Norwegian Tax for Beginners

Norwegian money

Start here: A beginner's guide to Norwegian tax for expats.

There is a common belief that tax in Norway is sky high and you will turn over up to half of your income to the Government. Unless you are extraordinarily wealthy, that is unlikely to be the case.

Where tax revenue is spent

First things first. Although tax rates may be higher than you are used to (although this is by no means certain), there is a very good reason for it.

Money in Norway

Tax revenues for the government fund the extensive public sector, which pays for an incredible range of services. Norway has a public health system with a universal access policy.

Residents have the right to a proper education and help in other areas. Taxes are also spent in areas such as healthcare, education, transport and communications.

In addition to funding the public sector, the Norwegian tax system is purposely designed to help create a more equal society, in which the poor pay less and the wealthy contribute more.

Tax residency

If you are tax resident in Norway, you are taxed on your worldwide income in Norway. If you also earn money overseas, a double-tax treaty will likely ensure that any amount already taxed abroad will not be taxed again in Norway.

Immigration rest of world

In simple terms, you are considered tax resident if you spend more than six months of the year in Norway.

This is a very complex area of tax law, so if you have a complicated setup (e.g. you own property abroad, your family remains in your home country, you commute over borders, etc) then consult a tax expert.

We are not tax experts, so we cannot provide personalised advice.

Your own tax burden depends on so many things that it is impossible to generalise on these pages. However, we aim to give you a good starting point to help you determine your likely tax liability.

Income Tax in Norway

Income tax is charged on a progressive scale, meaning the more you earn, the more you pay as a percentage of your income. In 2016, most wage-earners will pay 25% tax on the majority of their income.

For ordinary employees, income tax is deducted from your salary before you receive it. The deduction is applied based on your expected salary.

Norwegian kroner coins

At the end of the year, you will receive a tax return and in many cases, you won't owe any more taxes. Things get complicated if you claim additional deductions, have underpaid or overpaid text, or are self-employed.

National Insurance (social security)

When you work and pay tax in Norway, you become a member of the national insurance scheme. You do not become a member if you work temporarily for your foreign employer in Norway.

Membership in Norway's national insurance scheme gives you certain healthcare and welfare benefits, such as unemployment benefits.

A deduction of 8.2% is made for national insurance membership and this amount is taken together with the income tax, meaning an overall deduction of between 30-35% is common for most full-time employees.

The Tax Return

Tax is taxing enough in your home country, but ensuring you’re getting everything right in a foreign country in a foreign language can be a daunting prospect.

Even if your level of Norwegian is advanced, it can still be extremely difficult to grasp the tax concepts in Norway.

If you're a foreigner working here, check out our top tips for the tax return.

Norway Weekly Email Newsletter

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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. I just received a job offer in Oslo, considering that companies must pay a minimum salary of NOK 412,600 if you have a Masters and NOK 382,900 if you have a Bachelors degree, is a base annual salary of NOK 900,000 good to move in with wife and 2 kids? Wife wont be able to work.

    1. Hi Armando, I can’t give you a good answer I’m afraid as it depends entirely on where you want to live, what kind of accommodation you want, and your own personal spending habits. Some families manage on a lot less, others need more – it really does depend on your own personal circumstances.

    2. A bit late to answer, but here goes : If you want a roomy apartment or a house, 900k single income family could be a challenge in Oslo itself (unless you got a big savings account to help you get a good loan in a bank). If you are willing to commute, or can settle for a small apartment, you should be fine.

      And as David already made a point of, it depends a lot on your spending habits. You will find that habits which aren’t considered expensive in the US might be in Norway (for example : eating at a restaurant most nights.). Although, at 900k a year, you should be able to afford expensive habits, unless you sink all of it into an expensive living unit.

  2. Hi,
    I’m am American, living in the US and in a process of opening a business in Norway, I will not be residing in Norway but I will be the owner. What will be my taxes on profits made in Norway? Thank you

    1. I’m not an expert and you should speak to an accountant about this. But from what I understand from your question, the business will pay business taxes just like any other business in Norway. Your personal tax liability depends on if and how you take money out of the business. If you’re setting up a business in Norway then I assume you already have an accountant engaged, so they will be able to provide a proper answer. If not, then you can obtain quotes from an accountant using this service.

  3. Haha . Me and my wife and a 2 year old kid have in total 400 k and we do live in oslo center . We able to have ok lifes .

  4. hi, i came here in Norway in last summer(August 2017) with a study permit. I am allowed to work part-time besides my study and i am doing soo.
    currently, i am paying zero tax with a ‘free card. but, soon i have to pay around 25% tax with a TAX exemption card.

    I just came to know that there is an option of paying 10% tax for the first two years in Norway.
    does that apply to me?

    thanks in advance.

  5. My dad, a Norwegian citizen who has lived in the US for 60 years, sold his parents’ (both deceased) home in Norway. We never received a bill to pay taxes on income from the sale. The money is sitting in an account in Norway. We aren’t sure what to do – who to pay, if we can take money out of the account, etc. Does anyone have a resource we could use to find out what we need to do? Thank you!

  6. Hi everybody,
    I’m going to start a postdoc position in Norway with salary of about 515000. I would like to know if postdocs in Norway need to pay tax? If yes, how much is the tax rate for such an income.
    Thanks in advance and best regards.

  7. Hi, I’ve been offered a remote position for a small US-based non-profit. I live in Norway with my Norwegian spouse. The organization doesn’t want to establish themselves as a tax entity in Norway since I’ll be the only employee. What are my other options for complying with tax law while accepting the position?

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