Norway Import Duty Changes for 2020

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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?

About 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 professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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23 thoughts on “Norway Import Duty Changes for 2020”

  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,

    • 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”.

    • 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?

    • Dicrimination is at highest but we norwegians thinks there isnt. I do agree with 2 points. Bad human rights and discrimination.other than these 2 Norway is pretty good

  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. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

      • Unfortunately at the moment, at least from amazon.de, the answer is YES. And unfortunately since there and on other European online stores, standard European VAT is already included in the prices and they don’t deduct it when shipping to Norway, it means we are paying VAT twice. Once to the EU and once to Norway. You’d think there’d be something illegal there, but if so, neither of the tax collecting parties care or are motivated to fix it.

  8. Norway’s Customs reminds .me of what Trump is doing in the states! Stealing g from the poor and giving to the rich! Unless, your rich you don’t stand a chance to grow a business! Online choices as far as Norway is severely limited and nothing special!

  9. I am feeling the burn from this new change, no more cheap goods from aboard … have to pay extra dollars on items that used to be cheap ….hmmm……….

  10. Still trying to find out if this also applies to gifts sent from UK or elsewhere. Customs site is a minefield and doesn’t clarify this. Used to be you could receive gifts up to the value of £100 without having to pay customs handling tax or extra VAT. Now totally unclear if you can still do so.

  11. I live in Britain and I’d like to send my Norwegian daughter in law some chocolates. Can anyone tell me how I can do that without making her pay tax on them? Is there a shop in Oslo I can phone? Is that the best way? The current tax system is quite cruel to British relatives of people in Norway, especially those who like me are shielding and can’t post presents, only order online. My son in Oslo went years without telling me that all the presents I sent him from online stores were costing him every time.

  12. As with any foriegner who lives in Norway and pays income taxes in Norway must unfairly pay this incredible import taxes on gifts from family outside of Norway, I know they say that gifts are supposed to be exempt from this tax, but I have had gifts of less than 500kr taxed multiple times. Imagine paying 249kr tax for a gift of 420kr. The website didn’t have the proper forms to request a refund. When I called the Norwegian customs office, they said they can not do refunds if the tax had been applied. In effect this tax is penalizing immigrants and foriegn workers who have family outside of Norway. My realiatives who used to always send my young children gifts are now having second thoughts. They have starting to send money instead which I aim to spend outside the country in principle. If the government is trying to add a tax on foriegn people they have achieved it with this backwards tax. How about the government focus on making Norwegian online business more competative in the real world so they don’t lose out on selling products in a competative world.


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