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Journal Article

Voting Rights Compared to Income Taxation and Welfare Benefits Through the Swedish Lens


Lind,  Yvette
Business and Tax Law, MPI for Tax Law and Public Finance, Max Planck Society;

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Lind, Y. (2020). Voting Rights Compared to Income Taxation and Welfare Benefits Through the Swedish Lens. Florida Tax Review, 23(2), 713-742. doi:10.5744/ftr.2020.2009.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-FCC8-6
Ongoing globalization and increased taxpayer mobility not only exacerbate already existing shortcomings when allocating taxing rights but also legal mismatches with regard to access to welfare benefits and voting rights. All three legal areas (taxation, access to welfare benefits, and voting rights) are of importance for those individuals who choose to work across borders or relocate themselves to another state on a more permanent basis. The extent of this importance will, naturally, vary between taxpayer groups due to individual circumstances and needs. Yet, some more general deductions may still be made.

This Article identifies and analyses, through a traditional legal study, legal mismatches between taxation, access to welfare benefits, and voting rights in Sweden. These three legal areas are analysed through the application of a taxpayer case study consisting of six classical taxpayer groups commonly found within international taxation. The result of the study illustrates that there are apparent mismatches between taxpayer groups, some more comprehensible than others.

In conclusion, mobile individuals may, as a result of disparities between tax allocation, formal citizenship, and voting privileges, contribute financially to a state yet not have the possibility to exercise influence over their tax situation due to the lack of formal citizenship and voting privileges in that particular state. Those who vote to change taxation and public spending are not always the same as those who pay taxes. This issue is naturally complex as the group of individuals excluded from such political influence is a highly diverse one, reaching from high net value individuals to stateless persons seeking asylum, subject to individual circumstances and needs. The Article is part of a larger body of work, done under the umbrella of Political (Tax) Equity in a Global Context, in which I explore how increased taxpayer mobility challenges not only traditional legal frameworks associated with taxation but also the allocation of political rights and benefits. The traditional perception of citizenship as the basis for voting rights is, as illustrated through various publications linked to the project, inadequate when dealing with mobile taxpayers.