Taxation of salary for work on Svalbard

Salary or other remuneration for work on Svalbard is taxable when the stay lasts at least 30 consecutive days.

If the stay lasts at least 12 months, the person will be considered a tax resident from the beginning of the stay.

Temporary stay on Svalbard

Salary or other remuneration for work on Svalbard is taxable when the stay lasts at least 30 consecutive days, see the Svalbard Taxation Act section 2-2, subsection 1. If the stay lasts less than 30 days, the salary income will be taxable on the mainland or in any other country where the employee is a resident.

However, there are no requirements to the number of days the person works during the stay. The rule concerning 30 days continuous residence on Svalbard must be applied so that any break in the residence on Svalbard interrupts the period. For example, if a person is first resident on Svalbard for a period of 14 days, then spends a weekend off Svalbard, followed by 20 days on Svalbard, there will be two periods of residence – each lasting less than 30 days.

When calculating the 30-day period, days spent travelling to or from Svalbard should not be counted as residence on Svalbard.

Who is considered a tax resident on Svalbard?

If the stay lasts at least 12 months, the person will be considered a resident for tax purposes from the beginning of the stay.

Short periods of absence from Svalbard, such as a holiday, will not interrupt the period of residence. 

A person is subject to limited tax liability for salary and business income if they have not been a tax resident of Norway (including Svalbard) during the last 10 years before their stay on Svalbard. Tax liability as resident on Svalbard is waived from and including the income year the individual has stayed outside of Svalbard for more than 183 days during a twelve-month period.

Taxation through deductions (the withholding tax scheme for Svalbard) 

Tax deducted according to the withholding tax scheme for Svalbard is entirely gross tax. No deductions for the tax calculation basis are granted. The employer must deduct tax from salary/pension when this is paid to the employee/benefit recipient. The deducted tax is, in general, a final settlement of the tax liability for the salary/pension. 

If you receive a salary 

The scheme for deductions to salary, etc., primarily include the following benefits: 

  • salary and other remunerations for work and assignments in and outside of employment, such as fees, commissions, etc. 
  • holiday pay on salary that is earned and taxable to Svalbard 
  • board fees and similar 
  • benefits in kind and profits on remunerations 
  • remuneration on termination of employment 
  • pension, benefits derived from surrendered property or annuity that is part of an employment-related pension scheme when the recipient is a tax resident on Svalbard (stays of over 12 months) 

Tax and national insurance contributions will be deducted on sickness benefits, parental benefits  or unemployment benefits according to the rules of the withholding tax scheme for Svalbard. If your stay is temporary, the condition for having a tax liability to Svalbard is that the stay has lasted at least 30 days in total, that you were working on Svalbard when the right to receive payment arose, and that you are still staying on Svalbard when the benefit is received. 

If you earn more than 12 G in the withholding tax scheme for Svalbard and receive a salary from several employers, you’ll be responsible for paying tax with a high rate on salary/pension over 12 G. 

See also taxation of other income on Svalbard.   

For the employer 

Employer’s national insurance contributions 

For employers domiciled on Svalbard, the rate for employer’s national insurance contributions is 0 percent when the work is performed on Svalbard. This will apply even if an employee is not resident on Svalbard long enough for the income earned there to be taxable under the Svalbard Taxation Act. 

The rate for employer's national insurance contributions will be 0 percent on salary and other remunerations subject to tax according to the Svalbard Taxation Act, even if the employer in question is not resident on Svalbard. 

See also the Directorate of Taxes’ report on employer’s national insurance contributions to the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme for 2024 (in Norwegian only).

Benefits in kind 

The rates for living in a residential property rent-free and for free use of a car for the 2024 income year can be found on regulations on valuation rules for use when taxing salary deductions, etc. (withholding tax scheme for Svalbard) for persons who are taxed on Svalbard in the 2024 income year (in Norwegian only). 

Tax deductions and reporting

On Svalbard, all months are subject to withholding tax, and no tax deduction cards/tax exemption cards are issued. Employers must deduct tax and employer's national insurance contributions from salary, etc. that are taxed under the Svalbard Taxation Act (in Norwegian only). This applies to salary or other remuneration for work for residents on Svalbard, as well as for work-related stays lasting at least 30 consecutive days.

Salary, etc. that are taxed under the Svalbard Taxation Act must be reported via the a-melding. Income that’s taxed in accordance with the Svalbard Taxation Act is reported in the same way as on the mainland. Information concerning deductions from salaries must be reported monthly no later than the 5th of the following month.

See also the a-melding guide