Enterprises that acquire goods and services in Norway, are charged with Norwegian VAT in the same extent as Norwegian businesses. As foreign enterprises are not VAT registered in Norway, they are unable to have the VAT repaid over the regular bimonthly VAT returns. Instead, they can apply for a VAT refund to the Norwegian tax authorities.
Businesses that want to apply, should check if the following conditions are met:
1. Has the enterprise had any taxable turnover in Norway during the last year?
If so, the enterprise must register in the VAT register and claim input VAT over the regular VAT returns – and not to forget; pay the output VAT you have charged on the Norwegian turnover.
2. Are the goods/services used within the enterprise?
You can only claim a VAT refund if the acquired goods and services are used within the enterprise. If they are resold, this would mean that the enterprise is carrying out VAT liable activities in Norway which again triggers VAT registration.
3. Would the enterprise have been liable for VAT registration in Norway?
Only enterprises performing a business activity that are comprised of the VAT Act, can apply for a VAT refund. Enterprises that only perform exempt services such as health care, dental care, education or financial services, will not be entitled to a VAT refund. These services, amongst others, are not comprised by the Norwegian VAT Act. Domestic enterprises who do business within these services would not be entitled to VAT deduction, and thus, naturally, neither would foreign enterprises be.
4. Would the VAT have been deductible had the enterprise been VAT registered in Norway?
The VAT refund arrangement only comprises deductible acquisitions. Examples of non-deductible goods and services are catering, business entertainment, remunerations to enterprise owners and employees, construction or maintenance of property that covers a housing or welfare need, etc.
5. Does the application meet the formal requirements?
In order to apply, the tax office’s RF-1032 form must be completed. The form must be in English or one of the Scandinavian languages, and this must be submitted by regular post.
The application form must be an original copy, but is not necessary to submit original invoices with the application. Prints from an electronic accounting system will suffice.
A certificate from a local public authority, proving that you are a registered business, must follow the application.
If you apply through an agent, you will also need a letter of attorney that covers the assignment.
6. Be aware of the deadline
For VAT accrued during the previous calendar year, Norway has set the deadline for VAT refund applications to September 30. This deadline is similar to many other European countries.
Keep in mind that you do not have to wait until the following year to apply. You can improve your cash position by applying more frequently. However, you should note that the tax office does not accept applications for a shorter period of time than 3 months. It may also be useful to know that the processing time regularly exceeds 6 months.
We regularly assist foreign businesses with VAT refund applications. Please get in touch if you are wondering if your business can apply, or if you have other questions regarding Norwegian VAT. You will also find relevant information on our website: VAT in Norway.
Article first published April 2019, updated June 2022.