And My First Salary in Denmark Goes To…

Working in Scandinavia means relatively higher payment/hour (compared to US and emerging countries), but higher taxes. While the US is battling whether or not to tax 36-39.5%  to those with income of more than USD450.000/ year, I already ended up with 36% tax on my debut as first time worker with a beginner level of payment in Denmark. However, considering good quality life I have in Denmark such as free education, free health care, good public transportation and a safe and a very nice city of Copenhagen, I complain nothing. I would not say that I am super happy with this 36% numbers, but I can understand and voluntarily will to pay this portion of taxes for the sake of collective welfare in the society.

So, here it goes, my very first salary goes to SKAT, a Danish tax bureau. The tax includes 8% contribution to labor market and A-type tax. Everything is mostly online in this country, so I can always adjust my income and income deduction points (such as my annual payment to labor union and unemployment benefit insurance) all the year, as well as obtain my tax card online.

If one does not have tax card while earning money in Denmark, SKAT will take 55% of this type of income. And if one were caught to work illegally, of course the ending would be deportation and ban to come and work in Denmark for significant period of time.

One thing that I am happy about, SKAT explained on my tax card to which sectors in the society that portion of my money will be contributed to: Transparency. Although, one of my Danish friend told disappointingly that more than 30% of our tax goes for administration.

The lady from SKAT over the phone who helped me first time settling with my tax was also very nice and helpful. So, for you first time worker in Denmark, don’t hesitate to contact them, though the Danes prefer business and public-sectors’ system to be less human contact, less manual labor, and more online.

I have to say that paying tax in Denmark has never been a painful experience, especially if I remember that a lot portion of my sweat work in Indonesia will go to corruption in almost all sectors. I cannot endure this systemic pain.

Denmark maybe a little bit conservative when it comes to market economy (considering high taxes and sets of trade and environmental regulation companies shall meet), but in terms of social values, Denmark is quiet liberal: yes to same-sex couple marriage, yes to cross-religious marriage, yes to sexual expression, yes to marijuana (in Christiania only, and possibly Copenhagen), and yes to gender equality, including father leave for kids.

It may not be a perfect tax system, and there should be plenty of problems within Danish tax system, but at least it is relatively better than many countries (exclude the Scandinavian countries…they are pretty much awesome). Of course, “Things can always be better”, said my friend in our youth worker party organization. the ruling party in Denmark.

Yes, Scandinavia is a social democrat country. As a new Danish residence, I should say, Yes, i trust Danish welfare system (at least until now). And Yes, I am willing to let my first salary goes to SKAT and public tax, and will always be, everytime I receive my monthly paycheck.


In the end of 2012, Denmark begins to publish corporate tax publicly online to monitor business and transparency better.

And SKAT word being reversed is TAKS 😀


7 thoughts on “And My First Salary in Denmark Goes To…

  1. Pingback: Homepage

  2. I don’t want to ruin your mood but kommunes are closing schools in order to save money, they cut staff at the hospital, while giving kindergarten kids iPads that they have to pay thousands of kroner to fix them because the kids keep breaking them.

    The tax money also goes to people like my brother in law who hasn’t worked a day in his life, despite him being 36 years old and able-bodied. Kontanthjælpmodtagere. There are so many other people like him, someone named Carina who said she hasn’t worked in 26 years and complain that she only has 5000 kr left until all bills are paid (yes, she receive dole from the government) also someone named Robert who said he’s not interested to work since he also receives money from the government.

    Don’t forget the queen and their fancy dresses and lifestyles by the royal family, those are bought with our tax money too.

    While I’m totally ok in providing free education and healthcare for people who can’t afford it, you need to read more danish newspaper to read what’s going on in this country. It ain’t fairy tale. people abuse the tax money, politicians taking private jets to meetings and they stay in five star hotel and spend a chunk of state budget on alcohol. It’s like that.

    • Hi, Thank you for dropping by on my blog. I understand things are not always perfect, but I made my genuine decision: to migrate here. I want to try my best to fully integrate and focus on the positive. Who knows…maybe when I have lived here longer I may change my perspective.

      But not at this time, not on the stage of my early settlement.

      I heard and read about issues in Denmark, but I constantly be reminded, how these situation compared back in indonesia. Perfect country does not exist, but better country is always there to be lived and immersed.

      Different people have different opinions. You’ve been here for 7 years and feel fed up with social condition here. The point being is you are still here, in Denmark, 7 years…that’s long time, i would probably thought you are a Dane already, and i am pretty sure better things have been there for you as well since you moved in to this country.

