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From Bicycles To Washing Machines: Sweden To Give Tax Breaks For Repairs (mnn.com) 146

jenningsthecat writes: The Swedish government is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to encouraging the repair of stuff that would otherwise be thrown away, according to both The Guardian and Fast Company. The country's Social Democrat and Green party coalition have submitted proposals to Parliament that would reduce the value-added-tax (VAT) on bicycle, clothing, and shoe repairs from 25% to 12%. Also proposed is an income tax deduction equalling half the labor cost of repairing household appliances. According to The Guardian, "the incentives are part of a shift in government focus from reducing carbon emissions produced domestically to reducing emissions tied to goods produced elsewhere." Per Bolund, Sweden's Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs, said the policy also tied in with international trends around reduced consumption and crafts, such as the "maker movement" and the sharing economy, both of which have strong followings in Sweden. The VAT cut may create more jobs for immigrants as it could spur the creation of a new home-repairs service industry. Also, from a science standpoint, the incentives could help cut the cost of carbon emissions on the planet as it should in theory reduce emissions linked to consumption. "I believe there is a shift in view in Sweden at the moment. There is an increased knowledge that we need to make our things last longer in order to reduce materials' consumption," Bolund said. The Guardian's report concludes: "The proposals will be presented in parliament as part of the government's budget proposals and if voted through in December will become law from January 1, 2017."
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From Bicycles To Washing Machines: Sweden To Give Tax Breaks For Repairs

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  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <mark.a.craig@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Friday September 23, 2016 @08:33PM (#52950921)

    I doubt this will be a compelling incentive if the cost of repair labor in Sweden is comparable to that in the United States. People don't repair things because (a) many are deliberately designed not to be easily reparable and (b) the labor cost of the "experts" is disproportionate to the value of having it repaired. Shaving a little bit off the sales tax of the bill is not going to offset the disproportionate cost of the alleged expertise.

    • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Friday September 23, 2016 @08:42PM (#52950969) Homepage
      And many times the labor cost is far higher than the actual amount the "laborer" is being paid. Somebody is making that extra money, but so many times it's not the person doing the actual work.
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday September 23, 2016 @09:09PM (#52951085)

        Somebody is making that extra money, but so many times it's not the person doing the actual work.

        Go to Craigslist and hire someone direct. Or go to nextdoor.com and ask your neighbors for a recommendation. If someone does a good job, give them a good review on Yelp. Spread the word.

        • My mechanic is cash only, unlicensed. He also gives a 6 month warranty on his work as long as you are running nitrous in the engine. His work is the best I've had and he is the only guy that is extremely upfront with labor and parts cost, and doesn't charge extra for parts. I found this guy by word of mouth, and I now refuse to take my cars anywhere else.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The ideal is to give a tax break to companies making goods, so they can make them repairable. However, here in the US, a lot of companies pay $0 in texas, so it may not work, but in civilized countries that actually enforce tax codes, this would be a useful thing.

    • It's true. I worked for Lenovo. For instance say an LCD replacement for tablet or laptop. You pay $300-400 for the tablet 700-800 for laptop (guestimate). LCD part on eBay $40. Repair depot charges$300. May as well buy a new one
    • and the parts are usually a rip off. it's like $500 or $600 for a dish washer. if it breaks then most times the part is like $400 plus the labor plus waiting weeks for delivery where you might as well just buy a new one.

      only time it's cheaper is with phones and tablets where it's like $100 to have apple fix your screen or $193 for Samsung to fix a screen on a Note.

    • The 'old fashioned' big American GE washers and dryers are easily repairable. After 15 years of use, I ordered two 'overhaul kits' for a few dollars and installation took about 30 minutes, after which they were good for another 15 years. The overhaul kits contain all the washers, seals, rollers, belts and whatnot that always wears out and a detailed booklet on how to install it, complete with warnings about: Don't do this, since you may cut your fingers. The Chinese/Korean stuff you can't repair even if
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      I had a lawnmower for 25 years, I went to buy another, with a straight face, they said no matter what I bought it would not last that long, lucky to get 5 or 10 years. There is one way to guarantee repairs, force warranties up, way up. Forget the bullshit 30 day warranty lets, start at a decade. It will completely alter design and serviceability for the better.

      • Seven year warranties are reasonably common for cars, reflecting the fact that reliability has increased massively. Applying this to other industries would be interesting; in cars I get the impression that it was the Koreans who broke ranks on the issue and used this to overcome people's suspicion of this new source. There's an interpretation of British law that suggests a six year warranty is now part of the package, but it's not being enforced as such.

        The problem of course is that for the poor, the extra

      • I had a lawnmower for 25 years, I went to buy another, with a straight face, they said no matter what I bought it would not last that long, lucky to get 5 or 10 years.

