Freelance translation in Sweden and taxes
Thread poster: Samantha Hind

Samantha Hind  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:43
French to English
+ ...
Oct 5, 2012

Hi there,

I am trying to set up as a freelance translator here where I am living in Sweden. But it seems complicated and expensive with regards taxes.

Does anyone know if you effectively count as your own business if you are a freelancer? Even if you do not own your own company?

Does that mean you have to pay 59% tax regardless of how much you are working / earning?

Does anyone have advice on starting as a freelancer in Sweden?

I would be incredibly grateful for any help others might have.

Thanks in advance,


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:43
German to Swedish
+ ...
Not complicated Oct 5, 2012

It's not complicated at all. And the tax rate is exactly that of a salaried employee (the social contributions that a salaried worker's employer makes on his behalf are not stated on the pay slip). Actually the total rate is likely to be somewhat less, since more business expenses are deductible.

If you are a business (that is, you have an "F-skattsedel") you pay your social contributions yourself. That's 30-something percent of your turnover less expenses, + the VAT on your gross turnover.

Taxes are levied on what remains, at exactly the same rate as if you had earned the money on salary.
Tax contributions are assessed in advance, based on the previous year's income. This is a bit annoying if your income is falling, but you can easily adjust your tax contributions by submitting a "preliminär självdeklaration" (self-assessment).

If you do not have an F-skattsedel, the person hiring you is responsible for paying your social contributions. In practise, you cannot work as a freelancer this way, nor would you want to.

Your question if "you effectively count as your own business if you are a freelancer" indicates that you aren't familiar with the Swedish tax system at all.

Swedish tax authorities are generally helpful and informative, and the website is great (

Again, while Sweden is arguably a high-tax country, it's worth restating that tax rates on the self-employed are in practise lower than on salaried workers. The tax system is simple and straightforward compared to many others.

The 59 % you mention is the social contributions + income tax. No different from the situation of an employee.

Here's some basic information about being self-employed in Sweden:

[Bearbeitet am 2012-10-05 21:13 GMT]

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Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:43
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
go to the local tax office Oct 6, 2012


I would recommend going to the local "Skatteverket", they are very helpful, and they run (at least used to run a couple of years ago) workshops for self-employed people including us, translators and interpreters.

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Samantha Hind  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:43
French to English
+ ...
Thanks for the advice! Oct 6, 2012

Hi Joakim and Vanda,

thanks for the help there. As you pointed out Joakim, I am not familiar with the tax system here, hence my request for help. Both your ideas and info give me a good insight there.

Tack så hemskt mycket!


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