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Board and lodging - rates for deduction and tax-free allowances

If you have overnight stays away from home because of work, you may be entitled to an expense allowance for your extra expenses for food (board/subsistence) and accommodation (lodging), in accordance with the rates below.

If you have work journeys without overnight stays, you'll also have the right to a tax-free expense allowance for board expenses, in certain circumstances.

As a commuter, you can only deduct extra expenses for board (food and drink) when the commuter residence does not have cooking facilities, and for up to 24 months from the time you were first granted a deduction for these expenses.

The time limit of 24 months also applies to accommodation, which means that the right to deduct food and accommodation stops after 24 months, calculated from the time the deduction is first given.

The new rule took effect in 2020. The time limit of 24 months was calculated first from 1 January 2018. As a result, the right of deduction expires after 1 January 2020.

If you move to a new municipality for both your workplace and your commuter residence, the deduction can be claimed for a new 24-month period.

The rates set the deduction amounts when you cover your own costs for board and lodging during work travel. 

Allowance

Board (food)

The Directorate of Taxes sets the rates for a subsistence allowance not subject to withholding tax annually. This is the allowance that can be paid to an employee without withholding any tax.

The rate for the subsistence allowance not subject to withholding tax is equal to the amount you can receive as a tax-free subsistence allowance.

If the amount you receive as an allowance is higher than the rate listed below, the surplus will be taxable and subject to withholding tax unless you can provide full documentation of the costs, such as an invoice, receipt, etc.  

Lodging

An allowance to cover lodging expenses is not taxable if the allowance does not result in a surplus or cover private expenses.

If you need rates for 2019 or earlier, see Board and lodging - rates for non-taxable expense allowances and Board and lodging - allowance rates for subsistence allowance not subject to withholding tax.


For work journeys without overnight stays, the following rates apply.

The Directorate of Taxes’ rates for subsistence allowance that is tax free and not subject to withholding tax without overnight stays – in Norway and abroad

Rates

6 to 12 hours

NOK 200

More than 12 hours

NOK 400

If the employer, client or organiser/host covers one or more meals, you must reduce the allowance according to the value of the meal(s). The subsistence allowance not subject to withholding tax is reduced by 20 percent for breakfast, 30 percent for lunch and 50 percent for dinner (the amounts are rounded to the nearest whole NOK).

In order for the allowance to be paid tax free and without being subject to withholding tax, you must document your claim according to the specific requirements laid down in the Tax Payment Regulations .

In the case of travel involving overnight stays, it’s the place where you actually stay overnight (the type of accommodation) that determines your received subsistence allowance not subject to withholding tax. In addition, the distinction between work-related travel and commuter travel can be of significance if the accommodation is private or a bedsit/portacabin with cooking facilities.

For journeys of 6 hours or more into a day without an overnight stay (commenced day), an allowance for subsistence is given based on the type of accommodation used on the previous overnight stay. The meal-related reduction in the subsistence allowance is made based on the rate for overnight stay for the relevant type of accommodation. Meal-related reductions and surplus calculations are made per day.

If the travel has not lasted long enough for the employee to be entitled to a subsistence allowance for the commenced day (less than 6 hours), no meal-related reduction can be made. Instead, the employer can cover meals in the commenced day directly or by refunding documented expenses. This is because the surplus and meal-related reductions should be calculated per day. The rule applies even if your overnight stay is in a hotel, guesthouse or bedsit/portacabin/private. However, this is not the case when the employee stays overnight at a hotel where breakfast is included. In such a case, a meal reduction for breakfast should always be made, even if the employee chooses to eat breakfast later (typically in the commenced day). The employer has already covered breakfast, and the employee cannot get this meal covered twice.

In order for the allowance to be paid tax free and without being subject to withholding tax in its entirety, the allowance must be within the rates below, and the specific documentation requirements laid down in the Tax Payment Regulations must be met.

Special rates apply for overnight stays at a guesthouse or bedsit/portacabin/private accommodation or at a hotel. The rates apply in Norway as well as abroad.

The rate for overnight stays at a bedsit/portacabin or private accommodation with cooking facilities does not apply for commuting employees.

The employer’s tax-free coverage of board is not limited by the 24-months rule (a rule that limits commuters’ right to claim deductions for board and lodging to two years only). This means that the employer can provide tax-free coverage of additional costs for board and lodging for a period exceeding 24 months.

There is also a specific rate for board expenses for long-distance drivers working in Norway and abroad.

The Directorate of Taxes’ rates for subsistence allowance that is tax free and not subject to withholding tax with overnight stays - in Norway and abroad

Rates 
For employees staying at a guest house or bedsit/portacabin without cooking facilities NOK 172
For employees on business travel/work-related travel who are staying at a bedsit/portacabin with cooking facilities or have stayed overnight in private accommodation NOK 95
For employees staying in a hotel NOK 617

For employees staying in a hotel with breakfast included, the hotel rate is reduced by 20 percent.

If the employee in addition receives coverage for one or more meals, the subsistence allowance not subject to withholding tax is reduced by 20 percent for breakfast, 30 percent for lunch and 50 percent for dinner (round the amounts to the nearest whole NOK). Refer to the examples to understand the rates. Meal-related reductions and surplus calculations are made per day.

NOK 494
For long-distance drivers NOK 300

 

Example 1
An employee travelling for work is staying in a hotel to attend a meeting. The employee is served breakfast during the meeting without having to pay for it. The correct rate is then NOK 494. (Reduced by 20 percent for breakfast). However, if the employee must pay for breakfast himself, the correct rate is NOK 617.

Example 2
An employee travelling for work is staying in a hotel to attend a training course. The employee has her breakfast and lunch covered. In this case, the correct rate will be NOK 308 (NOK 617 - 20 percent for breakfast - 30 percent for lunch).