Package of measures in connection with the coronavirus situation

  • Updated: 18 May 2022

The government has introduced a package of measures to handle the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. This means changes to rates, duties, rules, and deadlines. The Tax Administration has reduced sanctions (enforcement fines) and moderated the application of the rules.

Go straight to:

Has your income changed recently?

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

If this applies to you, you should not hesitate to

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

Employer and a-melding

Enforcement fines

The deadline for reporting the a-melding is 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 – the information is, among other things, used to process claims for sickness benefit and unemployment benefits from NAV.

Enforcement fines in the a-ordning scheme were temporarily suspended for a-meldings with submission deadlines on 5 March, 6 April, 5 May, 5 June, 6 July, 5 August, 7 September, and 5 October 2020.

With regards to the a-meldings for October with a submission deadline on 5 November 2020, an enforcement fine could be imposed if the a-melding was not submitted within the deadline or contained errors.

Employer’s national insurance contributions

Refund of employer’s national insurance contributions for 2021

The right to sickness benefit for employees subject to travel restrictions (in Norwegian only) due to the COVID-19 pandemic was introduced on 16 April 2021. The right to sickness benefit applies from 29 January 2021 and for as long as travel restrictions continue to exist for work-related travel to Norway. The employer must advance the sickness benefit.

Employers do not have to pay national insurance contributions on sickness benefit that they have advanced to their employees. The exemption applies for the whole period during which the employer receives refunds for the prepaid sickness benefit.

On 20 March 2020, the rules for being laid off were changed. Employers were no longer obliged to cover the first 18 days of salary for employees who had been laid off. Instead, NAV granted a temporary salary compensation to employees who were laid off. If the employer advanced this salary compensation, and then received a refund from NAV, they did not have to pay employer’s national insurance contributions for this.

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

Second period (March-April)

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

Third period (May-June)

The employer’s national insurance contributions are reduced by four percentage points for the months of May and June 2020.

Employers should not 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 according to normal rates. 

The Tax Administration calculates the reduced employer’s national insurance contributions amount, using the employer’s national insurance contributions reported by the employer in the a-melding for May and June (third payment period), and send out claims to the employers before the deadline of the third payment period. The deadline for the third payment period is postponed to 15 October 2020. Read more about reduced employer’s national insurance contributions for the third payment period.

NOTE! Interest on overdue payments will only start to accrue if the claim is not paid by 15 October 2020.

Fourth period (July-August)

The employer's national insurance contributions for the fourth period are calculated according to normal rates. The deadline for paying employer’s national insurance contributions for the fourth payment period (July and August) remains unchanged and payment is due 15 September 2020.

Refunds (repayment)

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

Any overpayment for the second period 2020 will be used to cover possible outstanding payment for the third. 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 a refund of all the employer's national insurance contributions paid by you for the third period 2020. In this case, payment for the third period must be by the deadline 15 October 2020.

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

Many Norwegian employees working for foreign employers have temporarily returned to Norway during the pandemic or remained in Norway after a planned visit. Many of these employees work from home in Norway because of the Covid-19 pandemic, instead of working at their permanent place of work abroad.

For foreign employers with employees working from home in Norway due to Covid-19, there are exemptions from the duties to

  • provide salary information pursuant to the Tax Administration Act
  • deduct withholding tax pursuant to the Tax Payment Act
For 2021: For foreign employers with employees working from home offices in Norway due to Covid-19, there is an extension of the temporary provision that gives an exemption from the duty to provide salary information and deduct withholding tax.
For 2020: Temporary regulation (Lovdata) (in Norwegian only)

The exemption covers employers who are not resident in Norway and who, under normal circumstances, do not have any activities in Norway.

The exemption is of limited duration and is valid from 13 March 2020 to the end of the 2021 income year.

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

In the temporary provision, the Ministry of Finance did not give 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 subject to this duty still have a duty to provide such information.

 

The government decided to establish a compensation scheme for employers in zone V (target zone) and on 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 for the third period 2020 (May-June) was granted.

This subsidy was calculated using the basis for the employer’s national insurance contributions reported in the a-melding. The scheme is managed by the Tax Administration. These subsidy payments can only be made if the Tax Administration has the recipient’s account number. The deadline for paying the subsidy was 1 September (2020). Read more about the compensation scheme in the target zone.

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

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

Clarifications for self-employed persons and companies

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

The valuation discount has increased from 35 percent in 2020 to 45 percent in 2021 for the following:

  • shares, the share component of shares held in security funds, equity certificates, units in businesses assessed as partnership
  • fixed assets, including commercial property

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

Deadline for tax-exempt conversion of business activities

Normal deadlines apply for the income year 2021. See Krav til det mottakende selskapet – Skatte-ABC (Requirements for the recipient company, in Norwegian only)

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. For 2020 this deadline is postponed to 1 September 2020. This deadline also applies to companies for withholding tax deductions from employees’ salaries and calculation of employer’s national insurance contributions.

