Choosing a name for your new son or daughter is a difficult decision, one that requires at least the mother and father to be in agreement. In Sweden there is one more necessary party: the Swedish tax agency.
Swedish people are required to have their child’s name approved by the Swedish tax agency before the child turns five. If parents fail to do so, they can be fined up to 5,000 kroner ($770 USD). The law originally was put in place in 1982, reportedly to prevent citizens from using royal names, but the law states the rationale is that by approving the name the tax agency can protect a child from an offensive or confusing name.
What kind of names are unacceptable? The tax agency has rejected “Ikea” (due to potential confusion) and “Allah” (due to potential religious offense), as well as “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116”, which one child’s parents attempted to name their child in protest of the law. However, "Google" and "Lego" were recently allowed.
Though this may sound a bit “Big Brother” to some, Swedes overwhelmingly have a positive view of their tax agency: a 2013 survey found that among government agencies, the tax agency had the second-best reputation in the country with an 83 percent approval rating, second only to the Swedish Consumer Agency.