Swedish Skatteverket forced to change their policy with transgender people

The legal representative RFSL cooperates, lawyer Kerstin Burman, has won a court case against the Tax Agency (Skatteverket). This time in a case with a man by the Tax registered as "divorced partner, instead of" divorced ", which among other things revealed the man's change of legal gender.

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Appeal Court (Kammarrätten) in Gothenburg held in a judgment of 30 December 2014 stated that it was wrong by the Tax Agency registry office to register a man who “divorced partners”. The man, who has changed legal gender, would be registered as “divorced”. This is because otherwise it is possible to obtain information about the man who did not match his own identity and current life.

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Skatteverket (Swedish Tax Agency) appealed January 20, 2015 judgment to the Supreme Administrative Court (Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen). Now, the Court has stated that it does not grant leave to appeal in the case, which means that the Administrative Court is the one that applies.

The term “divorced partners“, the Swedish Tax Agency has taken the initiative to introduce, singling very clearly that man’s past relationship was a registered partnership and the man understood then that he lived in a same-sex relationship and is gay. This does not match the man’s identity and perception of their sexual orientation. Moreover, if it emerges that the man lived in a registered partnership with a woman, it is possible to figure out that he was previously registered as a woman in the population register. This is contrary to man’s representative, lawyer Kerstin Burman, who pushed the case on RFSL‘s behalf, the ECHR Article 8 on the right to privacy and integrity.

The indication of the man’s marital status has come to the fore in many different contexts, such as the credit assessments, and in every case the man is perceived in a way that does not match his own present identity.

I am extremely relieved profits, it has felt like a battle between David and Goliath. It is difficult for a private person to win against an authority and all its resources so I am very happy about the legal assistance I received. But it will be real to me when I see it in black and white that changed marital status has been changed, says the man who wishes to remain anonymous.

Of course it is very gratifying that the courts protects the individual’s privacy, but sad that so obvious questions to be decided by the judiciary instead of the authority concerned itself makes this type of decision, says Kerstin Burman.

The case is one of several cases that RFSL, using Kerstin Burman, drifted at  the Tax Agency. All cases have concerned the Tax Agency introduced the designations in the population register with the consequence that individuals’ privacy is violated. The persons concerned have all been transgendered or had a transgender background. In November 2015 received another case, a definitive solution as the Tax Agency themselves withdrew their appeal in a case involving the right of transgender men to be registered as their children’s fathers.

We are delighted that justice has had a greater understanding of these issues than the responsible authority. We also look forward to reading the Tax Agency’s response to the mandate they received in this year’s appropriation that was about how a number of other cases concerning persons who changed legal gender to be solved. It would be good if we didn’t need to drag this through the courts, says Ulrika Westerlund, Chair of RFSL.

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