        They lied like dogs. Buy a Honda. You will have to replace carburetor parts periodically if you buy pump gas for it, though. That's the ethanol's fault. It happens to carbureted cars, too, especially if you don't drive them enough. The ethanol is aggressively hygroscopic, and draws moisture into the carburetor. It also eats the fuel lines.

      • You can still buy quality lawnmowers. Just buy a good brand, like a Honda, and then properly maintain it. There's a reason some mowers cost $150 and some cost $800.

    • by I75BJC ( 4590021 )
      The Summary quote is that an income tax deduction for 50% of the labor of the repair. You didn't mention that and it might be a significant amount depending on the Swedish income tax structure or it might be enough for people to repair their gadgets.
      • by macraig ( 621737 )

        I really dislike the savings as an income tax deduction. Not only is the savings deferred for up to a year, but the only way you'll ever receive it is by meticulously documenting everything. This savings is tacked-onto the process, in other words, instead of being an integral part of it. I don't believe that can succeed long term.

    • by MercTech ( 46455 )

      With poverty level cheap foreign labor it is often cheaper for the end user to replace rather than repair.
      An example for consumer electronics:
      It takes me 3-4 hours to repair a cracked solder joint on a wave soldered board with disassembly and reassembly of the unit. This would be actual repair charge on top of charge for labor done to identify what and where the problem is. Assuming a mean shop labor charge of $65 an hour (cheap rate these days) that would come to $195.00 to $260.00 before

  • The USofA can't have other nations doing something serious to reduce consumption. This will give the US govt solid reason to invade and conquer Sweden.

    If Assange gets extradited to Sweden.........

    On the other hand, it's a reduction in taxes, it'll give the GOP a stroke trying to figure out whether to support this or not.

    On the gripping hand, Sweden has a fairly robust welfare structure, and that's SOCIALISM!

    • Fortunately, Sweden cares very little about what the GOP thinks, of this I can assure you.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      Just come and liberate us.
      The government is the enemy. Gogo.

      Donald Trump. Are you listening? It's either you or Putin. Someone got to save us.

      / Johan Krüger Haglert

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sweden?!?!

    Tax cut?!?!?

    To encourage job growth?!?!

    "Progressive" heads explode!

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday September 23, 2016 @09:05PM (#52951071) Journal

      Sweden?!?!

      Tax cut?!?!?

      To encourage job growth?!?!

      "Progressive" heads explode!

      Until you figure out that the tax cut is not to corporations and the rich, but to regular people, and alt-right heads explodes instead.

      • Tax cuts benefit those who pay more taxes - the rich. A family that exists just above the poverty line is not going to get anything back when they have their washing machine repaired. But a wealthy individual would get a significant amount back - hardly fair.

        A better solution would be to increase the "environmental" tax and apply the additional tax revenue to pay for recycling and other environmental programs. Now everyone benefits equally. And by raising the price of appliances, the government would

        • I'd really like to see what factual basis you're employing for this argument, because I'm not seeing one. In fact, I come to exactly the opposite conclusion, maybe because (a) I live in Sweden, (b) I know what a washing machine costs here, and (c) I can do simple maths.

          Washing machine X costs the same regardless of your income. (Yes, if you make more, you can buy a more expensive machine, in which case it's a different machine.)

          If I make 100000 SEK a year and spend 10000 of it on that washing machine, that's 10% of my income. If I spend 5000 to repair it, that's 5%. If I get back 2500 of that on my taxes, that's 2.5%.

          If I make 200000 SEK a year and spend 10000 of it on a washing machine, that's 5% of my income. If I spend 5000 to repair it, that's 2.5%. If I get back 2500 of that on my taxes, that's 1.25%.

          So, if anything, the tax cut actually benefits low-income folks *more* than it does the wealthy since it returns a greater proportion of their income. What's your evidence to the contrary, other than grand pronouncements?

          • by hey! ( 33014 )

            It's well established that sales taxes are regressive. That's why Texas has no income tax, but a whopping 8.05% sales tax.

            • Sales taxes normally exempt food items for that reason -- so the poor can eat without being taxed. One can of course get more selective and put extra tax on luxury items. Sales taxes can be as progressive or regressive as you design them to be.

              • by hey! ( 33014 )

                Connecticut has a luxury tax on clothing costing over $1000. Several states exempt certain items like coats. But in general most states tax all clothing. Pennsylvania is the only state with a sub 4% income tax rate that exempts any clothing.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                Sales taxes normally exempt food items for that reason -- so the poor can eat without being taxed. One can of course get more selective and put extra tax on luxury items. Sales taxes can be as progressive or regressive as you design them to be.

