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”Svår skatterättslig fråga” men inte om det rör skatteflykt? - En undersökning om befrielse från skattetillägg på grund av ”svår skatterättslig fråga” och huruvida skatteflykt bör räknas som en sådan eller ej.

Hellman, Moa LU (2019) JURM02 20192
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Enligt 51 kap. 1§ 2 st p. 1b skatteförfarandelag (2011:1244) framgår att befrielse från skattetillägg kan medges om felaktig eller otillräcklig information i en skattskyldigs deklaration kan antas ha berott på en felbedömning av en regel eller de faktiska förhållandena. Inom denna befrielsegrund inryms även en möjlighet för skattskyldiga att få befrielse från om denne kommit i kontakt med en ”svår skatterättslig fråga”. Om den skattskyldiges felbedömning kan anses ursäktlig bör befrielse i dessa situationer medges. Av lagregelns förarbeten framgår att en ”svår skatterättslig fråga” är för handen om rättsläget är oklart och varken lagstiftning eller praxis ger ett klart besked om vad som är gällande rätt. Även då en fråga kan anses ovanlig... (More)
Enligt 51 kap. 1§ 2 st p. 1b skatteförfarandelag (2011:1244) framgår att befrielse från skattetillägg kan medges om felaktig eller otillräcklig information i en skattskyldigs deklaration kan antas ha berott på en felbedömning av en regel eller de faktiska förhållandena. Inom denna befrielsegrund inryms även en möjlighet för skattskyldiga att få befrielse från om denne kommit i kontakt med en ”svår skatterättslig fråga”. Om den skattskyldiges felbedömning kan anses ursäktlig bör befrielse i dessa situationer medges. Av lagregelns förarbeten framgår att en ”svår skatterättslig fråga” är för handen om rättsläget är oklart och varken lagstiftning eller praxis ger ett klart besked om vad som är gällande rätt. Även då en fråga kan anses ovanlig i beskattningssammanhang för någon med god kännedom om beskattningsfrågor kan frågan anses vara svår.

Det är inte långsökt att anta att skattefrågor som rör lag (1995:575) mot skatteflykt skulle kunna anses vara svåra skatterättsliga frågor med hänsyn till nyss nämnda kriterier. Skatteflyktslagens tillämpning anses vara relativt oförutsebar och den praxis som rör lagen blir ofta föremål för kritik. Inte minst kritiseras praxis på grund av att den sällan anses göra skatteflyktslagens tillämpning tydligare. Ofta finns det skiljaktiga meningar gällande huruvida lagen är tillämplig eller ej i såväl skatterättsnämndens som Högsta förvaltningsdomstolens avgöranden. I teorin skulle därför skatteflyktsförfaranden kunna anses vara sådana svåra skatterättsliga frågor för vilka befrielse bör medges.

Undersökningen av avgöranden från kammarrätten och förvaltningsrätten rörande befrielsegrunden i skatteflyktshänseende visar att befrielse från skattetillägg inte medges i dessa situationer. Även fast skattskyldiga ofta yrkar på att befrielse bör medges på basis av att det rört sig om en svår skatterättslig fråga, berörs detta sällan i domskälen. I de få avgöranden där detta ändå berörs framgår att befrielse från skattetillägg inte kan medges om
frågans svårighet kan anses självförvållad genom att den skattskyldige använt ett avancerat skatteupplägg. Inte heller kan befrielse medges om en skattskyldig kan anses ha utnyttjat ett oklart rättsläge till hans eller hennes ekonomiska fördel. Slutsatsen blir därför att skattefrågor som rör skatteflyktslagen utan tvekan är att anse som svåra skatterättsliga frågor dock inte i befrielsehänseende.

Det kan argumenteras för att rättssäkerhet och förutsebarhetsskäl talar för att befrielse från skattetillägg bör medges i skatteflyktsfrågor. Resonemanget bakom detta är att skattetillägg inte bör påföras när skatteflyktslagen, vars tillämpning är tämligen oförutsebar, befinns tillämplig. Om detta ändå görs resulterar det i att den skattskyldige blir bestraffad för något som han eller hon inte kunnat förutse. Det kan dock även argumenteras för att skattetillägg i detta hänseende inte borde befrias ifrån av den anledningen att skattetillägget skulle kunna minska incitamentet att vidta skatteflyktsförfaranden. Detta eftersom att ett skattetillägg är mer ekonomiskt kännbart än den neutralisering av beskattningen som skatteflyktslagens tillämpning resulterar i. Om skattetillägg hade kunnat befriats från i skatteflyktsmål hade skattetilläggssystemet riskerat att framstå som orättvist. Kanske främst av de skattskyldiga som påförs ett skattetillägg på grund av misstag eller slarv vid ifyllande av deklarationen.

