Is your work situation necessitate living away from your primary residence? Then you might be a commuter and therefore entitled to several tax deductions in Norway. In this article, we'll take a look at rules in regards to commuting and norwegian tax return.
What is a commuter?
For tax purposes, you may be considered a commuter if you:
- due to your work, must live somewhere else than your real home, and
- qualify for regular visits home
Commuters may be entitled to claim deductions for the extra expenses related to visiting their home abroad, i.e., extra upkeep/ daily allowance, accommodation, and travel expenses.
Are you a family commuter or a single commuter?
To claim commuter deductions, you must live somewhere else than your real home. In addition, you must be classified as either a family commuter or as a single commuter.
If you share a home with your children and/or a spouse in your home country, you are regarded as a commuter for tax purposes.
Documentation, such as marriage - and birth certificates, confirm this status. In addition, you must be able to document the joint residential address in your home country. It is recommended to have at least three or four home visits with overnight stays per year.
Note that if your home is outside the EEA area, you normally must have at least three home journeys where you stay the night at home, to be considered as a family commuter.
If you are not a family commuter, you are classified as a single commuter. Cohabitants are treated as single commuters in this context. However, if you also live with your own children, you are classified as a family commuter.
If you live at your parent’s home, you will need to meet the requirements for home visits to be considered as a commuter. Note that when you commute while living at home with your parents, you do not have additional expenses for accommodation (two households), and thus you are not entitled to deductions for accommodation. You might be entitled to deductions for expenses for food and travel.
If you do not live at your parents, and meet the requirements for home travel frequency, there are some requirements about how you live at home.
Single persons are deemed to be resident where they have “independent housing”.
To be classified as “independent housing” the residence must:
- be at your disposal for at least 12 months
- be at least 30 square meters
- have running water and drains
If you have “independent housing” in Norway, you will be regarded as a resident in Norway, and you will not be entitled to deductions for visits to your home country. It is important to review the status of the two houses, to consider if the conditions are fulfilled.
When you spend most nights in your commuter home, you are not entitled to a deduction for commuting, however it is possible to be considered as a commuter under the “rule of comparison”. To be considered after this rule, you will need to comply for some additional conditions.
- You had lived in your home in your home municipality for at least three years before you began commuting.
- Your home in your home municipality is at least twice as big as the commuter home.
- You rent or own your home yourself.
Single commuters with a home within the EEA area, are required to travel home at least 4 times a year. If your home is in Sweden, Denmark or Finland, you must have 8 home visits.
Single commuters with a home outside the EEA area, must, on average travel home at last every three weeks.
Exemptions for less frequent travels, home may occur if certain conditions are fulfilled.
How and when to claim commuter deductions
The commuter costs can be claimed on the personal tax return for the taxpayer. This is due 30 April the year following the income year.
The costs must be split into daily allowance, accommodation, and travel expenses.
It is not necessary to forward documentation for this, but you must be able to present documentation if the tax office asks for it.
Commuter rules regarding expenses for board (food)
If your commuter accommodation has cooking facilities, you get no deductions for food expenses
From the income year 2018 and onwards, commuters who live in commuter accommodation with cooking facilities can no longer claim deductions for food expenses of any sort.
You can only deduct extra expenses for board for up to 24 months
If you change the municipality for both your workplace and your commuter residence, the deduction can be claimed for a new 24-month period.
- The rates for additional expenses for food (board) depend on your type of accommodation (2024):
- Hotel with breakfast: Tax free amount of NOK 526 per day
- Hotel without breakfast: Tax free amount of NOK 658 per day
- Daily subsistence allowance; overnight accommodation without cooking facilities NOK 400
- Daily subsistence allowance; other accommodation with cooking (business trips) NOK 102
- If you apply for the PAYE tax scheme you are not entitled to deduct commuting expenses for board and lodging. In addition, if your employer covers expenses on your behalf related to commuting, these amounts will be taxable when on the PAYE scheme.
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This article was first published 29 March 2018. Latest update: February 2022.