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European Commission - Press release

State Aid: Commission approves Swedish tax breaks for employee share options

Brussels, 26 June 2017

The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules a Swedish scheme to reduce the taxation of employee share options. The scheme will allow young and small innovative companies to recruit and retain employees without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.

The Swedish support scheme to small companies will amount to SEK 160 million (€16.35 million) over ten years. The aid will be granted through a reduction in the taxation of employee share options. In particular, employers will pay lower social security contributions, and employees will benefit from income tax relief when exercising their share options.

Start-ups and small companies in Sweden often do not have enough capital or financial resources to offer competitive wages, making it difficult for them to attract and retain talented and skilled personnel. This in turn hinders their productivity and prevents them from achieving their full growth potential. By decreasing the overall employment costs for young and small companies that award employee share options, the measure aims to reduce the financial risks linked to hiring new employees and to encourage employees to continue working in smaller companies.

The Commission believes that public intervention both at employer and employee level is needed to allow smaller companies in Sweden to offer competitive remuneration, allowing these companies to contribute further to economic growth and innovation. This is also in line with the Commission policy to promote a more entrepreneurial culture and create supportive environment for SMEs.

The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which allows state aid to facilitate the development of certain economic activities or areas. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure is in line with EU state aid rules.

 

Background

The non-confidential version of this decision will be made available under the case number SA.47144 in the State Aid Register on the Commission's Competition website, once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

IP/17/1794

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General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


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