Coronavirus - important information from the Tax Administration

Information for private individuals who are customers of Norwegian financial institutions

Since 1 January 2016, Norwegian financial institutions have been obliged to record information regarding the tax residency of their customers and whether they are US citizens. They must also request the foreign tax identification number of these customers. The account information must be reported to the Norwegian Tax Administration, which will forward the information to the tax authorities in the customer's home country. The purpose of these rules is to ensure that financial income and assets in Norway are taxed correctly in the customer's home country. You may therefore be asked to state where you are resident for tax purpose, among other things.

Norwegian financial institutions are obliged to record information regarding where their private customers are resident for tax purposes and whether they are US citizens. Financial institutions must report this information, together with information relating to accounts, to the Norwegian Tax Administration annually in the same way as for information that must be precompleted in the Norwegian tax return.

The purpose of the rules is to ensure that the financial affairs and insurance policies (financial accounts) of foreign customers with Norwegian financial institutions are taxed correctly in the customer's home country. The Norwegian Tax Administration therefore sends the account information to the tax authorities in the customer's home country.

The rules have been introduced based on international agreements that Norway has entered into with other countries.

Norwegian financial institutions are obliged to record information about customers who are resident abroad for tax purposes when a new account is set up. They must do this by gathering statutory information from you as a customer.

Financial institutions are also required to review information concerning existing customers in order to identify any information that may indicate that the customer concerned is resident abroad for tax purposes. If a financial institution finds such information about you, it must in the first instance treat your accounts as belonging to a foreign customer when submitting annual reports to the Norwegian Tax Administration. The financial institution must contact you to ask you to provide a foreign identification number if you are affiliated to a country that issues relevant identification numbers. The financial institution must not treat your accounts in this way if you provide information/documentation demonstrating that you are not resident for tax purposes in the country concerned.

The rules of the country concerned will determine whether you are resident for tax purposes there. The fact that information is sent abroad does not alter this situation, but the information may result in the foreign tax authorities becoming aware of your accounts in Norway.

The Norwegian Tax Administration has published guidelines explaining the obligations of financial institutions. You will find these guidelines here.

The obligation of financial institutions to record and report account information relating to foreign customers is laid down in Chapter 7 of Norwegian Act No. 14 of 27 May 2016 (the Tax Administration Act/Skatteforvaltningsloven). Statutory provisions are set out in Regulation No. 1360 of 23 November 2016 (the Tax Administration Regulation/Skatteforvaltningsforskriften). The Tax Administration Act and the Tax Administration Regulation enter into force on 1 January 2017, replacing the Tax Assessment Act and the Framework Regulation concerning third party reporting for tax purposes.

The financial institutions covered by the obligations and the customer information they must record and report are described in more detail in Section 7-3 of the Tax Administration Act and Section 7-3 of the Tax Administration Regulation.

You are considered to be resident for tax purposes in a country if you have a permanent and strong affiliation to the country and are liable to pay tax there. You will normally be required to submit a tax return and be liable to pay tax on all of your income there. If you are resident for tax purposes in several countries, you must specify all of these countries to the financial institution.

You will be deemed to be resident for tax purposes in Norway if you have always lived in Norway and have only been on short holidays abroad. If you have a holiday property abroad where you live for short periods, you will not generally have a sufficiently strong affiliation to the country concerned to have established tax residence there. If you have lived for a longer period in another country, you may be considered as tax resident there.

If you live abroad, you will normally be tax resident in the country you live in. If you have moved from one country to another, or you spend a considerable amount of time in several countries, you may be tax resident both in the country you are moving from and the country you are moving to. You will be considered resident in Norway for tax purposes if you have lived in the country for more than 183 days over a 12-month period, or if you have lived in Norway for more than 270 days during the course of a 36-month period.

If you are uncertain about whether you are resident in a country for tax purposes, you must contact the tax authorities in the country concerned in order to clarify this.

Further information about tax residence in Norway is available here. The OECD has compiled some information regarding tax residence in individual countries, which can be found here.

Authorities in most countries currently use different identification numbers to identify individuals. A national ID number is used to identify people in Norway. Foreigners who do not live in Norway will instead be given an individual D number. The tax authorities in other countries use identification numbers to identify people in the same way. You must state your foreign identification number so that the tax authorities in the place where you are tax resident can link the account information to you.

