Package of measures in connection with the coronavirus situation

  • Updated: 7/22/2020

The government will introduce a package of measures to handle the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. This means changes to rates, duties, rules, penalties and deadlines. The Tax Administration is reducing sanctions (enforcement fine) and moderating the application of the rules.

The information will be updated continuously.

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Has your income changed recently?

Some people are losing income because of the coronavirus situation as they have been laid off or made redundant.

If this applies to you, do not wait too long

In doing so, you can ease your financial situation by reducing the amount of tax that is deducted or by paying less advance tax.

Advance tax

Extended deadline for payment of advance tax

All those required to make their first payment of advance tax on 15 March will have their deadline extended until 4 May and second payment period is extended from 15 May to 15 July. There is no need to apply for an extended deadline. If you’ve already paid the advance tax, but would like to get it repaid, you must contact your local tax collector for repayment. 

You may also change your advance tax or your tax deduction card if your financial situation has changed because of the coronavirus situation.

Second advance payment of tax for companies, including the part of tax on financial activity related to surpluses, due 15 April: The deadline has been extended to 1 September 2020. The extension does not apply to ordinary income, natural resource tax and ground rent tax for natural resource and ground rent taxpayers. If you have paid the advance tax and you wish to have it refunded, you must contact your local tax collection office.

Employer and a-melding

Enforcement fines are temporarily stopped

Enforcement fines in the a-ordning scheme are temporarily stopped, starting with the a-melding due for submission on 5 March, 6 April, 5 May, 5 June, 6 July and 5 August. 

The deadline for reporting the a-melding will still be the fifth of each month. If the fifth is a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the deadline is the next working day.

Remember that it’s important to submit the a-melding – among other things, the information is used to process claims for sickness benefit and unemployment benefits from NAV.

Employer’s national insurance contributions

The employer’s national insurance contributions will be reduced by four percentage points in May and June 2020.

Employers do not have to change the way they report their employer’s national insurance contributions in the a-melding. Continue to report the basis for the employer’s national insurance contributions as usual, and calculate the employer’s national insurance contributions using the normal rates. 

The Tax Administration will calculate what the reduced employer’s national insurance contributions amounts to using the basis for the employer’s national insurance contributions as reported by the employer in the a-melding for May and June (third payment period). The Tax Administration will send out claims to employers before the third payment period falls due. The payment date for the third period has been postponed until 15 October. Read more about reduced employer’s national insurance contributions for the third payment period.(in Norwegian only).

The deadline for the second payment period of employer's national insurance contributions has been postponed from 15 May to 17 August 2020. 

Refunds

Overpaid employer's national insurance contributions for the third payment period will be refunded as long as a bank account number has been registered.

If you have an amount outstanding for the second payment period, any overpaid employer's national insurance contributions for the third payment period will be used to cover this outstanding amount. Contact your Tax Collection Office if you do not want this type of arrangement. You should also contact your Tax Collection Office if you would like all of the employer's national insurance contributions for the third payment period to be refunded to you. In this case, the employer's national insurance contributions for the third payment period must be paid by the payment deadline 15 October 2020.

Refunds of employer’s national insurance contributions

On 20 March 2020, the rules for being laid off were changed. Employers are no longer obliged to cover the first 18 days of salary for employees who have been laid off. Instead, NAV grants temporary salary compensation to employees who are laid off. If the employer pays the salary compensation of the laid off employees in advance, and then gets a refund from NAV, they do not have to pay the employer's national insurance contributions.

The employer can get a refund for salary paid in the benefit period for the lay-off periods that started before 20 April 2020. The refund scheme does not apply for lay-off periods that started on 20 April or later.

Compensation scheme for employers in the target zone and on Svalbard

The parliement has decided a compensation scheme for employers in zone V (target zone) and Svalbard, where the rate for calculating the employer’s national insurance contributions is zero. A subsidy of 4 percent of the basis for employer’s national insurance contributions will be granted in the third payment period (May and June) 2020.

The subsidy is calculated using the basis for the employer’s national insurance contributions that is reported in the a-melding. The Tax Administration will manage the scheme. The payments are made provided the Tax Administration has the recipient’s account number. The deadline for paying the subsidy is 1 September. More information (in Norwegian only).

Financial activity tax

The deadline for the second period payment of financial activity tax on salaries is extended from 15 May to 17 August 2020. 

Withholding tax

The deadline for paying withholding tax for the second payment period is not extended. The deadline is 15 May 2020.

Exemption from information and withholding tax duties for foreign employers with employees with a home office in Norway

Due to the coronavirus situation, many Norwegian employees on a work stay abroad have returned temporarily to Norway or have been temporarily prevented from returning to their work country due to travel restrictions. Many of these employees work from home offices in Norway during the temporary stay in Norway, instead of working from their permanent places of work abroad.

