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TAXES

Why it pays to check your Danish preliminary tax return in January

Taxpayers in Denmark still have time to adjust their 2023 preliminary tax return (forskudsopgørelse) with Skat, the Danish Tax Agency, before too much or too little is deducted from January paychecks.

Why it pays to check your Danish preliminary tax return in January
January is a good time of year to make sure you have the correct details on your preliminary Danish tax return. File photo: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Preliminary tax returns or forskudsopgørelser for the forthcoming year are released in November, meaning they can carry information over from the preceding tax year (the current year at the time of release). Tax years in Denmark follow calendar years.

If your circumstances have changed since last year, it’s therefore a good idea to update your preliminary tax returns for 2023 now.

It should be noted that taxpayers who do not pay the right amount of tax in the first month of the year can correct their preliminary returns later in 2023. This means the difference in tax paid in January would be spread across the rest of the year.

But if your circumstances have changed significantly since the last calendar year it makes sense to update now so that you are paying the correct amount of tax from the beginning of the new (tax) year.

READ ALSO: Forskudsopgørelse: Why checking your preliminary Danish tax return matters

“It’s never too late to go in and check your preliminary tax return. You can do that every day, all year round. It’s just important to do it now in relation to the paycheck for January,” Danish Tax Authority junior director Jan Møller Mikkelsen told news wire Ritzau.

Annual tax returns (årsopgørelser) in Denmark cover calendar years. They are released in March and finalised in late spring, meaning you have this period to correct the information on your tax return from the previous calendar year.

If you paid too much tax during the preceding year and didn’t adjust your preliminary return during the course of that year, you could therefore correct the final return the following spring to ensure you still paid the correct tax. Paying too much tax would result in a rebate, but the reverse applies if you pay under the correct rate for your circumstances, meaning you might receive a large bill further down the line.

Both of these scenarios can be avoided by adjusting the forskudsopgørelse during the ongoing tax (calendar) year.

When wages are paid into current accounts at the end of this month, it will be the first wage packet of 2023. That means now is the last chance to correct tax details carried over from 2022 to make sure deductions of income tax for the first monthly wage of 2023 are correct.

“We experience increasing numbers of calls from the public in January when people can’t understand why the first payment of the year is wrong,” Mikkelsen said.

“Now is the time to go in and check the preliminary tax return if you want to ensure the correct wages are paid in January,” he said.

The tax authority advises updating your preliminary return or forskudsopgørelse — a projection of your expected income for the year along with the deductions you’re eligible for — if your circumstances have changed in one or more of the following ways:

  • Changed jobs 
  • Been promoted or received a salary increase 
  • Taken on a mortgage 
  • Refinanced your mortgage 
  • Changed your commute 

Because a relatively large number of people refinanced their mortgages in 2023, this is an area that should be given particular attention for those affected, Mikkelsen noted.

You can change your preliminary tax return any day of the year by visiting the Skat website and signing in with your MitID. The agency can also be contacted over the phone or in writing for guidance on the preliminary return and other tax matters.

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For members

WORK PERMITS

EXPLAINED: Why Danish businesses want to scrap bank account work permit rule

The Confederation of Danish Employers is pushing for an end to a rule that means the salaries of foreign employees must be paid into a Danish bank account.

EXPLAINED: Why Danish businesses want to scrap bank account work permit rule

What is the background to the banking rule? 

The rule was first introduced in 2017 by the Liberal (Venstre) Party minority government, but was then extended by the Social Democrats to cover practically all employees working in Denmark from outside the European Union. 

When the rule was proposed, the government said requiring all payments to be made to an account in a Danish bank would “strengthen the possibilities for Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) to check if an employee is in fact receiving the salary promised in their employment contract”. 

Under the rule, a bank account needs to be set up within 90 days of the residence permit being granted or the employee entering Denmark. 

Why is it a problem? 

It can take months for a new arrival in Denmark to get a Danish bank account, as they first need to get a residency permit, then a CPR number, a Danish address, access to the MitID digital identification service, and a health insurance card. 

As a result, business organisations have argued that bureaucracy means they can sometimes go for months without a salary.

“For employers, it is extremely stressful to have highly educated and highly qualified employees they would like to retain in their new position, but they cannot pay their wages,” Rikke Wolfsen, head of the Danish immigration practice at EY, told the Politiken newspaper. “As for the employees, companies have told us that some just say, ‘well, I can’t do that, this. There are other countries in the EU where I avoid all that hassle’.” 

According to a survey by the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), 84 percent of Danish companies said that international employees had problems getting a Danish bank account. 

Søren Kjærsgaard Høfler, a consultant at DI, argued in comments to Politiken that SIRI could check that the right salary was being paid through the Danish Tax Agency’s digital reporting system, eIndkomst, making the extra security of requiring Danish bank accounts unnecessary. 

In addition, he said he knew of no other country that had a similar requirement. 

Who wants to get rid of the bank rule? 

Denmark’s three major business organisations, DI, the Confederation of Danish Employers, and the Danish Chamber of Commerce are all calling on the new three-party coalition to remove the rule in reforms to work permits expected to be announced later this month. 

“We have set something up which is quite simply pointless,” Erik Simonsen, deputy director of the Confederation of Danish Employers told Politiken, calling on the government to “remove this sort of thing, which only serves to make life more difficult.” 

Høfler said that DI “supported the companies in saying that we do not see any sense in this rule”. 

The Liberal Party, one of the three parties in Denmark’s new ruling coalition, has given its support to scrapping, or at least reforming, the rule. 

“Of course, we must take the messages we receive from the business community seriously when it comes to the fact that they do not think this makes sense”, Christoffer Aagaard Melson, employment spokesman for the Liberals, told Politiken. 

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