The Tax Authority won't give me information about myself.

2017-06-09 i Sekretess
Good evening, I have a problem with the Swedish tax authority not allowing me to have personal information they are holding on me. I have a court case that the Tax authority has brought against me and have constantly refused to give me information which have a direct affect on the case they have brought. I have requested copies of my " kontrolluppgifter" I have also asked for the copies from 2007 but they have told me that they only have information from 2010. They tell me that they cannot send the information to me because they do not have an address for me as I am living in England at the moment. I have offed them three possibility 1) Send it by secure e-mail. 2) Send it to the state prosecutor. 3) Send it to the courts logging the documents against the case number.This information is pertinent to the case and has been mention in the petition against me. The information is personal to me and held by a government department. The information as i understand is in the procession of the tax authority and should be held for 10 years. What laws have they broken and what can i legally do for them to furnish my request?

Hello and thank you for asking us at Lawline.

Short answer:
I actually can’t find a good reason for them to not give you the documents you are asking for.
Perhaps it could be a breach of article 6.3b in the European Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. That would be a big issue and that would be something you would inform the court.
Perhapts the court will postpone the proceeding if they get informed that you have not had the possibility to prepare for the proceeding.

A government authority such as Skatteverket following swedish rules for official documents should give the documents to whoever asks according to one of the four swedish constitutions called Tryckfrihetsförordningen.
You can read a little about it in english here.

The documents can however not be left to the public if it is a document that should be kept secret. If the public authority deems the document as secret you can appeal against it at that particular authority and the decision to dont give the document to you, they will send the appeal to the court.
You could do that, but it should be done in three weeks after they decide to not give you the documents.

This means that the documents you are asking for should be given to you if the document is a official document, and if the document should not be kept secret.
The document is a official document if the document is handed over to the authority. This means that the document you are asking for should be handed over to you as a official document if it should not be kept secret.

Could the documents be kept secret from you?
The document you are asking for is apparently part of an investigation against you.
The documents are of private economic matters, this means that they could be kept secret according to the swedish law Public access to information and secrecy act.
That particular law says in chapter 12 § 1 that the secrecy should not apply when an individual is asking for information regarding their own information that could be secret for others.
That means that you should get info about yourself if it’s secret for others. But in some rare occasions, the documents could be secret even for you.

One easy example is sick people. There is a possibility for a doctor to treat a person for mental of physical problem that is so severe that telling the individual might actually make them less sesceptible for treatment. This is probably used mostly in psyciatric health care.

There is however also secrecy regarding ongoing audit for tax purposes. And of course there is no obligation to inform people that you are investigating them if that would hurt the investigation.
Which this actually might be if it is still an ongoing investigation against you.

Of course this feels a bit weird since the investigation should be done and the case against you should be completed now when this is the second time they take this to the court…

My opinion:
I actually can't find no good reason to not give you the documents you are asking for.

Have you tried changing your adress in their registry to your current home adress? It seems like that could be an issue for them regarding the information you are requesting.

I have also talked to skatteverket on the phone where they say that they can send documents abroad if needed. I could however not ask more about your situation since I do not have enough information about your personal information.

Not a fair trial?
The European Convention on Human Rights article 6.3 b could perhaps be applied to this particular matter since you don’t know the information they got, you can not possibly prepare your defence against the allegation.
The ECHR is swedish law, so Skatteverket should follow it.
The area regarding human rights is unfortunately not my area of expertise and it is basicly made up of case law which I don’t have the time to access to answer your question more than this. You would therefor need help with this from a lawyer who specificly work with these kinds of questions.

What you should do:
From our email conversation I understand that they wanted you to change your home adress in their registry. I suggest you start by doing that. It won’t hurt you to try at least.
If the information is vital for your defence you could try informing the court against a breach for 6.3b in UCHR but you really should get a lawyer that could help you with it. (Depending on how much money is involved).
Tell Skatteverket there is really no point in keeping documents secret when the case is already in court. You can hardly change anything now or hide evidence…
You can not demand that they should use special encryption for your email. And also I'm not sure that they can send information about you to another authority since the secrecy for your economic situation actually could be valid also for the state prosecutor. (Who in this case is on Skatteverkets side?).

Unfortunately I can’t help you more than this since i don’t have enough information and I don’t know what happend in the earlier court verdict. But I think that would be the main article that this breach would consist in.

Best regards,

Jonas P. Lind
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