For foreign employers with employees working from home offices in Norway due to Covid-19, there is a temporary provision (Lovdata – in Norwegian only) that gives an exemption from the duty to

  • provide salary information pursuant to the Tax Administration Act
  • deduct withholding tax pursuant to the Tax Payment Act

The exemption covers employers that are not resident in Norway and, under normal circumstances, do not operate their businesses in Norway.

The exemption is valid from 13 March 2020 to the end of the 2020 income year.

Some employees are members of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme while they're working abroad. When the employee works in a country within the EEA (and Switzerland) or in another country with which Norway has a national insurance agreement, the foreign employer has a duty to pay national insurance contributions to Norway pursuant to section 23-4a.

In the temporary provision, the Ministry of Finance has not given an exemption from the duty to provide information for the assessment of employer's national insurance contributions pursuant to section 23-4a of the National Insurance Act. Enterprises that are subject to this duty still have a duty to provide such information.

Taxation of employees

The Tax Administration has clarified the tax-related handling of circumstances that arise because of the coronavirus crisis:

Tax exemption for necessary payments in kind received as a result of the coronavirus situation

Home office equipment, telephone and internet services and healthcare financed by the employer are tax-free and should not be reported. The tax exemption is granted provided the benefit is temporary, proportional and based on the need to maintain operations and prevent spreading the virus. You should not deduct tax on these benefits, you do not have to report them nor pay employer’s national insurance contributions for them. More information.(in Norwegian)

Use of company cars while laid off – tax liability, withholding tax and duty to report

A company car may, due to the coronavirus situation, be parked at the employee’s home while the employee is laid off without the employee being taxed for the benefit of using the car. If the laid off employee uses the car for private purposes, regardless of the extent, the benefit must be calculated and reported as normal. The employer must notify the Tax Administration if there are no cash funds from which withholding tax can be deducted. More information (in Norwegian only).

Tax-free benefit when buying shares, etc. in the employer company

The amount is increased from NOK 3,000 to NOK 5,000. More information.

Commuter status: The requirement for number of visits for single commuters during the coronavirus situation

Usually, single commuters are required to travel home every third week to maintain their commuter status. If, as an effort to prevent spreading the virus, a home visit is not carried out every third week, the commuter will still be considered a commuter. He or she will then potentially be eligible for deductions or expense allowances pursuant to the ordinary rules. More information.(in Norwegian)

Permitted stay in Norway under the one-year rule as a result of the coronavirus situation

When applying the one-year rule for work stays in another country, you cannot stay in Norway for more than 6 days on average per every 12-month period. During the coronavirus situation, specific guidelines offer possibilities to extend the stays in Norway. More information.(in Norwegian)

The Business Compensation Scheme

The Business Compensation Scheme provides financial compensation for enterprises that face a large loss in income as a result of the virus outbreak. The scheme is temporary and aimed at the enterprises that meet the criteria for receiving subsidies. The scheme will apply from March to the end of August.

Salary compensation to bring back laid off employees

Employers that bring back their laid off employees will be paid an amount per employee in July and August.

The scheme applies to employers such as self-employed persons and businesses (ENK), private limited companies (AS), non-profit organisations and foundations that have laid off employees as a result of the coronavirus situation. You may use this scheme independently of other schemes.

More info on www.lonnstilskudd.no.

Act and regulation

The application form will be available on www.lonnstilskudd.no in October 2020.

The tax return for self-employed persons and businesses

Extended submission deadline

The deadline for submitting the 2019 tax return has been extended from 31 May to 31 August. You cannot apply for further extensions to this deadline. We encourage self-employed persons and businesses to report required information as soon as possible.

If your spouse has been granted an extension to the deadline, you will automatically be given the same extended deadline. The same applies to partners in businesses assessed as a partnership.

The deadline for paying additional advance tax is still 31 May 2020.

For petroleum companies (pursuant to section 5 of the Petroleum Tax Act), the deadline is 30 April. Such companies must apply for an extension for submitting the tax return to the Oil Taxation Office.

Enforcement fines for delayed submission of the tax return for self-employed persons and businesses are temporarily stopped

For the time being, enforcement fines will not be issued for late submission of the tax return for self-employed persons and businesses.

If you recently received an e-mail from the Tax Administration stating that you may receive an enforcement fine if your submission is late, you can disregard the e-mail. At the moment, we’re not imposing enforcement fines for late submission of the 2019 tax return.

Simplification of the reporting obligation – interest limitation 

Certain simplifications will be accepted in relation to the submission of the interest limitation forms RF-1315 and RF-1509 for the 2019 income year. See the statement for more information (in Norwegian only).

Clarifications for businesses and companies

Wealth tax – increased discount for shares, fixed assets, etc.

