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Denmark revamps tax system to boost investment

Denmark revamps tax system to boost investment


COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s government has reached agreement with other parties to simplify one of the world’s most complex tax systems – including phasing out a 100-year old tax on nuts.

The town hall is pictured in Copenhagen, Denmark April 19, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

The country’s right-leaning government wants to cut taxes and trim bureaucracy to encourage Danes to work more and spend some of their large savings to support businesses, while also discouraging them from buying groceries in neighboring Germany.

Danes hand over close to half of their salary to the state each month, and must also navigate complex systems of duties, tolls and excise taxes. The tax on nuts was introduced in 1922 as part of new levies on luxury goods such as chocolate to discourage people from making homemade marzipan. Removing the tax, which was last increased in 2009, will cost the government around 175 million Danish crowns ($27 million) each year.

The growth package agreed between the government, its populist ally Danish People’s Party and the opposition party the Social-Liberals included reducing tax on equity investments to encourage more companies to list in Copenhagen, copying a Swedish and Norwegian model known as investment savings account.

The investment savings account is less lucrative than the government’s initial proposal from August, and a government proposal to lower the overall share income tax has been dropped altogether, as Danish People’s Party has curbed the package to focus more on limiting cross-border shopping near Germany.