Thinking beyond borders
Extended business travelers are likely to be taxed on employment income relating to Danish workdays.
A person’s liability for Danish income tax is determined by residence status. A person can be a resident or a non-resident for Danish tax purposes.
An individual who has a home in Denmark where he/she lives is resident for tax purposes.
An individual who stays in Denmark for at least six consecutive months is also resident in Denmark for tax purposes. Short stays abroad for leisure or holiday will not interrupt the six-month period. The tax liability comes into effect from the date of first arrival.
The general rule is that a person who is a resident of Denmark is taxable on the individual’s worldwide income.
A non-resident of Denmark is a person who does not fulfill the resident requirements, and they are generally assessable only on income derived directly or indirectly from sources in Denmark.Employment income is generally treated as Danish-sourced if it is paid from a Danish source and derived from work performed in Denmark.
Employment income is considered paid from a Danish source if the employer, formal or economic, has taxable activity in Denmark in accordance with the domestic tax law.
Employment income from a non-Danish source can also be considered taxable in Denmark for the employee. This is the case even if the employer, formal or economic has no taxable in activity in Denmark but income still relates to work performed in Denmark and the employee stays in Denmark for more than 183 days within a 12 months period.
Technically, there is no threshold/minimum number of days that exempts the employee from the requirements to file a Danish tax return, nor pay tax in Denmark. To the extent that the individual qualifies in accordance with the dependent personal services article of the applicable double tax treaty, there will be no tax liability. The treaty exemption will not apply if a Danish entity is the individual’s economic employer.
For extended business travelers, the types of income that are generally taxed are employment income and benefits-in-kind from the employer.
Taxation is based on categories of income. For example, interest is classified as investment income, and employment income is classified as personal income. Different tax rates apply to the different categories. The 2018 tax rates are as follows:
Personal income tax table 2018
tax rate including labor market tax*
* Including voluntary church tax of an average of 0.75 percent and based on an average municipality tax rate (approximately 24,9 percent). The marginal tax rate may vary approximately + 1-2 percentage point depending on which municipality the taxpayer lives in. The calculation of the marginal tax rate includes the taxable value of a mandatory employment allowance. The allowance is maximized to DKK 33,300 (2018) for employed individuals.
Local tax rates vary, but the average local tax rate for 2018 is approximately 25,9 percent, excluding voluntary church tax.
The state tax consist of a basic tax rate of 11.15 percent (2018) and a high tax rate of up to 15 percent.
Local and state tax rates apply to both residents and non-residents.
A 30 percent withholding tax may be levied on salaries of non-resident employees on a hired out scheme (i.e. employees who perform services in Denmark for a Danish company other than the employer). The Danish entity receiving the services of the employee must withhold taxes. Danish labor market contributions apply in addition resulting in an effective rate of 35.6 percent.
Expatriates assigned to Denmark can opt for a 32.84 percent (27 percent flat rate plus labor market contribution) gross tax on their cash remuneration, taxable value of company car, company paid telephone and company paid health care insurance. All other income, including other benefits are taxed at ordinary tax rates.
The expat tax regime can in total be used for 7 years.
Employees performing work in Denmark will be mandatory members of the Danish social security scheme, and thereby obliged to pay social security contributions (ATP) of DKK 1,135.80 per employee per year. The employer’s contributions to Danish social security amount to approximately DKK 8-10,000 per employee per year.An exemption from the Danish social security scheme may be obtained if there is a totalization agreement between Denmark and the home country. This applies both for residents as well as non-residents.
The tax year is the same as the calendar year.Individual tax returns should be filed no later than on 1 July of the year following the tax year.
Individuals receiving a pre-printed tax assessment from the tax authorities should file any changes no later than 1 May. The tax authorities send out a pre-printed tax assessment if the tax authorities deem the income statement to be very simple. It is generally possible to extend the due date from 1 May to 1 July.
Tax returns must be filed by non-residents who receive any Danish-sourced employment income.
If the remuneration is paid out from a Danish entity or from a Permanent Establishment in Denmark, the company has a monthly reporting obligation as well as withholding obligations.
Employees from certain countries must apply for a visa before they enter Denmark. The type of visa required will depend on the purpose of the individual’s entry into Denmark.
In most cases, foreign nationals need to have a residence and work permit before they can begin working in Denmark.
EU/EEA citizens and Swiss citizens can live and work in Denmark under the EU regulations on freedom of movement. Consequently, they do not need a work permit; however, they do need to apply for an EU-registration certificate.
In addition to the Danish domestic regulations, Denmark has entered into double taxation treaties with more than 90 countries in order to prevent double taxation and allow cooperation between Denmark and overseas tax authorities when it comes to enforcing their respective tax laws.
There is a risk that a permanent establishment (PE) could be created as a result of business travel to Denmark, depending on the type of services performed, the level of authority the employee has when performing services in Denmark and the duration of the stay in Denmark.
Value-added tax (VAT) is applicable at 25 percent on goods and services. Zero-rate may apply (e.g., newspapers). Further, some services are VAT exempted (e.g., insurance, financial services, postal, medical, education and passenger transport).
Denmark has a transfer pricing regime. A transfer pricing implication could arise to the extent that the employee is being paid by an entity in one jurisdiction but performing services for the benefit of the entity in another jurisdiction, in other words, a cross-border benefit is being provided. This would also be dependent on the nature and complexity of the services performed.
Denmark has data privacy laws.
Denmark does not restrict the flow of Danish or foreign currency into or out of the country. Certain reporting obligations, however, are imposed. The obligation to perform the reporting is levied on financial institutions. In addition, there are local rules to control tax evasion and money laundering.
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