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Norway’s New TV Tax

Child watching Norwegian TV

As part of a new media strategy, the Norwegian government announces a change in the funding model for state broadcaster NRK.

The Norwegian TV license that funds state broadcaster NRK is to be scrapped. Instead, Norwegian residents will fund NRK by paying an additional income tax through their annual tax return.

Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK), known in English as the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, is Norway's government-owned radio and television public broadcasting company, and the largest media organisation in Norway. NRK operates three national TV channels, multiple digital radio stations, and a substantial online operation.

Read more: Norway's slow TV phenomenon goes global

Individuals pay less, households pay more

The current license costs around NOK 3,000 per household, but the new tax will be individual and income-based. Those who earn little will pay little, with a maximum individual contribution of NOK 1,700.

“We are very pleased that after 6-7 years of work, we finally have a new financing model. This is important for NRK. The new model provides better predictability. But I would warn against underestimating taking a public broadcaster into the state budget,” says Thor Gjermund Eriksen, NRK's Director General.

NRK Norway website

How much ‘TV tax' will I pay?

The plan is to introduce the new funding model from 1 January, 2020. An individual's tax will be calculated on the basis of their personal income, as follows:

  • Annual income up to 150,000kr = NRK tax of 100kr
  • Annual income 150,000 – 200,000 = NRK tax of 900
  • Annual income of 200,000 – 250,000 = NRK tax of 1,400
  • Annual income of 250,000 – 350,000 = NRK tax of 1,600
  • Annual income above 350,000 = NRK tax of 1,700

Siv Jensen, Minister of Finance and Leader of the Progress Party, told NRK that some of the reasons for the changes are the high cost of administering the licensing scheme. “The result is a fairer arrangement where single and low-income people pay much less. The change will simplify and reduce the collection costs.”

Expanded requirements for NRK

The new funding model comes with new requirements for the broadcaster. Going forward, NRK's journalism should cover themes and geographical areas that are currently “in the shadows” of the media.

A woman watching football on TV in Norway

“Without NRK, there would not be so much Sami, children's or cultural content. But I think there is a concern from the Government, which I share, that not all areas have coverage, for example, what is happening with the new regions,” says Eriksen.

The new requirements will mean NRK must cover the whole country to a greater extent than today. The organisation currently operates 15 regional offices.

Strengthening media diversity

The new funding model was announced as part of the new Media Report. Trine Skei Grande, Minister of Culture and leader of Norway's Liberal party Venstre, presented the report at the national assembly of the National Association of Local Newspapers in Drammen.

Grande also announced a change in financial support for the industry. Support for local newspapers will increased, while the ten organisations who currently receive the most support will get less.

A Media Support Council will be established to manage grant schemes for the media, in the same way that the Arts Council manages arts and culture grants.

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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.

2 Comments

  1. This was long overdue, reducing The horrible t.v. ownership tax
    Now The Poorer , at least from The start of The new Law, will Pay a
    reasonable tax.. I Have an antiquated, broken t.v. Set out in My woodshed
    and still paid Thousand in t.v. tax. In America there is no tax, all is paid
    by The sponsers of The commercial advertizments. And Norway has
    plenty of that, in theory commercials

  2. Is the new tax based on salary, only? And then, multiplied by the numbers of TVs in the house? Or will it be one house, one tax, regardless of the number of TVs?

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