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EXPLAINED: Which foreigners are eligible for Sweden's 'expert tax' relief?

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: Which foreigners are eligible for Sweden's 'expert tax' relief?
If you qualify, you should get your application in fast - you only have three months from the day you started your job to apply. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Foreign citizens in Sweden carrying out particularly expert work or who earn above a certain level may qualify for up to 25 percent tax relief on their income earned in Sweden. How do you know if you qualify?


Firstly, you don’t qualify for the tax cut automatically – you have to apply to Forskarskattenämnden, the Taxation of Research Workers Board – before the Swedish Tax Agency can apply any discounts to your tax.

Despite the name of the board (and the name of the tax), you don’t actually have to be a researcher or expert in order to qualify.

Essentially, there are two routes to qualifying – through your tasks and expertise or through your income. 

Via tasks and expertise

Under the first rule, you need to be an expert, researcher or key worker in the eyes of the law, which usually means that the board will take a look at the required expertise for the position, usually assessing whether the nature of your work is such that it would be difficult to recruit comparable staff from within Sweden. 

It’s not sufficient for there to be a general labour shortage, but you also need to carry out highly specialised work, and this applies for both researchers and experts – although researchers in general can qualify if they have completed one or two years of postdoctoral research, while experts do not need academic qualifications at the same level. 


Usually for experts, they are working in roles with a high degree of technical expertise: the board lists “industrial technicians dealing with advanced product development and the application of new technology” as an example.

Researchers, on the other hand, must be carrying out qualified research or development tasks at a high enough level that it would be difficult to source this expertise from within Sweden – usually defined as independent research (PhD students and new PhD graduates don’t qualify).

As far as other key workers are concerned, this applies to people who hold a key position in a company, usually by holding a management role in a business with responsibility for general management and administration, like a CEO.

It’s not enough to just be a manager of a small team within a company – your role needs to be decisive for the operations of the company as a whole, and it needs to be a for-profit company, not a charity or foundation.

Via your income

The second route to qualifying is much simpler – you just need to have a high enough salary, which in 2024 was a whopping 114,611 kronor, more than three times Sweden's 34,200 kronor median salary.

This has to be your actual salary each month, and doesn’t include things like fuel or travel benefits or annual bonuses, although regular monthly benefits included in your contract like a company car or a housing allowance do count.

You need to earn at least this amount each month to continue qualifying for tax relief – although sick leave, parental leave or other temporary absences don’t affect this.


Are there any other rules?

Yes. Both routes require you to meet five further conditions.

You cannot be a Swedish citizen and you must not have been listed as a resident in Sweden at any time in the five years prior to your application.

You also can’t have plans to stay in Sweden for more than seven years (although you won’t be penalised later if you do end up changing your mind and staying longer), and you need to work for a Swedish employer, or a foreign employer permanently established in Sweden.

Finally, you must submit your application for expert tax relief to the Taxation of Research Workers Board no later than three months after the date you began working in Sweden. If this deadline has already passed, then you can’t apply for the tax relief later – the board doesn’t accept late applications.

How do I apply?

You can apply by yourself or your employer can apply on your behalf – and you don’t need a personal number or coordination number to apply.

Whoever is applying will need to fill out the relevant form and send it to the board via email to [email protected]. You can also send it via post to the address on the form.

Bear in mind that the board needs to receive your application no later than three months after the day you start, so make sure to allow for time for it to arrive if you choose to send it via post.


How long does it last?

If you fulfil all the requirements and you are successfully granted expert tax relief, it’s valid for seven years from the time you started working in Sweden. 

If you’re granted tax relief and start a new job later on, you can apply for tax relief in your new role as well if you meet all the requirements, as long as your first tax relief decision is still valid. 

You’ll need to still meet the requirement for not planning on staying in Sweden for more than seven years, so the end date (if there is one) for your new job cannot extend past the date at which your tax relief would cease to be valid – although it can still be granted for a permanent position.



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