Prinsipputtalelse

Internet sales under the Cash Register Systems Act and the Bookkeeping Regulation

  • Published:
  • Avgitt 29 June 2017

This statement expands on the term " internet sales" under the Cash Register Systems Act and the Bookkeeping Regulation.

1         Background

The Cash Register Systems Act and Cash Register Systems Regulations entered into force on 1 January 2017.

Entities subject to a bookkeeping obligation have until 1 January 2019 to adopt a cash register system compliant with the cash register systems regulations.

The obligation to use a cash register system compliant with the cash register systems regulations applies to entities subject to a bookkeeping obligation which have cash sales. Internet sales are not considered to be cash sales in this context.

The Directorate of Taxes has received several questions relating to whether specific solutions/sales channels may be considered to be, or can be equated with, internet sales under the Cash Register Systems Act and the Bookkeeping Regulation. In these cases, this means that the sale is not required to be registered in a cash register system that meets the requirements of the Cash Register Systems Act and the Cash Register Systems Regulations.

The present statement is predicated on the vendor being subject to a bookkeeping obligation in Norway, and does not discuss issues concerning where the enterprise is domiciled.

2         Legal basis[1]

The Bookkeeping Act Section 10 a [2] is worded as follows:

Section 10 a. Special rules on the documentation of cash sales

Entities subject to a bookkeeping obligation must register and document cash sales made using a cash register system with a product declaration which satisfies the requirements of the Cash Register Systems Act and requirements issued through regulations pursuant to the Cash Register Systems Act. In a Regulation, the Ministry may stipulate requirements and exemptions concerning the use of cash register systems, etc.

The Bookkeeping Regulation Section 5-3-1 a [3] defines a cash sale as:

the sale of goods and services where the purchaser's payment obligation to the vendor is settled on delivery, using a payment card or cash as a means of payment. Internet sales and cash-on-delivery sales are not to be regarded as cash sales.

The Bookkeeping Regulation Section 5-3-1 b[4] defines a payment card as: a debit card, credit card and charge card. Cash is defined as"any other means of payment than a payment card";seeSection 5‑3-1 c[5]. Other means of payment might include payment using an app such as MobilePay and Vipps.

The Norwegian Accounting Standards Board through the Bookkeeping Standards Board has issued a statement concerning internet sales (GBS 16). The statement does not specifically discuss what is meant by internet sales, but discusses the difference between prepayments (financial advances), cash sales and credit sales. The statement also sets out the documentary requirements applicable to internet sales and the requirements for posting internet sales in the customer specification.

3         The Directorate of Taxes' assessment

3.1 More information about electronic commerce (e-commerce/internet shopping) and internet sales

Electronic commerce (e-commerce) or internet shopping is the trade in products or services through electronic network systems. It comprises all purchase agreements for goods or services entered into over the internet, e.g. via a PC or mobile phone in an online store, internet auction or by e-mail.

The Directorate of Taxes' position is that the term "internet sale" under the Cash Register Systems Act and the Bookkeeping Regulation comprises any form of e-commerce where a sale is executed through an item of goods or a service being ordered and paid for using an internet solution made available by the vendor, without the vendor's place of business (including vending machines) being visited. This solution also produces a sales receipt that is sent electronically to the customer.

To be comprised by the term "internet sale ", it is a prerequisite that the sale is comprised by the cash sale definition "the sale of goods and services where the purchaser's payment obligation to the vendor is settled on delivery".

3.2 Sales comprised by the term "internet sale"

The sale of goods and services from the vendor's website, apps etc. – payment is made simultaneously

Many businesses have websites where customers can order goods and services. The customer logs on to the vendor's website from their own PC, tablet or mobile phone to buy goods and services. Often the customer pays for the goods and services at the same time. There are many solutions where different types of services can be ordered using apps, such as the Ruter Oslo public transport app, the NSB Norwegian railways app and various parking apps. The service can then be performed at effectively the same time as ordering and payment, and will therefore be a cash sale by definition.

The Directorate of Taxes' position is that these types of sale are internet sales under the Cash Register Systems Act and the Bookkeeping Regulation. It is emphasised that these are electronic solutions where the transactions are performed using the customer's technical equipment and not by visiting a point of sale at the supplier's place of business or a vending machine to make the purchase.

3.2 Sales not comprised by the term "internet sale "

Ordering of goods and services from the vendor's website where payment but not delivery takes place simultaneously

Not all e-commerce is considered to be cash sales. This applies especially to the sale of goods where the goods will, as a rule, be sent to the customer a certain time after the order and payment have been made. For further discussion of the documentary requirements etc. for such sales, see GBS 16, items a-c.

It will often be the case that the customer can choose between having an item sent to their home at a supplementary cost, or collect the item at a sales outlet after order and payment. The payment for the item is then considered a prepayment that must be entered on the customer's account (a debt to the customer); see GBS 16 item a. The same applies to the sale of services that are performed after the order. Sales documents for VATable goods and services may, as a rule, only be issued after the delivery has occurred.

Since such sales are not cash sales, the sales document must in principle be issued from an invoicing system or by using pre-numbered invoice forms. Vendors may also choose to print out a sales receipt from the cash register system when the customer collects the item or the service is performed; see the Cash Register Systems Regulations Section 2-8-2 (2). The sales document must be entered on the customer's account.

Ordering of goods and services from the vendor's website where payment and delivery take place at the vendor's place of business.

As mentioned, there are solutions where the customer can order goods on the vendor's website and then visit the vendor's place of business for delivery of the goods. If the goods are paid for when collected, only an order has taken place on the internet.

The same applies to the sale of services. An example of the sale of services might be solutions where the customer can book catering at a restaurant at a certain time and where payment is made for the catering service at the time of the meal.

The Vipps payment solution can also be linked to ordering solutions for goods and services. The customer can download a "menu" at a merchant site, make a choice, pay and then have the goods item or service delivered.

In the Directorate of Taxes' opinion, the examples above are of ordinary cash sales, and there is an obligation to register and document the cash sale using a cash register system.


[1] All references to the Bookkeeping Act and the Bookkeeping Regulation are to provisions that come into effect on 1 January 2019. See amendments to the Bookkeeping Regulation through the Regulation of 20 December 2016 no. 1752

[2] New provision; see Act of 19 June 2015 no. 53 concerning amendment to the Act of 19 November 2004 no. 73 concerning bookkeeping

[3] A corresponding definition is included in the Cash Register Systems Act Section 2 a

[4] A corresponding definition is included in the Cash Register Systems Act Section 2 b

[5] A corresponding definition is included in the Cash Register Systems Act Section 2 c