Initial depreciations for balance group d (machines, etc.)

See rates for 2021 and later

There was a temporary scheme of 10 percent initial depreciations for balance group d (vehicles, machines and fixtures and fittings, etc.) for 2020. The depreciation rate for 2020 was increased from 20 percent to 30 percent for fixed assets in balance group d that were acquired between 20 July 2020 and 31 December 2020. 

 

Reversal of dividend decisions due to the coronavirus pandemic

For 2021 and later, see Innvinning av aksjeutbytte – Skatte-ABC (Realisation of share dividends, in Norwegian only).

In cases where the coronavirus pandemic lead to changes of decided dividends for 2020 in the period between the date of the general assembly resolution and the payment date, the dividends may be excepted from taxation under certain conditions. Read the statement of principles of 31 March 2020 (in Norwegian only).

 

Delivery of groceries and similar goods

Sales to customers who got their groceries delivered to their door, could in the period from 12 March to 9 September 2021 be registered as cash sales in the cash register, as long as these goods were scanned based on the actual order from the customer, even if payment was only received at the moment of delivery.

See Utkjøring av matvarer mv. – Bruk av kassasystemer for å registrere salg av 09.09.2021 og tilsvarende prinsipputtalelse av 18. mars 2020 (ikke lenger gjeldende). (Delivery of groceries and similar - use of cash register to register sales of 9 September 2021 and corresponding statement of principle of 18 March 2020 (no longer applicable) – Statements of principle, in Norwegian only)

Tax incentive scheme for investment in start-up companies 

For the income years 2020 and 2021, the maximum amount was raised to NOK 1 million for each investor, and the limit for share contributions to the companies to NOK 5 million. As a temporary measure for the 2020 and 2021 income years, the scheme was expanded to include employees and their related parties.

Income deduction in connection with investments in start-up companies (private limited liability companies) – tax incentive scheme

Aksjer – aksjeinnskudd i oppstartsselskap – Skatte-ABC (Investment in start-up companies – Skatte-ABC, in Norwegian only)

Temporary exception from limited tax liability for foreign enterprises

A temporary exception from limited tax liability was implemented in 2021 for foreign enterprises who under normal circumstances would have been granted limited tax liability in Norway. The justification for this rule was that foreign enterprises should not be able to obtain a limited tax liability in Norway based solely on the fact that employees were working from home in Norway due to the covid-19 pandemic.

See the Ministry of Finance's regulation to the Taxation Act, section 2-3-1

The Directorate of Taxes assumes that businesses delayed in the introduction of SAF-T as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020 have now been able to fulfil the requirement relating to the SAF-T accounting file.

The general exception granted in a statement dated 19 March 2020 no longer applies.

See the statement of principle of 19 March 2020 (in Norwegian only) and the statement of principle of 10 November 2020 (in Norwegian only) from the Directorate of Taxes.

Duties on cars and other vehicles

As a result of the coronavirus situation, temporary relief was granted for the short-term use of foreign-registered vehicles in Norway as of 2 April 2020. Permission was also granted to privately store foreign-registered vehicles in Norway. These changes have been made permanent as of 1 January 2022.

Wealth tax

Ordinary rules for the payment of wealth tax apply for the 2021 and 2022 income years.

Deferred payment of wealth tax in case of negative net income for 2020

Private owners were able to take advantage of a temporary scheme of deferred payment of wealth tax on the enterprise’s wealth for the 2020 income year. This scheme applied to personal taxpayers owning an enterprise with an accounting obligation and a negative net income for the 2020 income year, whose wealth tax would otherwise have been assessed to at least NOK 30,000 for the 2020 income year related to the enterprise’s wealth.

One must claim deferral of the payment of wealth tax for the income year 2020 by the deadline for submitting the tax return. This must be done even if the taxpayer has applied for and been granted reduced withholding tax or advance tax for 2020.

Private owners could apply for an exemption from paying withholding tax and advance tax in connection with the enterprise’s wealth in 2020. This was meant to provide immediate liquidity relief for owners of businesses who met certain criteria.

Advance tax

For 2022, ordinary deadlines apply for the payment of advance tax

 

Ordinary deadlines for the payment of advance tax applied for 2021. Taxpayers could change their advance tax or their tax deduction card if their financial situation had changed because of the coronavirus situation.