För att bidra till förståelsen för möjligheten till befrielse på grund av svår skatterättslig fråga hade ett avgörande från HFD varit välkommet. Den praxis som finns är relativt gammal och någorlunda spretig. Det som tidigare varit en svår skatterättslig fråga är inte nödvändigtvis svår idag. Inte heller är det långsökt att anta att det uppstått nya svåra skatterättsliga frågor samt dessa kommer att fortsätta att uppstå i takt med att skatterätten utvecklas. (Less)
Abstract
According to chapter 51 section 1 point 1b in the Swedish Tax Procedure Act, there is a possibility to be exempt from tax surcharges if incorrect or insufficient information provided in the tax return of a tax payer is due from either a misjudgment of a tax rule or the meaning of the actual conditions. This exemption ground also comprises situations where the incorrect or insufficient information is a result of a tax payer being faced with a “difficult tax matter”. If a tax payers misjudgment could be deemed excusable exemption shall be given. According to the preparatory work a “difficult tax matter” is at hand if it concerns an unclear legal situation where neither the legislation nor case law is any guidance as to how the matter should... (More)
According to chapter 51 section 1 point 1b in the Swedish Tax Procedure Act, there is a possibility to be exempt from tax surcharges if incorrect or insufficient information provided in the tax return of a tax payer is due from either a misjudgment of a tax rule or the meaning of the actual conditions. This exemption ground also comprises situations where the incorrect or insufficient information is a result of a tax payer being faced with a “difficult tax matter”. If a tax payers misjudgment could be deemed excusable exemption shall be given. According to the preparatory work a “difficult tax matter” is at hand if it concerns an unclear legal situation where neither the legislation nor case law is any guidance as to how the matter should be handled legally. If a tax matter is unusual even from the perspective of someone with a wide knowledge of tax law it could also pass as a difficult tax matter.

It is not far-fetched to assume that tax matters concerning the application of the Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Rule, hereinafter GAAR, might be considered a difficult tax matter according to the aforementioned criteria. The application of the Swedish GAAR is considered to be rather unforeseeable and the case law concerning it is often faced with criticism. Not least due to the fact that the case law seldomly contributes to the clarification of the legal situation of the GAAR. There is often also dissenting opinions regarding whether or not the law is applicable, both in the rulings of the Council for Advance Tax Rulings and the judgments if the Supreme Administrative Court. Therefore tax matters concerning the GAAR in theory could pass as a difficult tax matter where exemption from tax surcharges should be granted.

However, the examination of rulings from the Administrative Court of Appeal and the Administrative Court presented in this paper shows that exemption from tax surcharges in these situations are not granted. Even though tax payers often petition to be exempt from tax surcharges on the basis of the exemption ground, it is seldomly even discussed in grounds of the judgment. The reasoning in the grounds of the judgments where it is discussed state that exemption cannot be given if the difficultness of the tax matter can be considered self-inflicted due to the tax payers use of an advanced tax scheme. Furthermore exemption cannot be granted if the tax payer could be considered to have taken advantage of an unclear legal situation to his or her own economic benefit. The conclusion is therefore that tax matters regarding the application of the GAAR without a doubt is to be considered ”difficult tax matters” however, not in the context of exemption from tax surcharges.

One can argue that legal certainty and reasons of foreseeability suggests that an exemption of tax surcharges should be granted in these situations. The reasoning behind this is basically that tax surcharges should not be levied when the GAAR, whose application is rather unforeseeable, is found applicable. If done, the tax payer would be penalized for something he or she could not foresee. However, one can also argue that tax surcharges being levied, which cannot be exempt from, when the GAAR is found applicable could reduce the incentive for taxpayers to use tax avoidance schemes. This is because the consequence of being levied a tax surcharge is more financially noticeable than merely a neutralization of the tax, which is the consequence of the application of the GAAR. If tax surcharges could be exempt from in tax matters regarding the GAAR, the system of administrative tax surcharges would risk being viewed as unjust. Perhaps particularly from the viewpoint of taxpayers who have been subject to tax surcharges due to a mistake or inattention when filing their tax return.

