EXPLAINED: Norway’s plans for a tourist tax 

Norway’s government is looking at options to introduce a tax on tourists and tourism-related activities. Here is what we know so far. 

Pictured is a cruise in Norway.
A tourist tax could be introduced in Norway from 2024. Pictured is a cruise in Norway.Photo by Gautam Arora on Unsplash

Around 10 million tourists flock to Norway annually, drawn in by its majestic fjords, world-famous hikes, rugged wilderness and bucket-list activities such as Northern Lights tours. 

Many travellers already remark that the country is incredibly expensive. However, the cost of being a visitor in Norway could soon increase as the government plans to introduce a new tax on tourism-related activities. 

Earlier this week, the minority government consisting of the Labour Party and Centre Party, agreed on a budget for 2023 with the Socialist Left Party. 

Norwegian newswire NTB reports that as part of the agreement, the government would propose introducing a tax on tourism in 2024. The policies will be included in the budget for 2024, which will be presented next autumn. 

A potential tourist tax is still in its early stages, though, with the policy yet to be fully formulated. Still, Norway’s Ministry of Finance has begun exploring options regarding a tourist tax. 

“We have to investigate this and see how such a tax can be designed, both practically and legally. But the idea is that the local communities should be able to be left with more,” Lars Vangen, state secretary in the finance ministry, told NTB. 

The tax could come in the form of tourists paying additional tax on hotels, souvenirs and tourism activities. 

Proposals to pass some of the maintenance and cleaning costs on to tourists have appeared several times in recent years, most recently in the political agreement on which the current government was formed in October last year.

One of the reasons for a tourist tax is that many hotspots are located in small local authorities, where municipalities spend huge amounts each year on the upkeep of attractions, maintenance of key hiking trails and dealing with the pollution and litter caused by visitors.

Earlier this year, the Norwegian region Lofoten, known for its spectacular fjord and mountain scenery, said it would be willing to test-pilot a tourism tax scheme

The Norwegian Hospitality Association (NHO Reiseliv), an employer organisation for the sector, has previously been critical of potential tourist taxes, arguing it would make Norway a less desirable destination. 

READ ALSO: Best things to do in Norway in the winter

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The key Norwegian vocab you need to understand your tax return

Tax return season in Norway is upon us, and most people will get their tax return notice by the beginning of April. Make sure your tax-related vocabulary is up to date with our guide to key terms and expressions.

The key Norwegian vocab you need to understand your tax return

People working in Norway usually get their tax return notices (Norwegian: skattemelding) between March 14th and April 1st.

Although the process is usually quite straightforward (you can find our guide on the key things you should do after getting your tax return notice here), the technical vocabulary can initially seem a bit frightening.

No need to worry – in this article, we’ll help you get a better grasp of all the key terms you’re likely to encounter while going through the pre-filled form and making sure that all the information in it is up to date.

READ ALSO: Five things to do once you get your tax return notice in Norway

Getting a tax refund (få tilbake på skatten) or paying additional tax (å betale restskatt)?

One of the first things that most people check when they get their tax return notice (Norwegian: skattemelding) is whether they will get a tax refund (Norwegian: få tilbake på skatten) or if they will have to pay additional taxes (Norwegian: å betale restskatt).

A key item that you should also look for is the item related to your earnings (Norwegian: inntekten) in the previous year, as a lot of people have their earnings change at several points in time in a year, and the Tax Administration (Norwegian: Skatteetaten) doesn’t always have access to all the figures.

It’s your responsibility (Norwegian: ansvar) as a taxpayer (Norwegian: skattebetaler) in Norway to ensure that the information in the tax return is correct.

Double-checking the deductions (fradrag)

A lot of taxpayers also prioritise checking whether they can add any tax deductions (Norwegian: fradrag) to their tax returns.

As the rules related to travel deductions (Norwegian: reisefradrag) in Norway have changed this year, pay special attention to whether you can claim travel expenses (Norwegian: reiseutgifter) in your tax return.

Additionally, make sure to check whether you’ve included everything you can for parental deductions (Norwegian: foreldrefradrag) if you have children.

Submitting the tax return within the set deadline (fristen for innlevering)

The deadline for submitting your tax return (Norwegian: fristen for innlevering) is April 30th, so you’ll need to finalise your form by then.

If, however, you fall into the category of taxpayers who need to pay additional tax for 2022, remember to do so by May 31st.

If you don’t pay the tax by the deadline, you’ll have to pay interest on the taxes (Norwegian: betale renter på skatten) owed to the Norwegian state.