Everybody due to pay advance tax for the first period at the deadline 15 March got an extended payment deadline, which was 4 May 2020, and the deadline for payment for the second period was extended from 15 May to 15 July 2020. No application for an extended deadline was necessary. The invoice was sent approximately three weeks before deadline. Anyone wanting to pay advance tax for the second period earlier could generate a KID number for advance tax. Someone who had paid their advance tax and wanted a refund, could contact us for repayment. 

Second advance payment of tax for companies, including the part of tax on financial activity related to surpluses, due 15 April 2020: The deadline was extended to 1 September 2020. This extension did not apply to general income, natural resource tax and ground rent tax for entities liable to pay natural resource and ground rent tax. If those who had already paid the advance tax wanted a refund, they had to contact their local tax collector for the repayment.

The Business Compensation Scheme

The Business Compensation Scheme provides enterprises facing major income losses as result of the coronavirus situation with financial compensation to cover fixed, unavoidable costs. 

The original compensation scheme ran from March (2020) to the end of August (2020), and the last deadline for applying was 31 October 2020.

Salary subsidy

Applying for a salary subsidy is a part of the government’s package of measures as a result of the coronavirus situation. 

 

The application deadline for both these schemes has expired. It is no longer possible to send a new application. If you have submitted an application and you discover it contained incorrect information or was incomplete, you must submit a new application.

Value added tax (VAT)

Value added tax – payment deferment or reduced rent

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

Renting out buildings or facilities – the rules relating to retrospective value added tax refunds have been changed

Lessors of real property who have voluntarily registered in the VAT Register may claim deductions for input value added tax on purchases made up to three years before registering (retrospective VAT refund).

To claim deductions in connection with new construction of, extensions to, or alterations of real estate property, it’s required that the property must be rented out within six months after completion of the building project. This condition has been extended temporarily, from six to twelve months for building work completed between 1 September 2019 and 30 June 2021. For building work completed between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021, the deadline for renting out the building or facility has been set to 30 June 2022.

See the press release from the Ministry of Finance (in Norwegian only).

Reduced VAT rate

For 2022, the reduced VAT rate for passenger transport, accommodation, public broadcasting and entry fees to cinemas, sports events, amusement parks and experience centres is 12 percent.

For the period between 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2021 this rate was reduced from 12 percent to 6 percent. More information about reduced VAT rate (in Norwegian only)

 

Submission deadlines for the VAT return

The deadline for the submission of the VAT return and payment of value added tax for the first period and the annual deadline for the primary industry was 12 April 2021. The deadline for the second period was 10 June 2021. Payment after deadline lead to interest on overdue payment. Read more about deadlines.

Enforcement fines

The Tax Administration did not impose enforcement fines for late submission of the following tax returns for VAT:

  • first period (deadline 12 April 2021)
  • second period (deadline 10 June 2021)
  • annual deadline for the primary industry (12 April 2021)

Read the Government’s press release (in Norwegian only).

In case of non-submission of the VAT-return by the deadline for the first period and the annual deadline for the primary industry, discretionary assessment of the value added tax and possible imposition of supplementary tax was again implemented with effect from May 2021. In case of non-submission of the VAT return by the deadline for the second period, discretionary assessment and possible imposition of supplementary tax was again implemented with effect from July 2021.

Extended payment deadlines for tax liable entities with a general taxation period (bimonthly)

The deadline for payment of value added tax for the first period, due on 12 April 2021, was not changed.

Submission deadlines for the VAT return

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

Enforcement fines

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

  • First period (deadline 14 April 2020), second period (deadline 10 June 2020), third period (deadline 31 August 2020) and fourth period (deadline 12 October 2020).
  • Tax returns for VAT that are submitted with an annual deadline (due 10 March 2020) and the annual statement for the primary industry (due 14 April 2020).
Regarding the tax return for VAT for the fifth period, due for submission on 10 December 2020, the taxpayer could be charged with an enforcement fine if they did not submit by the deadline.

Extended payment deadlines for tax liable entities with a general taxation period (bimonthly)

The deadline for paying VAT for the first period, due 14 April 2020, was extended to 10 June 2020. No application for an extended deadline was necessary. 

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

The tax return for self-employed persons and businesses

Deadline for the tax return for 2021

Ordinary rules apply in connection with the submission of the tax return for 2021. 

The submission deadline for the tax return for 2020 was 31 May 2021. As a self-employed person, you could apply for an extended submission deadline until 20 August 2021. Read the Government’s press release (in Norwegian only)

If a person had been granted an extension to the deadline, their spouse was automatically given the same extended deadline. The same applied to partners in businesses assessed as a partnership.