The valuation discount increases from 25 to 35 percent for 2020 for:

  •  shares, the share component of securities, equity certificates, shares in businesses assessed as partnerships
  • fixed assets, including commercial property

The valuation discount only includes assets owned directly by the taxpayer.

The safety valve (maximum limit) for valuating commercial properties is reduced to 78 percent for the 2020 income year (it was 90 percent for the 2019 income year).

You can change your advance tax or your tax deduction card if the rate reduction reduces your tax payment.

 

Postponed deadline for tax-exempt conversion of business activities

A tax-exempt conversion to a private limited company or a public limited company may only happen from 1 January in an income year. In order for a conversion to take effect from 1 January, the company must be established and a notification must have been sent to the Register of Business Enterprises by 1 July. The deadline has been postponed to 1 September for 2020. The company must also have deduced tax from employees’ salary payments and calculated national insurance contributions by the same deadline.

Temporary initial depreciations of 10 percent for balance group d (machines, etc.)

A temporary scheme of 10 percent initial depreciations for balance group d (vehicles, machines and inventory, etc.) for the year 2020. This means that the depreciation rate for 2020 increases from 20 percent to 30 percent for fixed assets that are entered under balance group d and that will be acquired from and including 20 July 2020 up until 31 December 2020. The Ministry of Finance will issue regulations outlining more detailed conditions.

Extended tax scheme regarding options for small start-up companies

The Parliament wants to extend the tax scheme regarding options in order to include companies with up to 25 employees and operating revenue of up to 25 million in the scheme. Today the threshold is 12 employees and NOK 16 million in operating revenue. In addition, they have removed the rule stating that only persons employed after 1 January 2018 may take advantage of the scheme. The Parliament wants these changes to be made permanent. See the Government’s press release about the tax scheme regarding options.

NOTE: The change must be approved by ESA.

Reversal of dividend decisions due to the coronavirus pandemic

In cases where the coronavirus pandemic leads to the reversal of decisions relating to dividends in the period between the time of the decision made in the general assembly and the payment date, the dividends may be exempt for taxation under certain conditions. Read the full statement (in Norwegian only).

Extension for fulfilling the requirement relating to use of SAF-T accounting files

The Directorate of Taxes has decided that it will not be necessary to apply for an extension to fulfil the requirement relating to use of SAF-T accounting files if delays are due to the coronavirus pandemic.

See the Directorate of Taxes’ statement of 19 March 2020 (in Norwegian only).

Delivery of groceries and similar goods

Sales to customers who get their goods delivered may be registered as cash sales in the register when the goods are scanned based on the submitted order from the customer, even if the payment is received when the goods are delivered.

See the Directorate of Taxes’ statement of 18 March 2020 (in Norwegian only).

Tax incentive scheme for investing in start-up companies

The threshold amount is increased to NOK 1 million per investor. The limit for share contributions to the enterprises is increased to NOK 5 million. As a temporary measure for the 2020 and 2021 income years, the scheme is expanded to include employees and their close relatives. More information

Value added tax (VAT)

Submission deadlines for tax returns for VAT are not changed

No changes have been made to the deadlines for tax returns for VAT. Read more about deadlines.

Enforcement fines are temporarily stopped

The Tax Administration will not impose enforcement fines for late submission of the tax return for VAT. This includes the following tax returns for VAT:

  • Tax returns for VAT due from March up to and including 10 June. This means no enforcement fine will be issued for late submission of the first payment period (due 14 April) and the second payment period (due 10 June).
  • Tax returns for VAT that are submitted with an annual deadline (due 10 March) and the annual statement for the primary industry (due 14 April).

Remember! It's important that the tax return for VAT is delivered.

Extended payment deadlines for tax liable entities with a general taxation period (every second month)

The deadline for paying VAT for the first payment period, due 14 April, is now 10 June. There is no need to apply for an extended deadline. 

The deadline for tax liable entities with a monthly payment period, an annual payment period or the primary industries’ annual statement is not extended.

Value added tax – payment deferment or reduced rent 

The Ministry of Finance has issued guidelines for how to manage VAT in cases when a landlord allows rent to be paid late or not at all, or reduces the amount of rent to be paid. 

Changes to reduced rate for VAT

The low VAT rate for passenger transportation, accommodation, public broadcasting and entry to cinemas, sports events, amusement parks and adventure centres, is reduced from 12 percent to 6 percent for the payment period 1 April to and including 31 October 2020. 

Excise duties

Temporary relaxation of the requirements to destroy goods

The duty to send a report to the Tax Administration 48 hours in advance of the destruction of goods is abolished until further notice. This applies to all excise duties. Furthermore, the requirement to obtain approval from the Tax Administration before destroying goods is abolished. This applies in cases where the destruction occurs within the registered enterprise’s own approved premises, and in cases requiring special approval to perform the destruction somewhere else.

