Debate:  The electronics tax punishes the disadvantaged and harms the environment

, VD

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Why should a computer, TV or game console cost SEK 670 more in Sweden than, for example, in Finland or Denmark? 
Well, in Sweden, there is a tax on electronics that mainly makes life more expensive for those with the thinnest wallets. In addition, the “environmental tax” harms the environment. Does that sound reasonable? Write several industry representatives in Expressen.

 DEBATE. In light of high inflation and high-interest rates, the electronics tax hit young people, families with children, and those with thinner wallets. Unlike many other taxes, it is not determined by the commodity’s price but by its weight. For a product for SEK 2,000, you can pay SEK 670 in electronics tax. 

Electronics contain flame retardants. These chemicals are needed to reduce the fire risk, for example, when the product is in use or charging. Flame retardants can be dangerous, but they do not come into contact with humans, as they are inside the appliances. 

Swedish governments have tried to reduce the use of chemicals in the home environment and introduced a tax on flame retardants in electronics in 2017. Since then, the tax has been sharply increased several times. The problem is that the tax doesn’t work at all. 


The electronics tax is only available in Sweden. However, Sweden is too small a market for international manufacturers to change their production or make specific mobile phones or game consoles just for us. 

The result is more expensive products for Swedish consumers. However, buying an identical product from an e-commerce outside Sweden and avoiding taxes is easy, as the supervision is inadequate and almost non-existent. This is detrimental to the Swedish economy, jobs and tax revenues. 

Work is already underway to phase out and ban hazardous chemicals in the EU. This is where Swedish politicians should focus their work instead of on counterproductive national taxes. 

The electronics tax does not solve any problems; it only creates new ones. Those who are worst affected are already struggling financially: The share of taxes in the price of, for example, a cheap TV is higher than that of an expensive TV. 

Forced to choose cheaper 

Since the tax can be as high as SEK 670 on a product, consumers are forced to choose cheaper products than they would otherwise have, products that may have a shorter lifespan. This means that the tax has a negative impact on the environment. That can’t be the idea. 

Can’t you buy used products if you don’t have enough money? Yes, partly, but the electronics tax also puts a spanner in the works for the second-hand market. The tax is 

also levied on imported second-hand goods and becomes an even more significant part of the price. 

The consequence is that second-hand goods are instead sold in other countries in the EU and that Swedish companies that want to promote second-hand trade in electronics cannot meet increasing Swedish demand. 

If the government thinks it is a good policy to worsen the economy the most for those who have the least, drive jobs out of Sweden, and undermine the reuse of electronics, then the electronics tax is the right way to go. Otherwise, the government can (read should) simply abolish the tax and push for development within the EU instead. 

The flame retardants in the products are the same in both cases. 


Pernilla Enebrink vd ElektronikBranschen 

Frida Faxborn Business Policy Expert, TechSverige 

Mattias Lindahl Professor (in product-related environmental work), Linköping University and member of the Delegation for Circular Economy 

Karin Aase, Head of Trade & Sustainability, The Association of Swedish Engineering Industries 

Carl Dalhammar Senior Lecturer, Centre for Environmental and Climate Science, Lund University 

Per Strömbäck, spokesperson, The Swedish Games Industry