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TAXES

Forskudsopgørelse: Why checking your preliminary Danish tax return matters

Taxpayers in Denmark can now preview their preliminary tax returns, or forskudopgørelse, for 2023 and correct earnings and deductions information.

Forskudsopgørelse: Why checking your preliminary Danish tax return matters
Taxpayers in Denmark can check their preliminary returns from November . File photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Tax Authority, Skattestyrelsen, said that over 700,000 logins to the skat.dk platform occurred between Tuesday and Thursday to check their preliminary 2023 tax return or forskudsopgørelse. It is unclear how many are unique logins. 

Next year’s preliminary tax returns were made available on the tax website on Tuesday.

High interest in checking tax information in advance is usual, but the number of logins in the first three days is higher than ever before, according to Danish Tax Authority vice director Jan Møller Mikkelsen.

“This tells us that Danes are now very alert to their tax budget for the coming year,” Mikkelsen said.

“A preliminary return that is correct is the best way to predictable tax finances,” he said.

READ ALSO: Three things to know about Denmark’s ‘forskudsopgørelse’ preliminary tax return

By ensuring totals are correct now, taxpayers can ensure they do not have to pay a tax deficit when the returns are finalised next year.

The Tax Authority therefore advises all taxpayers to check their preliminary returns.

“You must particularly remember to look at your preliminary tax return for 2023 if there have been changes in your life in 2022,” Mikkelsen said.

 “If, for example, you have changed job, bought or sold a house, travel further to work or have more or less profit in your company, it’s important to go in and update it,” he said.

A large number of homeowners have restructured their mortgages this year due to high interest rates, another reason tax returns could change.

“Interest deductions [rentefradrag, ed.] are something many of us have been used to not thinking about. Interest costs have been low because many have had interest close to zero and that has not changed much until this year,” Louise Aggerstøm Hansen, senior analyst and private economist with Danske Bank, told news wire Ritzau.

“Because many people have restructured to loans where interest rates have changed quite a lot. That can be an extra reason to change the preliminary tax return,” she said.

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

In some cases, you may have paid too little over the course of the year, which can result in a rebate.

The November 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 among the key dates on the Danish tax calendar.

Within a set deadline which falls at the beginning of May, taxpayers can edit their tax information, such as by changing income or tax deduction information, altering their final return and thereby payable tax.

A range of deductions can be applied to Danish income tax and you can check whether you qualify for these and enter information using the forskudsopgørelse. Deductions can be given for pensions contributions, donations to charities, unemployment insurance and trade union membership and commuting costs among other things.

Prior to the March publication of the annual return, 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. 

Deficits or rebates are notified to taxpayers once the annual return is finalised, based on the tax you have paid throughout the year compared to the calculated amount due on the tax return.

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

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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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