There is some uncertainty among berry-buyers as to what to do about tax for foreign berry-pickers. The rules that apply are clarified below.
A foreign berry-picker who must have a visa to enter Sweden, and who is invited to pick berries in organised form for a company that buys the berries, is considered to be doing work for the berry-buyer. The pickers must pay tax in Sweden and the company that buys the berries must pay employment tax.
Foreign berry-pickers who come to Sweden to work for a shorter period than six months are taxed in accordance with the Act on Special Income Tax for Non-residents (SINK). The special income tax means that a tax deduction of 25% is made. It is the person who pays the wages for the work (the berry buyer) who must make the tax deduction. It is also possible to be taxed according to the normal rules that apply for income tax.
An application for special income tax for non-residents is made by the berry-picker or the berry-buyer on form SKV 4350. When the tax office has made a decision regarding special income tax, the decision is sent to the berry-buyer who makes the tax deduction in accordance with the decision.
Berry-pickers who are invited to Sweden in an organised manner are considered to have been given an assignment to pick berries. The wages paid to the berry-picker are therefore to be regarded as equivalent to payment for work that has been done. For the same reason, the person who pays wages to the berry-picker must pay employment tax, make tax deductions, and send a statement of income to the tax office and to the employee. This applies regardless of whether the berry-picker is paid for every kilogram picked or by the hour.
In its judgement RÅ 2003 ref. 89, the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court ruled that berry-pickers requiring a visa who are invited to Sweden in organised form for the purpose of picking berries are to be regarded as having an assignment to pick berries for the berry-buyers.