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Exchange rate: What are your options if you live in Denmark but have income in pound sterling?

The value of the British pound has fallen steeply against the dollar in recent days but also against the Euro – and the krone. So what should you do if you live in Denmark but have income – such as a pension, rental income or a salary – in pound sterling?

Exchange rate: What are your options if you live in Denmark but have income in pound sterling?
The weakness of the pound could cause major financial headaches for some Brits in Denmark. Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

Exchange rates might sound like a spectacularly dull topic, but if you live in Denmark (where, naturally, your day-to-day living expenses are paid in kroner) but have income from the UK in pounds, then the movement of the international currency markets will have a major impact on the money that ends up in your pocket.

This is not an uncommon situation – Denmark-based Brits may work remotely as freelancers from British companies and be paid for invoices in pounds, while retired Brits might be receiving a British pension.

Others might have income from rental properties or investments.

So a big loss in the value of the pound against the euro – and by extension, the krone – can have a major impact on Brits in Denmark.

The most recent fall in the value of the pound was sparked by the UK government’s new mini budget and has already seen a relative recovery. 

The pound-krone exchange rate over the last month. Chart: xe.com
 
 
But while this one-time fall is spectacular, it’s also part of a longer term trend in the fall of the value of the pound, especially since Brexit, that has seen people such as foreign-based pensioners lose a big chunk of their income.
The pound-krone exchange rate over the last 10 years. Graph: xe.com

So if you have income in pounds, what are your options?

Income in kroner – obviously this isn’t an option for everyone, especially pensioners, but the best way to protect against currency exchange shocks is to make sure that you’re paid in the same currency that you spend in.

Alternatively, income in euros: the advantage of the euro in Denmark is that its value is pegged to the krone and not sensitive to exchange rate fluctuations.

For those being paid from abroad, billing in euros means you could work in any EU country – including the anglophone ones like Ireland – and get your salary in euros.

Depending on your employer, it might also be possible for you to ask to bill in euros. 

Work in Denmark – if you’re currently not working or want to switch to local currency income, then an obvious option is to take up some work in Denmark.

Depending on your work and residency status, as well as the field you work, the practicality of this option ranges wildly from one person to the next.

READ ALSO: How can you get a work permit in Denmark if you are not an EU national?

Exchange rate – if your income can only be paid in pounds, it’s crucial to ensure that you get the best exchange rate possible and that you don’t waste money on international transfer fees.

The best options here are online banks or money transfer services, which compete on the rates that they offer, so usually have the most advantageous rate.

Some online banks also have the option to set up accounts in both pounds and kroner, so that you can receive money in pounds and spend it in kroner without having to make bank transfers, which can attract fees.

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TAXES

Danish government returns debt payments from 138,000 people 

Around 138,000 people in Denmark have been unable to repay debts to the Danish state in 2022 after money they paid was refunded.

Danish government returns debt payments from 138,000 people 

From January to October 2022, 138,000 people in Denmark trying to square their debts with the government were refused due to confusion about whether the Danish Debt Collection Agency (Gældsstyrelsen) actually has the right to receive it, newspaper Berlingske reports.

Having a debt to the Danish public sector on your books can have serious financial consequences, including jeopardizing your eligibility to secure a mortgage.

Data from the Debt Collection Agency indicate the number of debts considered “not ready for recovery” has increased by 1.5 million this year. Half of those debts are connected to the Danish Tax Authority (Skattestyrelsen). 

In total, the 138,000 people were refunded 121 million kroner, including 17 million kroner in unpaid interest. That works out at an average refund of 750 kroner per person.

Based on the scale of the problem, the government will have to consider cancelling some of the debts, Peter Bjerre Mortensen, professor of public administration at Aarhus University, tells Berlingske. 

“They need to swallow some very big camels and/or simplify some legislation or forgive some debts, because right now it seems that things are still going the wrong way with regard to collecting public debt,” Mortensen said. 

The issues with ‘unpayable’ debts first arose in 2015 when EFI, the IT system Skat used to collect debt, was shuttered, according to Berlingske.

Debts to the Danish state have been growing since then. The parliamentary ombudsman said earlier this week that he would try to find out why individuals have been unable to repay debts.

“The ombudsman has received complaints from several members of the public and there have been articles in the media about people who could not repay their debt to the state,” wrote the ombudsman, Niels Fenger.

Tax minister Jeppe Bruus has previously recognised the issue with the repayment system.

“This is a huge challenge and something that must be worked on and improved,” he told newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September.

READ MORE: ‘Topskat’: What is Denmark’s high income tax bracket? 

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