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Norway Import Duty Changes for 2020

Online shopping

If you regularly order goods from online stores outside Norway, you'll soon be paying more for the privilege. Read on to discover the changes.

You don't need to be living in Norway for long to discover the problems when buying things from abroad.

The first time you order an item worth more than NOK 350, the big bill you receive will make you think twice about doing it again.

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The current process for importing goods

When a consumer orders goods above that limit, Norwegian authorities charge the “missing” MVA (Norway's 25% VAT or sales tax) along with a significant customs duty. Depending on the product, there could be further duties too.

What's worse is that you have to go to the post office (or wherever the goods are collected from) to pay the fees in person before you receive the goods.

Norwegians are paid in the Krone.

The reason for the tax – and the problem with it

The theory is that the Norwegian government wants to promote the use of Norwegian-owned online stores. That's all well and good, but there's a problem. There aren't that many Norwegian online stores, and the selection of products is severely limited.

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If you want to buy the replica shirt of an obscure sports team from the USA that costs $100, you have no choice but to use a foreign online store. That means you'll end up paying more like $150 when the final bill comes.

There's no way to buy that product from within Norway, so the process is nothing more than an additional tax collector for the state.

However, things are about to change.

The new tax process for importing goods to Norway

As of 1 January, 2020, the limit goes away. These charges have to be paid from the first kroner if you buy a product from a foreign online store.

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The new process will be introduced in stages. Charges will be applied to food and drink and some other goods from 1 January. Charges on other goods, including clothing and electronics will come from 1 April, 2020.

However, the burden of responsibility for paying the charges shifts from consumer to online store. At least, that's the theory.

The new Norwegian thousand krone note

A “simplified” system is promised

According to the government press release, the online store will now be responsible for collecting MVA (VAT) on goods with a value of up to NOK 3,000.

The store will collect the tax from the consumer just as a Norwegian store does. Goods worth more than NOK 3,000 will still be processed as they have been previously.

This means that goods worth less than NOK 3,000 will arrive as normal with no need to pay additional fees. “The scheme facilitates efficient importation of low-cost goods for the consumer,” says the government.

Of course, how Norway intends to make sure online stores from all around the world actually do this is another matter entirely. According to the government, foreign online stores can choose a “simplified” scheme to calculate, report and pay the tax.

It's not clear how goods from online stores that haven't registered for the system will be handled. Presumably the old system will still apply.

What do you think of the new system?

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

13 Comments

  1. Norway needs a liberal change .
    It’s to expensive and life is hard.

    The death of stores to push costs down , must happen .

    Let Norwegians be free to shop where we want to whiteout all the taxes.

    Norway needs a brand new party to take the reigns in politics ,and make Norway a republic.

  2. Life is too hard in Norway and top of that these rules make it more tough for the people living in Norway. It feels like we Are in Norway just to pay taxes. Feeling hopeless

  3. Biggest jail in the world, human rights are very poor,
    More No, then Yes, for peaple,
    Soviet Union sistem
    For work, yes good place,
    Not for living, discrimination, bed weather,
    I’m in Norway 8 years,

    1. How can Norway be a jail, when you are free to leave? ☺. With you remaining there is neither good for you, the Norwegians nor their “Sistem”.

    2. That’s unfair and ungrateful to judge Norway that way. We are all have free speech, peaceful livelihood, better governance than other countries, good welfare services, and so on … and I live here for over 34 years and I am happy and thankful and we have freedom to go anywhere we want aren’t we?

  4. The Norwegian government will tax you on anything. Just read, here the petrol is 3rd most expensive in the world, oil producing country. eh.some bad joke.
    Norway comes top in terms of indirect taxation. Sin to work hard and be rich here.

  5. Another example of the Nanny State monopolized society we live in.
    They can’t help themselves.
    Norwegians will accept it as they always do , no revolt, no demonstration, just ” sånn er det bare “

  6. As if it wasn’t expensive enough! Now there is no limit. It’s one thing I really miss moving from the UK, having the likes of amazon to order anything you want and get it so quickly. The choice online in Norway is appalling for such a developed country. This doesn’t help things.

  7. Slight correction needed. All imports product categories are (not) treated the same. 350 kroner rule still in play and it includes the price of item plus freight and insurance. Let say you buy a special limited vinyl double LP: £25 plus £ 5,00 shipping – non insured. That works out to:
    Kr 347.132… The tariff code for records 85.23.8000 is duty free. 350 kroner rule.

    Ref: https://lovdata.no/dokument/SF/forskrift/2008-12-17-1502/KAPITTEL_5-9#%A75-9-1

    Goods that always had “særavgift” aka “extra tax,” these start from the first kroner. Some items have miljø / environment tax etc – plastic bottles. (Example: goods containing high sugar chocolate, cola, alcohol, tobacco). Everything always starts from the first kroner (customs valuation). Keep in mind that certain items might have import duties, restrictions, extra tax and/or særavgift.

    Reference: https://www.toll.no/no/netthandel/350kroner/

    Check with a customs broker or toll.no if in doubt.

  8. Given ridiculous mark up prices in Norway it’s going to continue to be cheaper to buy abroad from online retailers. The ‘handling fee’ charged where goods are valued above the limit does not conform to EU regulations, which Norway are obliged to adopt, due to its EEA membership. Another case showing Norway doesn’t understand EU law and just make up their own rules, ripping off the consumer to prop up a failing postal service, which is being streamlined to provide even worse service. The Norwegian government demand the taxes (like Scrooges) on cheaper imports but lack the resources to collect them efficiently. Too tight to invest in Norway, basically.

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