The deadline for submitting the 2019 tax return was extended from 31 May to 31 August 2020. It was not possible to apply for further extensions to this deadline. 

If a person had been granted an extension to the deadline, their spouse was automatically given the same extended deadline. The same applied to partners in businesses assessed as a partnership.

The deadline for paying additional advance tax was unchanged, 31 May 2020.

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

For 2022 and for the tax return for 2021, the ordinary rules for enforcement fines apply.

Businesses (and self-employed persons) that were granted a deferred deadline to submit their tax return and submitted it after this deferred deadline of 20 August, were charged with an enforcement fine. The same applied to businesses that did not apply for a deferred deadline and submitted their tax return after the deadline of 31 May, see regjeringen.no (in Norwegian only).

Enforcement fines for the late submission of the tax return for self-employed persons and businesses were temporarily suspended.

Anyone receiving an email from the Tax Administration stating they might have to pay an enforcement fine for late submission could disregard this communication. We did not impose enforcement fines for late submission of the 2019 tax return.

 

Certain simplifications were accepted in connection with the submission of the interest limitation forms RF-1315 and RF-1509 for the 2019 income year. See the statement (of principle) for more information (in Norwegian only).

Taxation of employees for 2020, 2021 and 2022

The Tax Administration clarified the tax-related handling of circumstances that arose because of the coronavirus situation:

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 were tax-free and did not have to be reported. This tax exemption was granted provided the benefit was temporary, proportional and based on the need to maintain operations and prevent spreading the virus. It was up to the individual employer to decide if these conditions were fulfilled. You did not have to deduct tax on these benefits, and there was no reporting obligation or liability for employer's national insurance contributions on them. See the Directorate of Taxes’ statement of principle of 31 March 2020 (in Norwegian only). Ordinary rules for home office, see the Directorate of Taxes’ statement of principle of 10 November 2020 (in Norwegian only).

Exemption for benefits received during temporary residence in Norway caused by the cancellation of a work period stay abroad due to the coronavirus situation.

Some employees following the travel advice from the UD (Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), temporarily put their work periods abroad on hold and returned to Norway. The coverage of private expenses by the employer is normally taxable. Coverage during a temporary stay in Norway was nevertheless not taxed if the employee paid tax on similar coverage at their permanent place of work abroad, or if they had similar costs continuing to accrue abroad. Se the Directorate of Taxes’ statement of principle of 8 July 2020 (in Norwegian only).

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

The employee was not taxed for the benefit of using a company car, if that car, due to the coronavirus situation, was parked at the employee’s home while the employee was laid off. If the laid off employee used the car for private purposes, regardless of the extent, the benefit had to be calculated and reported as normal. The employer had to notify the Tax Administration if there were no cash funds from which withholding tax could be deducted. See the Directorate of Taxes’ statement of principle of 3 April 2020 (in Norwegian only).

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, because of the measures to prevent spreading the virus, a home visit was not carried out every third week, the commuter was still considered a commuter, potentially eligible for deductions or expense allowances pursuant to the ordinary rules. See the Directorate of Taxes’ statement of principle of 31 March 2020 (in Norwegian only).

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 offered possibilities to extend the stays in Norway. See the Directorate of Taxes’ statement of principle of 1 April 2020 (in Norwegian only).

Excise duties

Temporary moderation in the requirements to destroy goods

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

The air passenger tax was temporarily suspended until 1 July 2022

The air passenger tax was temporarily suspended for 2020, 2021 and the first half of 2022. 

Carry forward of deficit for companies

Companies could temporarily 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, had to request to be excluded when they submitted the tax return for 2020. More information will be provided.

Deferred payment and instalment schemes

In connection with the introduction of new coronavirus restrictions in December 2021, a new scheme for deferred payment was established for taxes and duties with payment deadlines between 1 January and 31 March 2022.

A temporary scheme for payment deferral was established due to the coronavirus situation. It applied from 12 June 2020 until 30 June 2021.

The deferred claims must be paid by instalments before the end of 2022.

Interest on overdue payments

Interest on overdue payment will accrue for the claims during the whole instalment period. The interest on overdue payment is currently 8.5 percent.

 

The interest on overdue payment for most tax and duty claims was reduced to 6 percent in the periods 10 June to 31 December 2020 and 15 January to 31 March 2022. Exceptions were made for, among other things, withholding tax, tax deductions and compensation claims.

In the period 10 June to 31 December 2020, the reduced interest rate also applied to claims where interest is calculated by the Norwegian National Collection Agency pursuant to the Act relating to the Norwegian National Collection Agency, as well as claims relating to stamp duty.

Other services

The Tax Administration’s other services were also affected by the coronavirus situation.