As an employer, you may be required by a public authority to not pay out part of your employees’ salaries or other remuneration because the employees have a claim against them which has not been paid by the due date. This is called attachment of earnings.
The claim that forms the basis for the attachment of earnings could be unpaid taxes, municipal taxes, value added tax, maintenance contributions, fines, etc. The public authorities that can issue attachment of earnings orders include ordinary enforcement officers (i.e. a sheriff or deputy sheriff), the tax collector (the treasurer), the tax office or the Norwegian National Collection Agency (SI).
You are obliged to attach earnings
As an employer, you are obliged to attach earnings, regardless of whether or not the employee has given their consent. If you don't make the deduction according to the order, you can be held directly liable for failing to make the deduction.
The attachment of earnings must be implemented alongside the withholding tax. The deduction must be made in accordance with the relevant order when you pay or otherwise settle salaries, other remuneration or benefits.
The public authority that orders the attachment of earnings will calculate the amount and determine the period over which the deduction is to be made. The deduction could be a fixed monthly amount or a specific percentage of the employee's salary. As an employer, you will receive three examples of the attachment order. You must give one example to the employee. Once the deduction is no longer being made, you must also give the employee one example, which will serve as a combined acknowledgement and state the total deduction that you have made.
You must notify the tax collector or the tax office if the employee’s employment with you is terminated while the attachment of earnings is in progress.
How do I deposit attachment of earnings?
You must deposit attachment of earnings ordered by the tax collector in the tax deduction account together with the withholding tax, and you must follow the rules that apply concerning the reporting and payment of attachment of earnings. The attachment of earnings must be paid per period with the same deadlines as for withholding tax.
The amount that is deducted must be paid to the tax collector that ordered the deduction. You must also submit a settlement list for attachment of earnings to the tax collector at the same time.
If you don't deduct withholding tax and therefore don't have a tax deduction account, the deducted amount must be paid to the tax collector in accordance with the deduction order.
Attachment of earnings ordered by the tax office must be paid to the tax office in accordance with the deduction order.
Appealing against and amendments to attachment of earnings
The employee (or the employer on his or her behalf) can apply to have attachment of earnings amended if material changes occur in the employee's financial situation. The employee or employer can appeal against a deduction order to the district court provided that the deduction period has not ended. The appeal must be submitted to the tax collector or the tax office which ordered the deduction. If attachment of earnings is amended, you will be notified by the tax collector or the tax office which issued the order.