Coronavirus - important information from the Tax Administration

Refunds of overpaid value added tax (VAT) on purchases from abroad

If you’ve paid VAT twice for the same item, for example both upon purchase and import to Norway, you may get a refund of one of the payments. You must contact whoever sold you the item. In most cases, they have an obligation to refund overpaid VAT.

Neither the Tax Administration, Norwegian Customs or the payment service (such as PayPal, Klarna, Mastercard, etc.) have any legal basis to provide a refund in such cases.

If you run a business/are self-employed, you must contact whoever sold you the items to get a refund of the incorrectly imposed VAT.

Purchases from foreign online stores when the online store collects VAT

Foreign online stores must collect Norwegian VAT when they sell goods to Norwegian private individuals and pay the VAT to the Norwegian authorities.

In some cases, the shipment may be incorrectly or inadequately labelled, so that VAT is also imposed on the shipment at the time of import to Norway. If this happens, you must contact whoever sold you the item (the online store) to get a refund of VAT. The online store may deduct the repayment when they later pay VAT to the Norwegian authorities.

If VAT has been imposed both when you purchased the item and upon import to Norway, even if the shipment was labelled with a VOEC number, you must contact the online store and request a refund of the incorrectly imposed VAT. It’s the online store’s responsibility to label the item correctly. The online store has an obligation to refund VAT in such circumstances.

In some cases, the online store may have imposed VAT on goods that are excepted from VAT – for example items such as books, postage stamps, visual art bought directly from the vendor, or shipments to Svalbard. This is wrong. In this scenario, you will also need to contact the online store to get a refund of VAT.

Please note that the online store only has an obligation to collect VAT on the sale of low-value goods (less than NOK 3,000) to Norwegian private individuals.

Sales to Norwegian enterprises

On sales to enterprises, import VAT must still be paid.

If you, as a Norwegian business/self-employed person, have bought an item from a foreign online store and VAT has been imposed upon purchase, you must contact whoever sold you the item and request a refund. Read more about how to do that here (in Norwegian only).

Some examples of VAT refunds

These examples apply to both private individuals and businesses that are not registered for VAT.

You bought a jacket from a foreign country, and you paid the customs duties and VAT at the time of import. Something was wrong with the jacket, and you’ve returned it to the vendor.

In order get a refund of the VAT you paid, you have to:

  • return the jacket to the vendor.

If the vendor/online store is registered in the VOEC scheme and has collected VAT upon purchase, you’re entitled to a refund of the full amount.

 

You made an online purchase, and VAT was imposed at the time of purchase. VAT was also imposed when the goods were imported to Norway because the shipment was not labelled with a VOEC number. The VOEC number has 7 digits, and starts with the number 2.

In order get a refund of VAT, you must:
  • contact whoever sold you the item (online shop) and request a refund.

You must contact the online store that took your payment, not payment services or subcontractors.

 

You’ve purchased an item that is duty-free according to Norwegian rules, but that have still been imposed VAT by a foreign online store. This could be books, postage stamps for collection-purposes, or shipments to Svalbard.

In order get a refund of VAT, you must:
  • contact whoever sold you the item (online shop) and request a refund.