The representative scheme is changing

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The requirement for Norwegian-registered foreign enterprises (NUF) to have a VAT representative will change from 1 April 2017

The Norwegian Value Added Tax Act is being amended with effect from 1 April 2017. The requirement to have a local representative is being abolished for Norwegian-registered foreign enterprises (NUF) domiciled in an EEA country which has an assistance agreement with Norway for the collection of VAT. This applies to enterprises domiciled in Belgia, Danmark, Finland, Frankrike, Island, Italia, Malta, Nederland, Polen, Portugal, Slovenia, Spania, Storbritannia, Sverige, Tyskland, Tsjekkia, Bulgaria, Estland, Færøyene, Grønland, Hellas, Kroatia, Kypros, Latvia, Litauen, Romania, Slovakia og Ungarn.

Self-employed persons from countries other than those listed above are not exempt from the requirement and must continue to be registered in Norway through a representative that is jointly and severally liable for payment of the value added tax. 

Background

Since 1 May 1977, the Value Added Tax Act has contained a provision concerning a tax liability and registration obligation for self-employed persons who do not have a place of business or domicile in Norway. The registration obligation is regulated in Section 2-1 first paragraph of the Value Added Tax Act. At the same time, a requirement was introduced to have a local VAT representative with joint and several liability in Norway to ensure payment of VAT; see Section 2-1 sixth paragraph of the Value Added Tax Act. 

In a letter dated 28 March 2012, EFTA’s surveillance body (the ESA) initiated a formal breach of treaty case against Norway, which stated that the value added tax representative scheme constituted a breach of the EEA Agreement’s Article 11 (ban on quantitative import restrictions and measures with a corresponding effect) and Article 36 (ban on restrictions which hinder the free flow of services). 

The joint and several liability for representatives of enterprises from countries which have an assistance agreement with Norway for the collection of VAT was abolished from 2013. This applies to enterprises domiciled in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic.  

What consequences will the change have? 

The requirement to have a local representative is being abolished for self-employed persons affiliated to the countries listed above. In other words, Norwegian-registered foreign enterprises with a parent company in one of these countries must report VAT themselves. The role of NUF-representative in Enhetsregisteret is being abolished for these companies. The role of contact person in Altinn is being given extended rights to enable this role to submit VAT statements.

A number of clarifications remain outstanding as regards how the transition from the role of Representative to that of Contact person should be handled. Once this has been clarified, we will issue updated information on this page. 

The case processing of self-employed persons who are covered by the regulatory amendment will be centralised under Tax Region Midt-Norge. 

What are the key changes? 

  • NUFs from EEA countries with an assistance agreement with Norway for the collection of VAT must not use a representative to submit VAT statements.
  • NUFs that are exempt from the requirement to have a representative are linked to Tax Region Central.
  • The tax office registers NUFs in the VAT Register and sends confirmation to the foreign address.
  • The Altinn form has been adapted to make it compatible with foreign account information.
  • Outgoing and incoming payments can be made to and from a foreign bank.
  • Payment cards will not work abroad and will therefore not be produced and sent abroad.
  • All relevant letters will be translated into English.

 What do I have to do as a NUF?

  • Consider whether you wish to report VAT yourself or alternatively through the role of contact person.
  • Contact your current representative and decide how the reporting will be carried out following the regulatory amendment on 1 April 2017.
  • Consider whether the right person is listed as the contact person in Altinn.

What do I have to do as a Representative?

As the role of Representative is being abolished for NUFs registered with a parent company domiciled in a country with which Norway has an assistance agreement for the collection of VAT, you must contact the NUF you represent.

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