      I would not pretend that problems exist in Denmark, and I agree that things can always be better though it already (somewhat) look good. I am a big critical person too 🙂 Just trying to observe this country and I’ll see what I can do about it.

      🙂 thank you for visiting my blog

      p.s. give me a time to master Danish language so i can read newspaper faster…it’s my 4th month here, entering 5, and I’m still in module 2

      • It’s good if you say you’re trying to keep a more balanced view about how things are here. I understand that things are sparkly and new when one is just here for a couple of months. It was like that too with me but as I live longer here then I learn about the bad sides too.

        What I merely beg of you is to keep a curious mind about everything, especially with the way Danish media always “glossy” things out printing Denmark as world’s best this and that, when reality is sometimes quite far from it.

        You can’t really compare here with Indonesia, it’s like comparing oranges with apples. There’s a reason why Indonesia is called developing country and DK is a developed country. We pay income tax of 10% – sure you say that the tax money goes to someone’s pocket, but when I pay 42% tax – a big chunk of my salary – I expect that it would go to better use, and most of the time, it doesn’t, that’s what I was merely trying to say with my comment.

        Take DSB for example (and believe me NSB isn’t any better – I lived a year in Oslo before btw) I pay monthly card of 900 kr for 6 zones travel and the train is always late, have technical problems and all. Once my Indonesian friend who is residing in Jakarta reminds me that it’s still better than Kopaja or KRL in Jakarta. True, but you don’t really pay 900 kr monthly for KRL, don’t you? Basically, when you pay peanuts, you get monkey, but most of the time I feel I pay gold but get a monkey too in here, to sum it shortly.

        As for “almost a Dane”, I just want to clarify that it’s not in my wish to become a Dane. I’m a proud Indonesian and will try to be as Indonesian as I can be, holding on to my tradition. I am unique and that’s what I’m proud of in the seas of uniformed hair colour and fashion style. It is my duty to learn the language and get a job, pay tax, contribute to the society but I consider it to be the limit of what integration defines, and not to change myself to become totally Danish.

        and even if one wants to become a Danish, it will not be easy as long as you can’t speak rød grød med fløde fluently (surely you have heard about this tongue twisting?) – and the last part is a joke, but you probably can guess what I mean. No chance being Danish unless you’re born here with blonde haired and blue eyed. In US, one is American first before identifying himself with whatever race or origin he comes from. In here, one is always andensgenerationsindvandrer despite he / she might be born here and has lived here all her life. Perhaps you’ll realize this in your near future 🙂

        But hey, like I said – I understand totally about you being new and I wish you all the best with your journey and experience here and I hope you don’t get to experience the bad side of Denmark, at least not yet in the following months. Stay sane, and if you think at some point there’s something wrong with yourself, take refugee in the comforts of friends and people who understand what you’ve been thru instead of dismissing your bad experiences as nonexistent.

        that said, I do enjoy your blog, it gives me fresh pair of eyes to see this place with new perspection 🙂

  3. To kutubuku.

    I dont need everyone”s acknowledgement in order to define my integration in this country. It”s like saying that a politician who wish to be agreed by all constituent, then it will be a total failure.

    To me, there is no black and white when it comes to concept of nationality, and one surely can’t be judged good or bad just from the announcement of nationalism regarding its race, gene, place they were born, something that inevitable and can’t be modified, can’t be chosen. One may be a Swedish, whose parents are Polish, and long time live in South Korea. Should a Swedish moralize her when she admitting the fact she loves South Korean social system better? when she choose to live longer there?

    It’s not like comparing an orange with an apple, Rp10,000 to DKK100, but in terms of relative sacrifice of what the government here have done for its people, surely i vote for here. Maybe i should be honest that i feel politically safer as an individual to express my mind here than being socially and religiously oppressed back then.

    it’s normal that the more a person lives in one country, the more she knows the rotten sides of it. And it’s not only in DK, it’s everywhere. Everytime I go to debate or meeting session with one political party here, we do discuss many bad bad stuff about DK, we often keep persisting, screaming, when it comes to problematic issues 😀 but not forgetting to rethink what things could be better and how.

    Let say that we have different perspective in defining integration. To me, belonging in one country is about trying to understand both the bad and good stuff of it. Live it, Love it, Learn it, otherwise Leave it, seriously.

    Here i am now, in Denmark. Migrating for good. And where many, from the locals to other migrants speak on my face that I would never be able to be part of society, and my efforts are useless just because I am not blonde and my name is not lasting with Jorgensen. But it’s my choice, i’ll define mine, and see what’s gonna happen in later years to come.

    The question now is do I want to spend 7 years here in misery? Definitely no.

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