As with many countries, Norway’s Tax Administration offers a tax deduction for charitable donations. Here’s how the system works.
Do you give donations to charities or voluntary organisations? If so, you can get a saving on your annual tax bill. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to make a donation just to get a tax saving, but it pays to make sure you’re getting what you’re entitled to.
The general rule is that if you have given a monetary donation of at least NOK 500 to a registered charity, voluntary organisation or religious/belief-based community, you can get a tax deduction on your personal income tax.
Of course, as with all things tax-related, there are many rules and regulations surrounding this program. So, let’s dive into the detail.
Rules for tax deductions on donations
There are some rules as to what type of donation entitles you to a tax deduction. Essentially, your monetary donation must be at least NOK 500 and the organisation must be approved by the Tax Administration.
Norway’s approved list of organisations for tax deductions is vast. You’ll find the vast majority of charities, voluntary organisations and religious/faith-based organisations there.
If you have given a joint donation, the organisation will report this to the Tax Administration. If you want to change the proportion given to each person, you must contact the organisation to make that change.
Maximum tax deduction
Of course, you can’t get unlimited tax deductions for donations. For many years there was a personal annual limit of NOK 50,000. However, for the 2022 income tax year, that amount has been reduced to NOK 25,000.
Read more: Norwegian Tax for Beginners
You can make as many donations through the year as you like, of course! But only NOK 25,000 will be available to you as a tax deduction.
Donations to international organisations
The easiest way to donate to charities that work abroad is to find their Norwegian branch. For example, the likes of Greenpeace, the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and so on all have Norwegian branches.
You can also receive a deduction when donating to foreign organisations, but there are many more conditions. Firstly they must be based within the EU/EEA. Secondly, they must have been pre-approved by the Tax Administration.
Unlike donations to Norwegian organisations, you will have to apply for the deduction manually in your tax return.
Donations from companies and organisations
A different set of rules apply to corporate giving. That’s outside the scope of this article, but you can find out more details on the Tax Administration website, or from your company accountant.
How do I claim the tax deduction?
The good news is that in most cases, your donation is recorded by the charity and sent to the Tax Administration automatically. This means you don’t need to do anything, aside from checking the deduction appears on your tax return.
Read more: Volunteering in Norway
A charity or voluntary organisation can only automatically process this donation for tax purposes if you have given your national ID number. Generally, organisations ask for this at the time of donation, specifically for this purpose.
Sometimes a donation won’t appear automatically on your tax return. This is always the case when you have not given your national ID number at the time of the donation, or when making a donation to an international organisation.
If you made a donation to a Norwegian organisation without giving your national ID number, you must contact the organisation. They will update their records and notify the Tax Administration.
To add an international donation to your tax return, you must be able to document it with a receipt. The receipt must state the donor's name, address, Norwegian national ID number/D number and the amount donated in Norwegian kroner.
What a tax deduction actually means
Finally, I feel it’s necessary to explain the terminology here. I’ve received a few messages over the years asking why someone’s tax bill wasn’t reduced by the amount of the deduction. That’s not how it works.
A tax deduction means an amount taken off your taxable income, before tax is calculated. It is essentially the same as a business expense.
So, if your taxable income is NOK 500,000 and you give the maximum deduction of NOK 25,000 in one year, you will be taxed on a total taxable income of NOK 475,000 and not NOK 500,000. I hope that’s clear!