Norwegian Tax Law Research
This is a guide to sources of tax
law in Norway and it explains where or how relevant legislation
and other material may be obtained.
Most of the sources are in Norwegian, but partly English language
guides to Norwegian taxation are made by the Directorate of taxes
Taxation for business and
Information for advisors
International pages (also
information in Polish)
Information from The Ministry of Finance.
Other information may be found in the various IBFD online databases. On print, IBFD
publish the European Tax Handbook which covers 49 countries and
jurisdictions, including Norway. Last edition is European
Tax Handbook 2016.
From Norwegian publishers,
there is very little material in English. The occasional booklet
may be published by the “big four”.
Some material for the
Nordic countries are found at Nordic Tax Research Council. A portal
deals with Nordic tax matters for individuals. A country by country overview of
the legal databases and online guides to electronic legal
resources that are currently available in Norway, Denmark and
Sweden may be found at https://www.llrx.com/2001/04/features-online-legal-information-in-denmark-norway-and-sweden/.
guide "Legal information in Norway: electronic and
printed sources" is made by Pål A. Bertnes. Norwegian law in foreign languages,
a bibliography, is made by Kirsti Lothe Jacobsen, University of
Bergen. Generally, most web pages will have some information
available in English. Some
tax related reports in English may be found at Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research.
Lovdata Foundation establish and operate legal information
systems on a non-profit basis. Rettsdata Norsk Lovkommentar is a
searchable database in which all the relevant legislation, case
law and administrative material is compiled. The libraries
of the law faculties of the universities in Oslo, Bergen and
Tromsø has created a web page, Juridisk
which links may be found to a number of fields of law, as well
as to foreign and international law. This is very helpful when
exploring where to find sources of law.
matters, Administration and Allocation of Revenue
Income tax is levied both at
local and national level. However, the split mainly governs the
allocation of revenue between the central and local government.
All taxes are levied under the same legislation and by the same
In theory, local government may set rates below the national
standard, but this has never happened. Corporation tax and
indirect taxes are national taxes. Only Parliament (“Stortinget”), www.stortinget.no in Norwegian, or in English,
may levy taxes, and it must do so on a yearly basis, under §
75a) of the Constitution (“Grunnloven”). All taxes, including customs
duties, are levied by a yearly tax resolution, which refers to the tax
legislation and which forms part of the Budget. General
information on the Budget may be found on www.statsbudsjett.dep.no, which also has a brief overview in English. There is no literature dealing with
constitutional matters related to tax only. A general
introduction to Norwegian tax law, that includes some
constitutional aspects, is; Frederik Zimmer, “Lærebok i
Skatterett”, 6 ed. Universitetsforlaget 2009. Norway is not a member of the
European Union, but is part of the internal market by virtue of
the European Economic Area agreement (EEA). The EFTA
Surveillance Authority ensures that EEA rules are
properly enacted and applied by the EFTA States. The latest news
may be found directly in the Public document database. For
Norway, the EFTA
jurisdiction over the interpretation of the agreement. The court
has many of the same functions as the European Court
of Justice, although
its jurisdiction is more limited. Under EEA, most European law
on the internal market is directly relevant. A book dealing specifically with
the EEA agreement and tax is, Dajani et. al.
“EØS-avtalen og norsk skatterett”, Universitetsforlaget
II. Legislation and
There is no single tax code,
even if most of the legislation on income and corporation tax is
contained in the Taxes Act. All legislation is available on www.lovdata.no in Norwegian, some information in
English. Some legislation is also
available in English translations including some of the tax
addition to the acts themselves, regulations are of great
importance, and are widely used in the tax legislation.
Income and corporation tax
and net wealth tax
The general legislation on
income tax and corporation tax, including net wealth tax, may be
found in the Taxes Act (“Skatteloven”), which is more or less a “tax
code”. In addition, there is some special legislation like the Act on Tax on Foreign Artists
(“Artistskatteloven”), the Svalbard Taxes Act (“Svalbardskatteloven”), and the Jan Mayen Taxes Act. Also, there is a
special Petroleum Taxes Act, (“Petroleumsskatteloven”). The standard textbook in Norwegian tax law is; Frederik
Zimmer, “Lærebok i Skatterett”, 7 ed. Universitetsforlaget 2014. The international aspects of
Norwegian tax law are covered by; Fredrik Zimmer,
“Internasjonal inntektsskatterett”, 4 ed. Universitetsforlaget
2009. A general
commentary to the Taxes Act is: Greni et. al.
