passport and double copies of it,
- business registration certificate,
- photographs 3.5 x 4.5 cm,
- tax return,
- information on company bank accounts.
A business visa is usually issued within a week.
- What conditions do I have to meet to open an account with a Scandinavian State Bank?
In Sweden, commercial banks are very reliable and have the right to set different conditions and requirements for each of their customers, and in the case of foreign customers, you need a service permit from the bank’s branch manager. In contrast, only in exceptional, justified situations do they choose to provide their services to citizens of the Third World or CIS countries, but such cooperation must be profitable for Sweden.
In Sweden, you can open a bank account at the request of the central – national bank. Be together with business partners from Sweden – in case you are self-employed.
To open an account with the Scandinavian State Bank, you must be a resident or citizen of Sweden.
- What are the risks of running your own business in Sweden, and what can you do to minimize these risks?
Sweden is one of the Scandinavian countries that support both its citizens and its medium-sized and small companies, and consequently the state gives indigent people social assistance in the form of a subsidy for part (e.g. half) of the salary they receive from a company.
If you want your company to operate in this way, you are obliged to allocate all company profits to reinvestment in this project or another related one. You are also obliged to submit an annual report on the company’s refinancing to the public service.
You can also use the state register, in which you can enter, via an online service, your company. Within two hours of submitting your documents, you will receive confirmation.
The Swedish trade register service includes:
- Stiftelseurkund – memorandum of company formation;
- Bankintyg – document confirming that the company’s start-up capital has been deposited;
- Protocoll fran konstituerande bolagsstamma – protocol describing the algorithm for the distribution of quotas and shares to members of the public;
- Registreringsanmalan – application for registration of a new company;
- Utkast Bolagsordning – the statutes of the new company.
Entrepreneurs who wish to register their own business in Sweden can also make use of a state-owned company (Almi Företagspartner – Almi) for advice and assistance in raising capital. On the other hand, those registered as unemployed who are thinking of setting up their own business in Sweden can count on free help and support from the state.
- What is the minimum equity required to register a company in Sweden?
The minimum share capital needed to register a company in Sweden depends on the type of company: for a public limited company it is SEK 500,000 and for a private limited company SEK 50,000.
- What is F-skattebevis?
If you are self-employed in Sweden, you must have an F-skattebevis (the 'F’ stands for entrepreneur – Företagare), which is a document showing that you make social payments and advance tax payments.
Individuals in Sweden can be taxed on their own company or on income from employment.
In Sweden, 3 conditions must be met for an individual to be considered self-employed, such as:
The Swedish tax authority determines self-employment, among other things, on the basis of whether the entrepreneur performs the work in his or her own premises and with his or her own equipment, whether he or she carries out orders from several principals and whether he or she determines the working conditions himself or herself.
- Is it possible to buy back an established business in Sweden?
Yes, in Sweden, it is possible to buy an already existing business that was registered with a Swedish resident. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to become a Swedish business owner. You can also use the services of a company that will help you step by step through the whole procedure. The procedure is not complicated, as the entity already has its own name, an allocated organizational number, a customer base, a team of employees, partners and data on the profitability of the company, you only need to fill in the required forms and change the area of operation and the name of the company, then open a company bank account.
There are many companies in the CIS that help you take over an already existing Swedish company. The documents you will receive after buying back a ready-made company in Sweden are:
- a registered company name certificate;
- a certificate of company registration;
- legal documents that confirm ownership;
- certificate confirming membership of the board of directors;
- company address, also e-mail, etc.;
- details of open company bank accounts.
More information on buying a business in Sweden can be found at the Royal Embassy in Kiev.
- How do I find a good accountant or a good accountant in Sweden?
In Sweden, there is no obligation to use a certified accountant, but it is necessary to submit the required documents on time and to settle accounts with the Swedish tax authorities, which is why many entrepreneurs choose to do so, as they are not always familiar with Swedish business and tax law.
To find professional accounting services in Sweden, one can use the Internet or the experience of other entrepreneurs. Another option would be to use the help of the Association of Swedish Accounting Consultants, who will show you how to do your company’s accounting according to Swedish regulations, how to correctly issue an invoice or complete the annual tax return.
It is worth bearing in mind that when running a business in Sweden, it is important to be familiar with the accounting rules, basic deadlines and company documents, as the use of certified accountants does not relieve the owner of a Swedish company from responsibility.