Enforcement Authority

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The Enforcement Authority (Swedish: Kronofogdemyndigheten; literally: The Crown's Bailiff Authority) is a government agency handling debt collection, distraint and evictions in Sweden.

The Enforcement Authority is the only organization in Sweden empowered to withdraw money from bank accounts of debtors and, if necessary, visit the homes and companies of debtors to claim property. The Administration also has the authority to deduct money directly from a debtor's income. It can collect debts to individuals and businesses as well to the government.

A person or organisation requiring payment of an outstanding debt submits a claim to the Authority. This is forwarded to the debtor who must respond within 10 days. If there is no response, and it is established that the claim has reached the recipient, the Authority can take possession of money or property from the debtor. If the debt is denied within 10 days, a court must establish the debt. This a fairly short time, and furthermore creditors are more impatient today than earlier years. Someone taking a four week vacation trip, can if they forgotten to pay a bill, find that the Enforcement Authority has withdrawn money from a bank account when they are back.

Taxes have a special procedure in that they must be paid within the assigned time even if the debtor considers them to be incorrect. The Authority will claim the money and, if the tax claim is subsequently determined to be incorrect, the money will be refunded.

The Authority allows a debtor to keep those necessities required to support themselves and any dependents. A debtor's home can be sold by the Authority.

All debtors are recorded on the Authority's public register, and remain until three years after the debt has been paid. This makes it extremely difficult for the debtor to gain any credit in that period. In many cases it will also, during this period, prevent the debtor from doing things that require a certain economic credibility, such as renting an apartment or subscribing to services.

In countries where there is no general enforcement authority, anyone claiming money need to perform the legal process themselves, or use a debt collection company. In Sweden, it is still considered complicated, so most companies use debt collection companies for the process.

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