Identification numbers may either be used by the tax authorities alone, or by the tax authorities and other agencies and institutions in the country concerned, as is the case in Norway. You will normally find your identification number on documents sent to you by the tax authorities in your country of residence, but the number may also be given on passports, national identity cards, driving licences and other official documents.

The tax authorities in Sweden, for example, use a personnummer, Denmark uses a CPR number and Poland uses a PESEL number as an identification number.

Such identification numbers are often referred to as a TIN ("Taxpayer Identification Number"). Not all countries use such identification numbers. More information regarding the identification numbers used in various countries can be found here.

Tax residency in Norway and most other countries is determined under rules that have criteria associated with domicile and/or place of residence.

In the USA, the tax system is based on both tax residence and citizenship. US citizens are therefore liable to pay tax in the USA on the basis of their citizenship, and Norwegian financial institutions must therefore record information regarding whether customers are US citizens.

If a financial institution you are a customer of has information to suggest that you may be a US citizen, you may be asked to confirm or deny this. 

Financial institutions must obtain information regarding your tax residence status and whether you are a US citizen before it can set up a new account for you. This means that if you do not complete the forms requested by the financial institution, you will be unable to set up a new account. If you provide inaccurate or incomplete information, the financial institution will be required to close the account if you do not provide accurate information when it is requested.

If you already have a financial account with a financial institution, the institution must search for information to indicate that you have a connection abroad. If the financial institution finds such information, it must either report your accounts as belonging to a foreign customer, or contact you and request information/documentation demonstrating where you are resident for tax purposes. If you do not provide the financial institution with information when they request it, the account will be treated as belonging to a foreign customer when reporting to the Norwegian Tax Administration. The account information may then be exchanged with the tax authorities in the country concerned.

It is the tax rules that apply in the place where you are tax resident that determine the information you must provide to the tax authorities and how you must provide this information. You will normally be required to declare information concerning your financial accounts  in an annual tax return. If you are a US citizen, you are obliged under US tax rules to submit a tax return to the US tax authorities (IRS) every year.

You cannot avoid your duty of declaration abroad, even if information concerning your financial accounts in Norway is sent to the tax authorities in your country of residence (and the USA if you are a US citizen). You must contact the tax authorities in the country concerned if you are in any doubt as regards whether you must declare information to the tax authorities in that country.

Taxation may be regulated through a tax treaty if you have income and assets in several countries. Tax treaties that Norway has entered into with other countries can be found here.

In accordance with the Tax Administration Act, financial institutions are obliged to provide their customers with a copy of the information being submitted annually to the Norwegian tax authorities. This information will be sent to you in an annual statement in January/February and applies to the previous calendar year. The annual statement will state the information that has been sent to the Norwegian tax authorities.

If the financial institution has recorded that you're tax resident in another country and/or a US citizen, you’ll receive information about this in the annual statement. The annual statement will also state which foreign identification numbers have been reported and that the Norwegian tax authorities may send the information to foreign tax authorities.

Norwegian tax authorities cannot provide information about what data reported from Norwegian financial institutions we send to foreign tax authorities. The exchange of information with other countries is correspondence between the tax authorities in two countries. Even though the information is about you, you're not a party to the exchange case and therefore you cannot be given access to the submitted information according to the rules regarding access to case documents.

If there are any errors in the information that a financial institution has reported about you to the Norwegian tax authorities, you must contact the financial institution and give them the correct details.

The Norwegian Tax Administration sends account information to foreign tax authorities based on international agreements that Norway has entered into with other countries.

Norway and several other countries have signed up to a multilateral agreement dated 29 October 2014 concerning automatic information exchange. This agreement forms a framework for the international standard for the automatic exchange of financial information, also known as the "Common Reporting Standard" or "CRS". You can find more information about this agreement via the OECD Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) portal

On 15 April 2013, Norway and the USA entered into an agreement to  improve international tax compliance and implement FATCA. The agreement builds on the US FATCA legislation (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). The agreement was submitted to the Storting in Prop. 138 S (2012-13).

Information sent to the tax authorities in other countries is subject to a duty of confidentiality. An assessment will be made to determine whether the countries have adequate legislation, systems and routines to ensure that the information does not go astray.