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Denmark releases preliminary 2022 tax returns: Three things taxpayers should look out for

Over five million taxpayers in Denmark can from Thursday access their preliminary tax return, or 'forskudsopgørelse' in Danish.

Taxpayers in Denmark can check their preliminary returns from November 18th.
Taxpayers in Denmark can check their preliminary returns from November 18th. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

By logging on to the preliminary return via the skat.dk website, taxpayers can adjust expected income information and tax deductions for the current tax year.

The release of the forskudsopgørelse (preliminary tax return), along with the årsopgørelse (annual return, calculated and displayed on the SKAT website at the beginning of March) are possibly the most important dates on the Danish tax calendar.

You can check how much tax you’ve paid or are due to pay during the course of the year and edit your income and deductions details on the preliminary version of the return, the forskudsopgørelse. 

Tax authorities have asked the public to be sure to check the returns, particularly in cases where income or working situations may have changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Working from home, which can impact a tax deduction for commuting, is one relevant example in this context.

For taxpayers in Denmark including foreign residents, it’s worth checking several elements of the forskudopgørelse in plenty of time, enabling you to enter updates where necessary.

Self-employed and employed people alike can adjust their tax returns by entering any updated salary, pension or benefits information, along with deductions to which they might be entitled on their forskudsopgørelse.

The preliminary return forms the basis for the deductions, or amount of income on which tax is not paid, each month.

READ ALSO: Tax in Denmark: Preliminary returns open in November

Travel deduction (kørselsfradrag

If you travel a long distance to get to and from work, you may be entitled to deduct some of your travel expenses from your taxable income.

The travel deduction, or kørselsfradrag, is designed to cover the cost of travelling to and from work over a set minimum distance. It applies to rail and car journeys alike (for cars, the cost of fuel used for commuting comprises the deductible amount).

You can claim the deduction if you travel at total of 24 kilometres to get to and from work (12 kilometres each way, in other words). This only applies on days when you actually travelled from your home to a place of work, and not, for example, for days you spent working from home.

As such, some people now have a lower travel deduction compared to preceding years, with home working more common practice during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The value of the deduction is 26 percent. As such, if you spent 1,000 kroner on travel in a year, your tax bill can be reduced by 260 kroner.

‘A’ and ‘B’ income

‘A’ income usually registered by your employer with the tax authority, with employers declaring your tax details as they are required to do. In other words, your pay lands in your account with tax already deducted.

‘B’ income does not automatically have the relevant deductions tax deductions applied – you have to register this yourself. This could be relevant for freelancers or people who are paid royalties, for example. With B-income, you have to enter the amount you have been paid, or are expecting to receive, and pay tax yourself, usually via online banking.

If you have lost your job or switched jobs, or taken on a second job, it’s worth checking that the change has been registered correctly and in the right place.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to understand your Danish payslip

Self-employed people must register profits

If you are self-employed, it’s necessary to register changes to expected turnover at your company – which may have been impacted in an unexpected way by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shutdowns and compensation packages during the earlier stages of the pandemic affected a wide range of sectors in Denmark.

If you have had to close a company, this must also be registered as it will affect your tax return.

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PROPERTY

EXPLAINED: Denmark’s new property tax rules from 2024

New property tax rules (boligskatteregler) take effect in Denmark in 2024. How will they affect homeowners and first-time buyers?

EXPLAINED: Denmark’s new property tax rules from 2024

The new tax rules, which will impact property value tax rates (ejendomsværdiskattesatser) and land value tax (grundskyld), were originally ratified by the previous government in a 2017 bill. In general, they mean the rates for both of the above property taxes will fall in most municipalities, according to the Danish tax ministry.

A public real estate appraisal (ejendomsvurdering) forms the basis for taxation of your property. According to the tax ministry, many homeowners will find that new appraisals issued from September 2021 are higher than preceding valuations from 2011 and 2012. That is partly due to increasing house prices in recent years.

In order to avoid much higher property taxes as a result of higher valuations in the public real estate appraisals, the 2017 political agreement secured a reduction of the two forms of property tax, effective from 2024.

Homeowners who appear to be facing higher property taxes due to the new appraisals – even though tax rates will be reduced – can be eligible for a tax subsidy. This can occur in cases where a property has seen a large increase in its valuation.

In short, the new tax rules will not result in taxes for existing homeowners in 2024 that are higher than they would have been if the current rules (still in effect in 2022 and 2023) were to remain in place.

However, the tax subsidy mentioned above does not apply to new homeowners from January 1st 2024. This is because first-time buyers will be expected to “plan their finances in accordance with the new tax rules,” the ministry states.

This could have a knock-on effect on the housing market, according to financial media Finans, which wrote in November 2021 that people buying apartments would be likely to demand reduced prices as 2024 approaches, to offset the higher taxes they are likely to pay.

READ ALSO: Danish apartment sales cool to eight-year low

An analysis by Finans and Nykredit showed that apartment prices in major cities, particularly in and around Copenhagen as well as in Aarhus and Odense, will typically have to fall by around 5-10 percent for total costs for now buyers – mortgage plus tax – to be unchanged compared to the outgoing rules.

The new rules and subsequent increased taxes will hit first-time (in 2024) buyers of apartments hardest, according to Finans. That is because many buyers will not be able to afford the same mortgage they previously could, due to the higher property taxes.

One reason apartments are more likely to get tax increases under the new rules is that the valuation appraisal system left them subject to lower property tax relative to houses.

“Apartments have been too lightly taxed for many years because the land under them is massively undervalued compared to appraisals of detached house land,” Mira Lie Nielsen, housing economist at Nykredit, one of Denmark’s major banks and the country’s largest mortgage lender, told Finans last November.

People buying apartments before 2024 could also push prices down knowing they risk making a loss if they sell shortly after the tax reform takes effect.

From 2024 onwards, the two property taxes – ejendomsværdiskattesatser and grundskyld – will be pegged to appraisals of the property and land value such that if these fall in valuation, so will the property tax.

If the valuation of the property, and thereby the property tax, increases after 2024, homeowners can fix the rate of (indefryse) their taxes by postponing payment of a part of the property tax. The frozen tax payment becomes due (and is calculated) when the property is sold. Alternatively, the increased taxes can be paid in instalments.

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