Value added tax and excise duties

Value added tax (VAT) often plays an important role in the execution of a transaction. This field requires its practitioners to have special knowledge, as strict and detailed regulatory requirements tend to be involved, and even minor formal errors can have far-reaching consequences. Receiving sound advice at an early stage, therefore, is vital in order to avoid the loss of value added tax paid and incurring penalty tax.

Value added tax is a tax on consumption and is the primary source of revenue for the Norwegian state. Value added tax ideally does not represent a cost to business; rather, it is calculated and levied on business operators in the form of output VAT on sales and deductible input VAT on costs. The effect of value added tax between business operators, then, is intended to be as neutral as possible until the final charge is made with the end customer (consumer).

The legal framework and the practice of the Norwegian tax administration tend to be detail-oriented and formalistic, which means that minor formal errors can have far-reaching consequences. Receiving sound advice at an early stage can therefore be of great strategic value.

How can we assist?

  • Determination of the risk involved by making inquiries early on with the tax authorities, requesting of binding advance rulings (BFU), reporting of changes to the business's VAT returns etc.
  • Questions concerning deductibility and allocation of costs. Review and assessments in conjunction with and triggered by transactions, due diligence etc.
  • Preparation of adjustment agreements in connection with the transfer of assets and identification of the presence of an adjustment or reversal obligation.
  • Tax optimisation in connection with construction projects, infrastructure projects etc.
  • Assistance in connection with various kinds of registration to ensure tax optimisation, such as joint registration, advance registration, voluntary registration, retroactive tax settlements etc.
  • Assistance in connection with audits and other kinds of inquiries from the tax authorities. Correction of previous tax settlements.
  • Assistance in connection with appeals.
  • VAT registration and reporting abroad. Identification of the presence of potential registration obligations. 
  • Assistance to foreign businesses in identifying the presence of potential registration obligations and the possibility of VAT calculation in Norway.
  • Refunding of value added tax incurred by foreign businesses not registered in the Norwegian VAT register.

Excise duties

Excise duties are taxes on the sale, importation or manufacture of certain goods and services. Such duties may also be triggered by the presence of different kinds of ownership structures or by changes in ownership. Examples of such duties are stamp duty, electricity consumption tax, carbon tax, nitrogen oxide tax, road tax and sugar tax. Employer's contributions and finance sector tax are taxes on labour.

Contrary to value added tax, special duties are often motivated by political considerations. In cases where these duties have ramifications outside their intended scope or other unintended effects, we can approach the authorities or contact other entities to address the issue and work to reduce our clients' tax burden.

How can we assist?

  • Assessment of the basis for calculation of the duties levied, consideration of the possibility of exemptions and reductions.
  • Assistance in connection with audits and reassessments.
  • Assistance in connection with appeals.
  • Work to bring about changes in the legal framework and administrative practice in cases where the duties have ramifications outside their intended scope or other unintended effects.

Please contact

"Clients appreciate the team's timely execution and solution-oriented approach: "Wiersholm provides high-quality advice within the given timeframes," an interviewee reports, adding that the team is "able to grasp complex issues and find workable solutions."