Gifts and travel paid by employer

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Here, you will find information on the tax rules that apply to gifts and travel that your employer or others pay for on your behalf.

Your employer or client must provide the tax authorities with information on the taxable and deductible benefits you receive. These will be shown in your Certificate of Pay and Tax Deducted. 

You should note that even if your employer has not done this or you have received a taxable benefit from someone other than your employer, you must declare the value of what you have received in your tax return.

The FAQ only concern the tax rules. The rules which are intended to ensure independence in decisions are not explained.

Are all gifts from employers taxable?

The general rule is that all benefits with a financial value (benefits/advantages) which you receive from your employer are taxable. This applies regardless of whether the benefit consists of cash, gifts or other payments in kind. 

There are certain exemptions from the tax liability. Subject to certain conditions laid down in regulations issued pursuant to the Taxation Act, a tax exemption is given for anniversary and other employment-related gifts when the gift consists of anything other than money and the value lies within certain specified limits. You should note that gift vouchers which can be redeemed for cash are not covered by the tax exemption.

For more information, see the Assessment ABC and the topic "Gifts and contributions in employment relationships".

What is the situation as regards tax obligations concerning gifts that I receive not from my employer, but from others, e.g. a business contact?

Even if the gift was not given to you by your employer, there will still be a tax obligation if the gift has a clear link to your employment. It can generally be assumed that if you probably would not have received the gift had you not been employed where you are or had the assignment you were given, the gift will normally be taxable.

I am employed by a public organisation and a while ago I gave a presentation to an organisation. As a thank you, I received a bouquet of flowers. Do I have to pay tax on this?

As a general rule, all benefits earned through work are taxable. This also applies to fees in the form of payments in kind. This applies regardless of whether the benefit is linked to or separate from your employment. However, there is a separate tax exemption for rewards for individual work performances to people who are not employed by the company.  This applies to non-monetary gifts with a value of up to NOK 500. If the value of the gift is more than NOK 500, the entire gift will be taxable.

A colleague of mine had her fiftieth birthday recently and in connection with this she received a gift from the company. Is there a tax obligation on such gifts?

In principle, all gifts from employers are taxable, but there are certain exceptions for anniversary and other employment-related gifts. In order for a gift to be tax-free, it must be non-monetary, and the tax exemption will only apply to gifts worth up to NOK 3,000. When your colleague reaches the age of 50 (or 60, 70, 75 or 80), she can therefore receive such a gift tax-free. The tax exemption assumes that the gift is given in accordance with a general scheme within the company. 

However, if your colleague reaches the age of 40, this rule will not apply. Gifts given on a special occasion which have a nominal value, such as flowers, confectionery, a reasonably priced bottle of wine or similar may nevertheless be given tax-free.

Last year, I did a small job for a small company and received a gift worth just under NOK 1,000. How do I handle this correctly?

If you have received salary or other remuneration for work and the total fee from the same client does not exceed NOK 1,000 during the year, the amount will tax-free and must not be declared in your tax return. However, this will not apply if the fee constitutes business income for you, because the entire amount must then be included in the revenue basis in the business income.

I travel quite a lot for work. As a result, I earn bonus points which I use privately for my family and I. Is there a tax obligation on this and if so why?

If you earn bonus points through business or other travel and you use the points privately, this will constitute taxable income in the same way as other income. The reason is that any benefit earned through work or commercial enterprise constitutes taxable income. As long as the employment relationship is the reason why you earned the benefit, it is of no significance to the tax obligation if you did not receive the benefit directly from your employer, for example.

As it is my employer who usually deals with tax deductions and submitting salary information, I presume I am not responsible in any way for declaring these bonus trips?

You have an independent obligation to declare in your tax return the value of any and all taxable benefits that are not reported elsewhere. The value of bonus points that are used privately must normally be set to what it would have cost you to purchase the service or the goods yourself. The amount must be entered under item 2.1.1 of your tax return.

I am the manager of a company and I am occasionally invited to various events, such as sports events, concerts, etc. which other managers also attend. Given that I am required to be visible and make business contacts, surely this isn't something I should have to pay tax on?

Participation in non-professional activities paid for by anyone other than your employer will normally be taxable for the participant. Whether you are "expected" to attend or the company considers it important that one of their employees is "visible" will not normally be of any significance in the assessment of the tax obligation.

For more information, see the Assessment ABC and the topic "Study travel, congress participation".

When I travel on business, I sometimes take my husband with me and his expenses are covered. Occasionally he is also invited and the host expects him to participate as a companion. On other occasions, he comes along because we can spend some free time together away from the work-related meetings. I presume this is OK in terms of tax, at least on the occasions he is invited?

If you take your spouse and/or children to a joint event which is arranged for the company's employees, including hotel stays of up to two nights, this may, depending on the circumstances, be exempt from taxation under the rules concerning reasonable welfare measures in employment relationships. If your spouse comes with you on a business trip, his participation will be taxable as salary for you if his expenses are covered by your employer.

For more information, see the Assessment ABC and the topic "Welfare measures".

My spouse performs certain jobs during the stay. For example, he assisted during the opening ceremony for our latest branch, during which he handed over a bouquet of flowers to the new general manager. Does this change the tax situation?

No, the delegation of such tasks does not change the nature of the trip from being a holiday for him. The coverage of private expenses is therefore taxable.

A group of us are going to a seminar abroad. Our company is covering the cost of travel, accommodation and subsistence. We will have to work, but there will no doubt be a lot of spare time, with sightseeing and trips to the beach. Will this be taxable for us?

In order for a trip to be accepted as a business trip, so that the coverage of expenses is not taxable for the participants, the principle aim of the trip must be professional or work-related. Based on the information you have given, your trip would appear to more of a holiday than work. It will therefore be taxable.

The company's employees have really worked hard over a hectic period. We therefore decided to organise a trip abroad for everyone as a welfare measure. We have investigated prices and found out that the cheapest way to do it would be as a package trip to the Mediterranean, rather than a weekend trip to a mountain hotel in Norway. Is this OK in terms of taxes and duties?

The special tax exemption that applies to reasonable welfare measures assumes both that the measure can be characterised as a welfare measure and that the measure is both reasonable and common in working life. In the above case, we assume that it concerns a one-week stay at a hotel. Social events involving more than two overnight stays at a hotel are considered to constitute holiday and are not considered to be a welfare measure in the context of the Taxation Act. Holidays that are paid for by employers are always taxable. The answer therefore is that such a stay entails a tax obligation for the employees concerned as well as a duty for the employer to calculate employer's national insurance contributions.

For more information, see the Assessment ABC and the topic "Welfare measures".

I run a company and have a part-time employee. We need to get away and have therefore decided to book a weekend stay at a hotel in a couple of days' time. I will get the company to cover the expenses under the rules concerning reasonable welfare measures. Can I do this?

No. This triggers a tax obligation for the participants and a duty to calculate employer's national insurance contributions. The tax-free welfare measure scheme does not cover enterprises which have no employees or enterprises with one or more employees who collectively do not have working hours and salaries which correspond to one full-time position within the enterprise. The scheme also does not cover limited liability companies with one shareholder who is the only employee in the company.

For more information, see the Assessment ABC and the topic "Welfare measures".

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