By Terri Mapes. Scandinavia Travel Expert
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
Before visiting Norway. it is important to learn about the VAT system, and what it means for you as a consumer. If you live outside the country, you may be eligible for a refund on your purchases. Below are some key facts about VAT in Norway.
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The VAT represents the value added to an item at each stage of its manufacturing and distribution. VAT in Norway is included in the final purchase price and not broken out separately on the receipt.
How Much Is VAT in Norway?
The standard rate of VAT in Norway is currently 25% on most goods and services. There are reduced rates of 15% on food items, and 8% on hotels, transportation, and tickets to cinemas, museums, and sporting events.
How Do I Know How Much VAT I've Paid?
Because VAT in Norway is included in the final purchase price, figuring out the amount you've paid in value added tax requires some basic math.
To determine the amount of VAT you've paid, use this formula:
( 100 / (100 + [VAT Rate] ) * [purchase price] = price before VAT
For example, if you purchased a jacket that was 600 NOK (about $97.62 US) at the standard VAT rate of 25%, your calculation would look like this:
( 100/ (100 + 25) ) * 600 = 480
Then just subtract the 480 from the original price of 600 to determine the VAT. In this case, the value added tax was 120 NOK.
What Goods Are Subject to VAT in Norway?
Most goods and services are subject to VAT in Norway, with some exceptions.
Educational, financial, and health services are outside the scope of VAT. Books, newspapers, and other periodicals are zero rated, which means that the VAT rate is 0%.
What Are the Requirements for a VAT Refund?
Visitors to Norway may be able to have their value added tax refunded on goods they take with them upon departure. VAT can not be refunded on services or food consumed while in the country. In order to receive a refund, certain requirements must be met:
* Goods must be exported within a month of purchase in unused condition.
* Items must be exported in the traveler's personal luggage.
* Refunds are not available to residents of Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden.
* There is a minimum purchase amount of 315 NOK for general goods (VAT 25%), and 290 NOK on foods (VAT 15%).
* Fuel, vehicles, and books and postcards are not eligible for refunds.
How Do You Get a VAT Refund?
When shopping, look for stores that display a Tax Free shopping logo in their window or on their counter. Even if the store does not display the logo, you should still inquire to see if they offer VAT refunds. If they are a participating store, they will (at your request) provide you with a Tax Free form. Make sure to fill out the form entirely, as missing information could result in a denied refund request.
Upon leaving the country, visit one of the 55 refund centers, which are located at airports. road boarders, and on some cruise ships and ferries. You must have your completed Tax Free form, your unused goods, and a passport or other ID card. Once your refund request has been reviewed and deemed eligible, the staff will stamp your form, and your refund will be issued, either in cash or on your credit card.
Also make sure to get the details on Norwegian customs regulations for bringing things into Norway.