Gifts/financial support for subsistence for employees on unpaid assignments

Concerning gifts and financial support for subsistence for missionaries and employees on unpaid assignments for an organisation.

Some people work voluntarily in a full- or part-time position for an organisation, but the organisation does not pay any salary for the work. “The remuneration” is based on voluntary contributors giving financial support or gifts directly to the individual employee to cover their subsistence.

Non-employed related gifts do not generally constitute taxable income. However, a gift may still be considered to be so closely linked to work input that it should be taxed as salary income.

To ensure the more uniform tax-related treatment of financial support given by parties other than an organisation, the Directorate of Taxes has established guidelines for the tax offices concerning the way in which the rules should be enforced. These guidelines are used as a basis in connection with tax assessments from the 2014 income year.

The guidelines identify a clearly identifiable group of donors consisting of close family where it can generally be assumed that the donor intended their donation as a gift, making it tax-free.

Gifts from close family

Close family encompasses the recipient's

  • relatives in an ascending or descending line, e.g. children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, great grandparents
  • foster parents, foster children
  • siblings, relatives by marriage, aunts and uncles, nieces, nephews

If you have worked on an unpaid assignment for an organisation or received a gift from a close family member amounting to a total of NOK 100,000 or more, you must declare it in your tax return. You do not need to submit documentation of the gifts when you submit your tax return, but you must submit a list of the donors’ family links and the amounts concerned if the tax office asks for such a list.

Gifts from all other donor groups (distant family, friends and acquaintances)

The general rule is that gifts and financial support from anyone other than close family are considered to have been given to support the work that the recipient carries out within the organisation. Gifts from this donor group must therefore normally be treated as taxable salary.

If you have worked on an unpaid assignment for an organisation and received financial support from anyone other than close family, you must enter the total value of such contributions in your tax return. If the total gift amount from an individual donor is NOK 1,000 or less per year, the amount will not be taxable and should not be entered as salary in the tax return.

The support may be considered to be a tax-free gift if you can substantiate that a donor outside your close family intended the support as a gift because it is not linked to the work you perform for the organisation. Examples of a donor intending to give a gift could be monetary gifts in connection with a birthday or a donor also giving a similar monetary gift to other people who do not have any affiliation to the organisation.