Review of the Swedish tonnage tax regime

by Ebba Perman Borg, Victor Elovsson and Maria Ström


Bird flying over a wave.

On 29 June 2023, the Swedish government initiated a review of the Swedish tonnage tax regime.

The tonnage tax regime is a voluntary tax system that shipping companies may choose instead of conventional corporate taxation. Under this system, income from shipping activities is calculated based on standardised factors related to cargo or passenger revenue potential. The income is then subjected to the ordinary tax rate.

Further to the tonnage tax system, shipping companies are in connection with, among other things, the handling of ship mortgages, subject to stamp duty. Due to this, Swedish shipping companies may choose to register their ships in a country where no stamp duty equivalent to the Swedish one is imposed, instead of in Sweden.

For the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of Swedish shipping, the review shall therefore:

  • analyse whether there are reasons to abolish the stamp duty when granting applications for ship mortgages; and
  • evaluate and propose measures for the further development of the tonnage tax system in accordance with its purpose, i.e., to increase the number of Swedish-flagged vessels and to provide Swedish shipping companies with competitive conditions that are equivalent to those of shipping companies in other neighbouring countries.

The review is set to be completed and presented on 29 December 2023.

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