Businesses that acquire goods and services in Norway, will be charged with Norwegian VAT to the same extent as Norwegian businesses. As foreign businesses 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. Have you had any taxable turnover in Norway during the last year?
If so, you must register in the VAT register in the regular manner and claim your input VAT over the regular VAT returns – and not to forget; pay the output VAT you have/should have charged on your Norwegian turnover.
2. Are the goods/services used within your enterprise?
You can only claim a VAT refund if the goods and services you have acquired are used within your own enterprise. If they are resold, you are carrying out VAT liable activities in Norway which means that you are obliged to register for VAT.
3. Would you 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 will not be entitled to VAT deduction, and thus, naturally, neither will foreign enterprises be.
4. Would the VAT have been deductible had your 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. Have you applied correctly?
You apply by completing the tax office’s RF-1032 form. The form must be completed in English or one of the Scandinavian languages, and this must be submitted by regular mail.
It is not necessary to submit original invoices with the applications. 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 applications.
If you apply through an agent, you will also need a letter of attorney.
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.
Article first published April 2019, updated February 2020.
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 September 2020.