                Sales taxes are always regressive in every case that I have seen, but politicians and special interest groups can create the illusion that this isn't the case.

                In typical cases, the sales taxes still apply to a lot of the infrastructure, tools, supplies, and so forth that is needed to produce the product and transport it to the store where the customer will buy it. Given the complex logistics chains of the modern word, there is typically a lot of places where sales tax is being added. VAT taxes the worst k

        • This is VAT. Everybody pays VAT. Rich and poor. I know, that is a foreign concept to an American, but Sweden is not in America.
          • This is VAT. Everybody pays VAT. Rich and poor. I know, that is a foreign concept to an American, but Sweden is not in America.

            Except a tax break for repairs will disproportionately benefit the people at the lower end of the scale. Think it over.

        • by Kkloe ( 2751395 )
          why should a poor sod have a washing machine to start with?
    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday September 23, 2016 @09:37PM (#52951201)

      Sweden?!?! Tax cut?!?!?

      Sweden has high taxes by American standards, but by many measures they are otherwise even more capitalist than America. Their post office is privatized, as is a big fraction of their educational system. It is very easy to start a business, and while regulations are strict, they are also streamlined and the bureaucracy is fast and efficient. Sweden ranks 8th out of 185 countries on the Ease of doing business index [wikipedia.org]. America is only one notch higher.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It is very easy to start a business, and while regulations are strict, they are also streamlined and the bureaucracy is fast and efficient.

        +1, Funny. You obviously don't live here, or know anyone who runs a small business here.

      • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Saturday September 24, 2016 @03:37AM (#52952313)

        High tax rate but also high return on value to citizens. The US has a very low tax rate but also a very low return back to citizens. What pisses off people is when they pay taxes but get very little to show for it (except a gargantuan military).

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Government only "returns" what it wants. Pacifism that enabled Hitler and state support of Islamic rapists are the kind of "value" you get in Sweden
      • Sweden has high taxes by American standards, but by many measures they are otherwise even more capitalist than America. Their post office is privatized, as is a big fraction of their educational system.

        What a coincidence. Our post office is privatized, as is a big fraction of our educational system. And then there's the influence of school administrators' unions, which are not to be confused with educators' unions as they are not the same thing and they are typically in direct conflict over where the money should be spent. Educators' unions want to spend money on education, and on reasonable salaries for educators. The admins' unions want gross administrative salaries that detract from education, and fuck

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      Sweden?!?!

      Tax cut?!?!?

      To encourage job growth?!?!

      "Progressive" heads explode!

      It's not really a tax cut - they will still spend the money just tax something else.

      What it really is is political regulation of the choice of the people from spending their money on something else than a new bathroom, someone to clean their home or bicycle tube repair into doing one of those things instead because the taxation are different on the different choices.

      By taxing something else more and this lower you just just as well see it as them spending tax money on repairing stuff people didn't thought w

  • I wonder if EU commission will let that happen without complaining it violates EU's crazy free market rules

    In the sick brain of EU leaders, a VAT incentive can be considered an unfair hidden state help for some actors. On the other hand, who could stand against such a green measure?

    • I wonder if EU commission will let that happen without complaining it violates EU's crazy free market rules

      That depends on how it is implemented. If there is a requirement that the repairperson is local to Sweden, then that would violate EU rules, and can, and should be, banned. But if a Swede can drive to Finland or Denmark to have the repair done, and still get the tax break, then it should be okay.

      • by Kkloe ( 2751395 )
        what?, no?, if a finish company can open a repair shop in sweden and tax in finland, that is what the free market says in a nutshell
    • by climb_no_fear ( 572210 ) on Friday September 23, 2016 @09:57PM (#52951279)
      Germany has been doing this for years but in the form of a tax refund. You get all of the VAT back for things like the gardner, house cleaning or plumber but only up to 2k€ or so. Supposed to discourage undocumented work (and help Germany collect the labor income taxes).
  • Good thinking (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bnmm ( 846728 )

    Before rescuing the planet from carbon emissions the Swedes might want to rescue their country first:

    SWEDEN IN CHAOS: Number of ‘no-go zones’ INCREASED as police lose control over violence [express.co.uk]

    Sweden turns on migrants amid rise in violence and sex attacks [express.co.uk]

    Sweden on the BRINK: Malmö in flames as vengeful thugs set cars alight [express.co.uk]

    • The immigrants set lots of cars on fire all the time.

      Where I live towards the end of August more or less all the windows in the area center had been smashed and two weeks ago a car was lit on fire on "my" parking loot, someone had to set the youth center and music and dancing activity center on fire as-well as the children facility of the primary care center.

      We also have all the immigrants in Malmö who use a in debt / criminal / social low-life "guardian" as owner of their car to not pay any taxes, ins

      • by Anonymous Coward

        First You complain about every problem being the immigrants fauld and then You complain about "the situation and actions of and in my life is someone else's fault"-trash.