“Skattelovkommentaren”, Kommuneforlaget 2004. Older commentaries
in the same series are still relevant. General text books on business
taxation are: Brudvik,
“Skatterett for Næringsdrivende 2015” , Cappelen Damm 2015,
Bedriftsskatterett”, 9 ed., Gyldendal 2015, Zimmer et. al. “Bedrift,
selskap og skatt”, 6 ed., Universitetsforlaget 2014.
Value added tax
The VAT legislation is
contained in the Value Added Tax Act (“Merverdiavgiftsloven”), and in the regulations to that
Act. An English version is published by the
Directorate of Taxes. Some other information are available at www.skatteetaten.no. An introduction to
VAT is available in
Gjems-Onstad and Kildal, “Lærebok i merverdiavgift", 4 ed.
Gyldendal Akademisk 2013
(also as e-book). Another
introduction is also available, Trond Kristoffersen, Merverdiavgift (lærebok), 2 ed, Fagbokforlaget 2016.
The inheritantce tax was
abolished from 2014. The basis of inheritance tax may be found
in the former Inheritance Taxes Act (“Arveavgiftsloven”). There is very little written on
inheritance tax, but an overview is given in Gjems-Onstad,
“Norsk Bedriftsskatterett”, 8 ed, Gyldendal 2012.
Income, net wealth, value
added tax, exice duties and corporation tax is administered by
the Taxes Management Act, Skatteforvaltningsloven. There is a commentary to the
legislation from Directorate of Taxes, Skatteforvaltningshåndboka.
The customs administration is governed by the Customs Act (“Tolloven”).
A centralised appeal tribunal was established from 1 July 2016
in Stavanger. The appeal must be sent to the Tax Office for a
new evaluation of the case and for possible preparation for
the Appeal Tribunal if the decision is upheld. There are
separate appeal tribunals for petroleum taxation and for
taxation according to the Svalbard Taxes Act.
The Norwegian treaties are
incorporated into the legislation as soon as they become
effective through the Double
Tax treaty Act of 1949. By virtue of that Act, treaties
take precedence over conflicting legislation. All the treaties
may be found on the home page of the Ministry of Finance in Norwegian version or in English version. This also include the
government proposals to Parliament in which the treaties are
explained. The treaties are also published at Lovdata.
Generally, there is little guidance on the understanding of
the treaties in the traveaux preparatoires. In
practice, the main guidance is the OECD commentaries.
Statements of practice in Norwegian and
news in English from
the Ministry of Finance are published. Older
ones may also be found in the Tax Law Reports. In practice,
these are greatly relied on in the interpretation of the tax
legislation. Another important source, in which much
administrative practice is compiled is the "Skatte-ABC". This is published on
a yearly basis by the Directorate of Taxes, editions from 2016
and earlier under the name “Lignings ABC”.
A number of advance rulings in Norwegian are
published in anonymous form on the web site of the Directorate
There is no independent board preparing the rulings. Thus,
they tend to reflect the view of the tax administration. From
2017 appeals over binding rulings may be sent to the Appeal Tribunal, and some of the rulings
are published. The traveaux preparatoires
must be consulted when interpreting the legislation. The proposals from the Ministry of Finance
(since 1994) are available in Norwegian.
V. Case law
Judgements of the Supreme Court (“Høyesterett”) and to
some extent of the lower courts carry a great deal of weight.
Recent judgments may be found on www.lovdata.no, and this site also has a
subscription service where older judgments may be found. There
is also a printed source of case law in the Tax Law Reports (“Dommer,
uttalelser m.v. i skattesaker”), which also
contains statements of practice from the Ministry of Finance,
as well as other general information on (direct) tax matters.
There is one Norwegian
periodical focusing only on tax law. The Tax Law
Review, (Skatterett), is published by
Universitetsforlaget four times per year.