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Prorector: Denmark's tax system is not fair

Top researchers are forced to pay high Danish taxes without reaping all the benefits, argues University of Copenhagen prorector

The Danish tax system may be good for people who spend their whole life in Denmark. But it does not work well for international researchers who come to this country for a limited time period. This is according to Prorector Thomas Bjørnholm, who is responsible at the University of Copenhagen for international relations, research and innovation.

His comments come in the context of an interview with the University Post, where he presents a plan to attract more international research talent and put the University into the absolute global elite.

The Danish tax system may be good for people who spend their whole life here, but not for those who contribute to the research community here for a limited period. And the reduced ‘research tax’ rate for the first few years of a researcher’s residence only alleviates the problem, he argues.

Left your money behind

»Danish taxes are the highest in the world. If you are born and live and die in Denmark, the benefits are fine. But if you check in for ten years at the peak of your career?,« he asks rhetorically.

Even with the benefits of the ‘research tax’ (Da. forskerskat… ed.) system, it is not as attractive as it should be to talented international researchers from abroad.

»Perhaps you don’t have your kids in a state school, or your parents in the public hospital. Then you move on, you need to pay for these services in a new country, and you can’t, because you have left your money in the Danish tax system. This is not fair,« he says.

Apart from the tax system, Thomas Bjørnholm outlines other stumbling blocks to his global ambition for Copenhagen. They include a lack of flexibility on degree formats, and a Danish introverted culture.

Read the articles: Copenhagen held back by Europe and New friends in 48 hours? Not here in Denmark.

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