Taxes – U.S. vs. Sweden. How are they different?

Only 2 countries require all citizens to file taxes: Eritrea and the good ol’ US of A. Tax season in the U.S. can be stressful, especially for ex-pats. However, I’ve been filing my taxes for a couple of years now and feel that I have got the hang of it. Aside from this year, as there were some changes with the forms.


It would be wonderful if the tax system in the U.S. was as easy as the one in Sweden. All I had to do was log-in make sure all my information was correct and then click submit. I am even getting a refund back. Super easy and no hair-pulled out. I was in and out of the Skatteverket (Tax Agency) website in about 15 minutes. However, this is depending on the diversity of your finances. For instance, someone who has investments locally or abroad will need to send the information to Skatteverket. Especially since not all agencies send that information. If you are an ex-pat then chances are your tax filing will include extra forms. However, you are in luck, there are knowledgable agents who can help you fill it out.


U.S. taxes, on the other hand, are another story. It is so complicated and confusing that many people pay business like H&R block to file their taxes. This is the result of lobbying and it is set up to be difficult. The IRS already has a lot of our tax information since our employers, banks, and other financial institutions send in our information. However, we must gather all the paperwork, fill a large number of forms, and send it in.

As a U.S. citizen, tax season is already stressful but the fact that the U.S. requires citizens to file makes it worse. So, not only do I have file taxes in the country that I am a resident, I have to file for a country that I am a citizen. This is unheard of in most countries since tax filing is completed by residents only.

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