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TAX

Årsopgørelse: Why taxpayers in Denmark are checking whether they are due money back

Since Friday last week, over 2.7 million people in Denmark have attempted to access the website of the national tax agency to check whether they are due rebates.

Årsopgørelse: Why taxpayers in Denmark are checking whether they are due money back
The holding screen for the queue to log on to the Danish tax agency website. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Accessing the annual tax return is a yearly event for taxpayers in the Scandinavian country.

The Danish Tax Agency tweeted that, since it began to allow access to the information via its website on Friday, taxpayers had logged on to its website 2,787,706 times and changed their tax information 748,925 times. The numbers represent unique clicks but not necessarily different users.

The authority opened access to the yearly accounts on Friday evening and has experienced heavy traffic on its website since then.

Årsopgørelsen, literally ‘the annual calculation’ in English, is a summary of income over the preceding tax year, as well as deductions and taxes paid. It can be manually adjusted, such as by changing income or tax exemption information, until May 1st.

Normally, around three in four people receive money back from the tax authorities once the return is finalised. The amount paid back varies and depends on individual circumstances.

Rebates from the tax system are automatically paid back from April 9th onwards.

A larger number of people than usual are making changes to their returns this year, news wire Ritzau reports. That has been linked to the effect of the coronavirus crisis on the economy and consequently tax payments.

“We are seeing a pattern this year whereby far more people are going in and changing their annual return or adding deductions,” Danish Tax Agency deputy director Karoline Klaksvig told Ritzau.

That includes almost 500,000 changes to deductions related to transport.

“That is 180,000 more than at the same time last year,” Klaksvig said.

The transport deduction, kørselsfradraget in Danish, applies to journeys of more than 24 kilometres to and from workplaces. It is normally automatically included in tax returns where relevant but that has not been the case this year, with many people working from home during the pandemic. As such, the number of days of travel to work must be entered manually.

I’m a Danish taxpayer. What do I need to know about this and what should I do?

The annual tax overview, årsopgørelsen, shows your income, deductions and what you have paid in taxes in the last tax year.

The annual statement is released annually in March, when you can see if you are owed money back or if you paid too little in taxes during the preceding year. In most cases, rebates are automatically deposited into your bank account.

In 2021, you can view and correct your 2020 annual statement from March 15th.

Most of the information in the annual statement is provided automatically by your employer or bank. If the information is correct, you do not need to take any further action.

However, you may need to enter some things into the report yourself, depending on your income type and whether you are entitled to any deductions.

These include deductions for home improvements (håndværkerfradrag), transport (kørselsfradrag), child support (børnebidrag) and work clothing and equipment. You also need to enter details of income from shareholdings and properties you own.

More in-depth detail on how these deductions and declarations work can be found on the Tax Agency website (in Danish) with some detail also provided on the website’s English language version.

The Danish Tax Agency can be contacted via telephone in case of queries regarding your annual return. The telephone number to contact the agency is 7222 2828.

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STRIKES

EXPLAINED: How could government intervene to settle Denmark nurses’ strike?

Over one in four people in Denmark are in favour of political intervention to resolve an ongoing nurses’ strike, but political resolutions to labour disputes are uncommon in the country.

EXPLAINED: How could government intervene to settle Denmark nurses’ strike?
Striking nurses demonstrate in Copenhagen on July 10th. OPhoto: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

In a new opinion poll conducted by Voxmeter on behalf of news wire Ritzau, 27.3 percent said they supported political intervention in order to end the current industrial conflict was has almost 5,000 nurses currently striking across Denmark, with another 1,000 expected to join the strike next month.

READ ALSO:

Over half of respondents – 52.6 percent – said they do not support political intervention, however, while 20.1 percent answered, “don’t know”.

That may be a reflection of the way labour disputes are normally settled within what is known as the ‘Danish model’, in which high union membership (around 70 percent) amongst working people means unions and employers’ organisations negotiate and agree on wages and working conditions in most industries.

The model, often referred to as flexicurity, is a framework for employment and labour built on negotiations and ongoing dialogue to provide adaptable labour policies and employment conditions. Hence, when employees or employers are dissatisfied, they can negotiate a solution.

But what happens when both sides cannot agree on a solution? The conflict can evolve into a strike or a lockout and, occasionally, in political intervention to end the dispute.

READ ALSO: How Denmark’s 2013 teachers’ lockout built the platform for a far greater crisis

Grete Christensen, leader of the Danish nurses’ union DSR, said she can now envisage a political response.

“Political intervention can take different forms. But with the experience we have of political intervention, I can envisage it, without that necessarily meaning we will get what we are campaigning for,” Christensen told Ritzau.

“Different elements can be put into a political intervention which would recognise the support there is for us and for our wages,” she added.

A number of politicians have expressed support for intervening to end the conflict.

The political spokesperson with the left wing party Red Green Alliance, Mai Villadsen, on Tuesday called for the prime minister Mette Frederiksen to summon party representatives for talks.

When industrial disputes in Denmark are settled by parliaments, a legal intervention is the method normally used. But Villadsen said the nurses’ strike could be resolved if more money is provided by the state.

That view is supported by DSR, Christensen said.

“This must be resolved politically and nurses need a very clear statement to say this means wages will increase,” the union leader said.

“This exposes the negotiation model in the public sector, where employers do not have much to offer because their framework is set out by (parliament),” she explained, in reference to the fact that nurses are paid by regional and municipal authorities, whose budgets are determined by parliament.

DSR’s members have twice voted narrowly to reject a deal negotiated between employers’ representatives and their union.

The Voxmeter survey consists of responses from 1,014 Danish residents over the age of 18 between July 15th-20th.

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