For the sake of the understanding of the exemption ground concerning difficult tax matters, a ruling from the Supreme Administrative Court would be welcomed. The case law that exists is rather old and somewhat sprawling. What may have been considered a difficult tax matter earlier, is not necessarily difficult today. Neither is it far-fetched to assume that new difficult tax matters have arisen and will continue to arise as long as the tax law keep on evolving. (Less)
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author
Hellman, Moa LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
"Difficult tax matters" but not when it concerns the Swedish GAAR? - An examination of the possibility to be exempt from tax surcharges on the basis of it being a "difficult tax matter" and whether or not tax avoidance should be considered to be such a tax matter or not.
course
JURM02 20192
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
skatterätt, befrielse, befrielsegrund, skattetillägg, skatteflykt, skatteflyktslagen, skatteförfarandelagen
language
Swedish
id
8999798
date added to LUP
2020-01-31 12:52:54
date last changed
2020-01-31 12:52:54
@misc{8999798,
  abstract     = {According to chapter 51 section 1 point 1b in the Swedish Tax Procedure Act, there is a possibility to be exempt from tax surcharges if incorrect or insufficient information provided in the tax return of a tax payer is due from either a misjudgment of a tax rule or the meaning of the actual conditions. This exemption ground also comprises situations where the incorrect or insufficient information is a result of a tax payer being faced with a “difficult tax matter”. If a tax payers misjudgment could be deemed excusable exemption shall be given. According to the preparatory work a “difficult tax matter” is at hand if it concerns an unclear legal situation where neither the legislation nor case law is any guidance as to how the matter should be handled legally. If a tax matter is unusual even from the perspective of someone with a wide knowledge of tax law it could also pass as a difficult tax matter. 

It is not far-fetched to assume that tax matters concerning the application of the Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Rule, hereinafter GAAR, might be considered a difficult tax matter according to the aforementioned criteria. The application of the Swedish GAAR is considered to be rather unforeseeable and the case law concerning it is often faced with criticism. Not least due to the fact that the case law seldomly contributes to the clarification of the legal situation of the GAAR. There is often also dissenting opinions regarding whether or not the law is applicable, both in the rulings of the Council for Advance Tax Rulings and the judgments if the Supreme Administrative Court. Therefore tax matters concerning the GAAR in theory could pass as a difficult tax matter where exemption from tax surcharges should be granted. 

However, the examination of rulings from the Administrative Court of Appeal and the Administrative Court presented in this paper shows that exemption from tax surcharges in these situations are not granted. Even though tax payers often petition to be exempt from tax surcharges on the basis of the exemption ground, it is seldomly even discussed in grounds of the judgment. The reasoning in the grounds of the judgments where it is discussed state that exemption cannot be given if the difficultness of the tax matter can be considered self-inflicted due to the tax payers use of an advanced tax scheme. Furthermore exemption cannot be granted if the tax payer could be considered to have taken advantage of an unclear legal situation to his or her own economic benefit. The conclusion is therefore that tax matters regarding the application of the GAAR without a doubt is to be considered ”difficult tax matters” however, not in the context of exemption from tax surcharges. 

One can argue that legal certainty and reasons of foreseeability suggests that an exemption of tax surcharges should be granted in these situations. The reasoning behind this is basically that tax surcharges should not be levied when the GAAR, whose application is rather unforeseeable, is found applicable. If done, the tax payer would be penalized for something he or she could not foresee. However, one can also argue that tax surcharges being levied, which cannot be exempt from, when the GAAR is found applicable could reduce the incentive for taxpayers to use tax avoidance schemes. This is because the consequence of being levied a tax surcharge is more financially noticeable than merely a neutralization of the tax, which is the consequence of the application of the GAAR. If tax surcharges could be exempt from in tax matters regarding the GAAR, the system of administrative tax surcharges would risk being viewed as unjust. Perhaps particularly from the viewpoint of taxpayers who have been subject to tax surcharges due to a mistake or inattention when filing their tax return.

For the sake of the understanding of the exemption ground concerning difficult tax matters, a ruling from the Supreme Administrative Court would be welcomed. The case law that exists is rather old and somewhat sprawling. What may have been considered a difficult tax matter earlier, is not necessarily difficult today. Neither is it far-fetched to assume that new difficult tax matters have arisen and will continue to arise as long as the tax law keep on evolving.},
  author       = {Hellman, Moa},
  keyword      = {skatterätt,befrielse,befrielsegrund,skattetillägg,skatteflykt,skatteflyktslagen,skatteförfarandelagen},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {”Svår skatterättslig fråga” men inte om det rör skatteflykt? - En undersökning om befrielse från skattetillägg på grund av ”svår skatterättslig fråga” och huruvida skatteflykt bör räknas som en sådan eller ej.},
  year         = {2019},
}