        That is the logic applied by the racist Sweden Democrats when they try to portray Sweden as the worst country in the world because of immigration.

        Sweden has a problem with poor and marginalised suburbs, just like all European countries do. But it is really nothing compared to other countries in the EU or the US. Sweden has seen a steady dec

      • The immigrants..

        (yada yada...)

        ...But supposedly it's a good joke and if you're not in then you're a racist fascist anti-democrat.>

        (yada yada)

        No, it's not a joke. It's not a joke that millions of immigrants are blamed worldwide if one commits a crime somewhere in the world but hundreds of crimes by racist, fascist anti-democrats are too common to be news anywhere. How many people know about the 64 arson attacks on refugee centres in Sweden [qz.com] and numerous similar attacks in Germany, Denmark and daily incidents of violence against immigrants [skynews.com.au] in Ireland, the UK and elsewhere? How many know of the Afghan refugee driven to [yahoo.com]

    • Re: Good thinking (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As someone from Sweden I don't know if I should laugh or cry every time articles like these are brought up.

      It's cherry picking at best. Crime in Sweden is going down by all objective, measurable standards. Sure, we have problems like anyone else but this is just crazy.

      • What did you expect from the Express?—makes the Metro look like an actual newspaper.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Get lost... Stop propagating the lies that everything is fine...

        https://www.bra.se/bra/bra-in-... [www.bra.se]

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          Probably worth noting that to compare crime rates reported, you have to use a similar method of counting. In every country something like a murder-robbery will be counted at least twice, once under the homicide category and once under property crimes. Sweden's rates are inflated by a system in which the same crime can be categorized more ways.

          So simply adding up all "reporting offenses" confounds two factors: the rate of underlying social disorder and the practices of the reporting system.

          If you want to co

        • One non-current year of slight rise, not adjusted per-capita, is quite the meaningless statistical cherry-picking. I have no idea whether crime is on the rise in Sweden (I'm American so I don't care), but it's easy to see that your link does not provide reasonable support for your claim.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by BlueStrat ( 756137 )

      Before rescuing the planet from carbon emissions the Swedes might want to rescue their country first:

      SWEDEN IN CHAOS: Number of âno-go zonesâ(TM) INCREASED as police lose control over violence

      Sweden turns on migrants amid rise in violence and sex attacks

      Sweden on the BRINK: Malmà in flames as vengeful thugs set cars alight

      Those who are working towards effectively abolishing national sovereignty and erecting a structure for central global governance know that great changes only occur at times of great turmoil, war, famine, financial/currency system collapses, and anarchy/chaos.

      There are some disturbing societal/cultural/political parallels to pre-WW2 Germany occurring in the US. The EU is on fire. Nationalism and populism is on the rise in many powerful nations around the world. The global financial markets are in dangerous t

    • You linked to the Express. But I'm willing to bet that you thought you were linking to a news site.

    • Except that the sources quoted are all the "Daily Express", a sensationalist rag.
      Sure the Swedes have their problems, but less than those in many other European countries and the USA

    • There is no such thing as a no-go or no-fly zone in Sweden. The police outguns any criminal by several orders of magnitude and not a single cop killer have ever escaped justice (not to mention that it was 17 years since the last police man where killed).
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why is this considered a Troll? I'm so sick that telling the truth is banned from mainstream media. I live in a village with only a few hundred Muslims on a total population of 2300. From the attempted coup in Turkey until now, their have been way too many riots. A total of 43 cars were burned. Can you imagine this amount of cars in a small village? That's about 1 out of 12 cars were totally destroyed because of political problems in Turkey. 3 restaurants were destroyed, one was completely burned down inclu

  • by matbury ( 3458347 ) on Friday September 23, 2016 @09:51PM (#52951257) Homepage

    ...we can't shop our way to a greener future? Consumer choice of which soon-to-be-landfill products isn't going to prevent climate change?!

  • by kenh ( 9056 )

    The country's Social Democrat and Green party coalition have submitted proposals to Parliament that would reduce the value-added-tax (VAT) on bicycle, clothing, and shoe repairs from 25% to 12%.

    25% VAT in Sweden - wow... I guess that helps fund those "free" social services Sweden is famous for.

  • We need to realise that most of us are not so much buying things themselves as much as the services they render. Unless you've made a hobby of collecting vintage power-drills, you don't care so much about the drill itself as you do for the hole it makes. In The Ecology of Commerce, Paul Hawken provides case-studies of business firms, such as Interface Carpet, which have moved to a leasing model where you lease the service of carpeting rather than buying physical carpet. This has many desirable effects, such

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