See practical information about how the temporary relaxion will be implemented

The air passenger tax is temporarily abolished

Air passenger tax will be abolished between 1 January 2020 to and including 31 October 2020.  Air passenger tax for the payment period 1 January 2020 to and including 31 October 2020 that has already been paid will be reimbursed to the airline companies or their representatives. If you’re in the target group, you’ll be contacted regarding what you should do next.

See practical information about how the temporary abolishment will be implemented

Extended reporting- and payment deadline for some excise duties

Reporting- and payment deadlines for April and May is postponed to June 18 for the following excise duties:

  • Road use duty on fuels
  • The basic fee on mineral oil etc
  • Lubricating oil tax
  • CO2 excise duty on mineral products
  • Sulphur
  • The excise duty on alcohol
  • Excise duty on non-alcoholic beverages
  • Beverage packaging tax

If you are registered for other excise duties, these must be reported within the normal deadlines. See more information

Temporary exemption from the CO2 duty on natural gas and LPG

The exemption from CO2 duty on natural gas and LPG used for chemical reduction or electrolysis, metallurgical and mineralogical processes, has been reinstated with effect from 1 April 2020.
The exemption effectively sets a CO2 duty rate of NOK 0 per Sm3 of natural gas and NOK 0 per kg LPG from 1 April 2020. The exemption applies to quota-regulated and non-quota regulated enterprises alike. More information (in Norwegian only).

Duties on cars and other vehicles

As a result of the coronavirus situation, temporary relief has been granted for short-term use of foreign-registered vehicles in Norway. Permission has also been granted to privately store foreign-registered vehicles in Norway. The changes apply until further notice.

Wealth tax

For private business owners and shareholders: Deferred payment of wealth tax in case of negative net income i 2020

Private owners will be able to take advantage of a temporary scheme of deferred payment of wealth tax on the enterprise’s wealth for the 2020 income year. The scheme applies to personal taxpayers who owns an enterprise with an accounting obligation that has negative net income for the 2020 income year, and that will have assessed wealth tax of at least NOK 30,000 in the 2020 income year related to the enterprise’s wealth.

Private owners can apply for a one-year extension to pay the wealth tax for the 2020 income year when it’s due in 2021.

Private owners can apply for exemption from paying withholding tax and advance tax in 2020 in connection with the enterprise’s wealth. This will provide immediate liquidity relief for owners of businesses who meet certain criteria.

Carry forward of deficit

For companies: Reversal of deficit against taxed surpluses in 2018/2019

Companies will temporarily be able to reverse up to NOK 30 million of company deficit in 2020 against taxed surpluses from the previous two years.  The tax value of a deficit in 2020 will be paid to the companies upon the tax assessment in 2021.

This will be implemented so that the tax value of an eligible deficit in 2020 will be paid to the companies upon the tax assessment in 2021. The calculation and payment will be automatic. Companies who do not wish to be included in the scheme, must request to be excluded when they submit the tax return for 2020. More information will be provided.

New rules concerning deferred payment and reduced interest rate

New rules concerning deferred payment 

New rules for deferred payment apply from 12 June.

Self-employed persons and businesses, companies and private individuals who are facing cash-flow issues as a result of the coronavirus situation may apply for deferred payment of most tax and duty claims, as well as the claims handled by the Norwegian National Collection Agency.

Applications for deferred payment may be submitted from 10 June. See how to apply and read more about the scheme.

Reduced interest rate on overdue payments

The interest rate on overdue payments is reduced to 6 percent for most tax and duty claims, with some exceptions. The exceptions include withholding tax, deductible tax and compensation claims that will have a normal rate. The reduced interest rate will also apply to claims on which interest is calculated by the Norwegian National Collection Agency pursuant to the Act relating to the Norwegian National Collection Agency, as well as document tax claims. The reduced interest rate will apply for the period 10 June to 31 December 2020. You do not have to apply for a reduced interest rate.

Summary: Changes to payment deadlines

  • VAT: payment of first period is extended from 14 April until 10 June 2020.
  • Advance tax for companies: payment of the second period is extended from 15 April until 1 September 2020.
  • Advance tax for self-employed persons and other personal taxpayers: the payment of the first period is extended from 16 March until 4 May and second period is extended from 15 May until 15 July. 
  • Employer’s national insurance contributions: the payment of the second period is extended from 15 May to 17 August 2020. The payment of the third period is extended to 15 October.
  • Tax on financial activity: the payment of the second period is extended from 15 May to 17 August 2020.
  • Excise duties: extended reporting- and payment deadline for some excise duties

There is no need to apply for an extended deadline.

Other services

The Tax Administration’s other services will also be affected by the coronavirus.