Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU), but it is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). This means that transactions of goods across Norwegian borders and to or from the EU will be regarded as import or export supplies. This, in turn, creates a few challenges you should observe before entering into an agreement with a company established in Norway.
Foreign multinationals that wish to expand their activities to Norway must consider which kind of legal entity and corporate structure they should use. The choice may have impact on the success in doing business in Norway as well as a multitude of legal and compliance implications.
Non-Norwegian enterprises doing business in Norway will find that the basic Norwegian compliance obligations are rather burdensome. Failure to comply commonly may results in severe sanctions. As always, it is better to do the right things from the beginning than to tidy up afterwards.
Foreign enterprises that direct their business towards the Norwegian market will at some point face Norwegian VAT regulations and must know how to act. Learning the basics of Norwegian VAT regulations enables you to get the VAT deductions you are entitled to and can also help you to avoid expensive mistakes.
Enterprises doing business in Norway are not entitled to deduct input VAT for their acquisitions until the enterprise is formally registered for VAT. An ordinary registration can, as a main rule, only take place after a Norwegian turnover is documented. In the stage of starting up the Norwegian division, this delay can be both unpractical and offer a significant liquidity disadvantage.
Anyone that conduct business activities in Norway is liable to register the company with the Norwegian authorities. This also applies even though the activities are not performed by the company itself, i.e. if the entire assignment is contracted out to subcontracts.
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.
It is often difficult to establish whether a foreign company must register for VAT in Norway. Does your company have a sufficiantly strong connection to Norway to trigger registration obligations?
VAT must be paid on purchase of services from abroad If the services are VAT liable in Norway.