STOCKHOLM Dec 19 Sweden will cut taxes on stock
options payments for employees in small start-ups in a bid to
boost investment and jobs, the government said on Monday.
The new rules, due to come in from Jan. 2018, follow
criticism from music streaming company Spotify and other firms,
that Sweden's high taxes make it hard for start-ups to attract
The centre-left coalition said that, as long as the European
Commission approves the changes, stock options would be taxed as
capital gains when cashed in, rather than as straight income.
Capital gains are taxed at 30 percent in Sweden against
income tax that can be as high as 60 percent.
The tax break will be available for companies with up to 50
employees, sales of up to 80 million crowns ($8.5 million) and
be available for up to 10 years, Finance Minister Magdalena
Andersson, Markets Minster Per Bolund and Enterprise Minister
Mikael Damberg said in a signed article in business daily Dagens
In April last year, Spotify said it would focus recruitment
outside its home base in Sweden due to worries about getting the
In an open letter to the government, Spotify founders Daniel
Ek and Martin Lorentzon said expansion in Sweden was hampered by
a lack of available housing and computer programmers and by high
taxes on stock options.
With more than 40 million subscribers and revenues in 2015
of 1.9 billion euros, Spotify would be too large to benefit from
($1 = 9.3369 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Simon Johnson)