... and taxes for all
Deductions for nonitemizers

Rock on, baby

This just in from the "say what?" files.

Metallica_2 A Swedish couple has named their baby daughter Metallica. Yeah, like the band. OK, that's really not that weird. People name their kids all sorts of unusual things all the time. Remember Nevaeh?

And the child's mother says the name fits: "She's decisive, and she knows what she wants." No indication in the press reports, though, as to whether the 6-month-old wants to hear "Enter Sandman" as her nightly lullaby.

Now here's the kicker. Although the baby's been baptized and presumably been called Metallica (Meta? Tally? Lica?) for the last several months, her name isn't official until the Swedish National Tax Board says so.

The tax board? The TAX board?

I'm the first to admit that I know very little about Sweden, other than one of my all-time favorite National Hockey League players was from there. Bengt Gustafsson. A former Washington Capital and triumphant leader, both as player and then coach, of several Swedish teams that won world and Olympic championships. And the only guy we ever saw shut down Wayne Gretzky.

But I digress.

What is up with the Swedish tax authority and baby names? Apparently, it's in charge of registering the country's population and issuing the Swedish equivalent of Social Security numbers.

I could not, however, find anything on why the Swedish tax man gets the final word on applicants' names.

And I do know that I'm glad that IRS approval isn't required for U.S. monikers.

You can read more about the tax/name battle -- the parents won a court ruling; tax officials have appealed -- here. And if anyone knows more about the naming power of the Swedish tax office, share please.


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I can't say anything about the naming powers of Sweden's Skatteverkert, but it is quite pervasive. For example, AIUI, if a Swedish woman marries, and wishes to change her name, once she tells the tax office, all government agencies (at least) get informed.

I can say that I found deciphering the Swedish tax forms fairly straightforward. In my case, this simply involved finding the line which said "We think we owe you this much money. Is this correct?" Doing this in a foreign language was a lot simpler than translating the almost-but-not-quite English favoured by the IRS.

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