In a complaint against the tax authorities, there have been disagreements regarding the significance of a statement from the Ministry of Finance from 1971 regarding foreign ownership in VAT group registrations. The tax authorities has claimed that control considerations imply that the statement has the same relevance today, despite the technological development in the last 45 years. Thus, we are happy that the Directorate of Taxes finally has realized that information regarding company structures is more available today than in 1971, and has decided to allow VAT groups where there is more than one foreign owner in the structure.
As a general rule, each company in a group shall be registered as single taxable persons in the VAT register. However, there is possible for collaborating companies to register several companies as a VAT group. At least 85 per cent of the capital in each company has to be owned by one or more of the collaborating companies.
A VAT group registration could be beneficial for groups where the administrative services are placed in one of the companies in the group, as transactions within a VAT group are not subject to VAT.
Only Norwegian entities can register as a VAT group. The core question in the case was whether the ownership condition is met when entities in the VAT group is owned by foreign companies.
The development since 1971
The tax authorities stated that the ownership condition was not met, as the connection between the companies went through two wholly owned foreign companies (common great-grandmother). Both the tax authorities and the Directorate of Taxes were of the opinion that current practice was limited to structures with one foreign company. Despite of this statement, we have experienced that similar structures has been accepted.
The arguments for the limitation in ownership was control considerations, meaning the Norwegian authorities’ possibilities for controlling the ownership. As part of the complaint, we tried to convince the tax authorities that this consideration is not as relevant today as it were in 1971. In our opinion, the technological development the last 45 years has made information regarding company structures a lot more available.
The Directorate of Taxes has finally realized this technological development, and has decided that the current practice should be changed.
We are happy that the tax authorities finally woke up from their technological doze – and changed a practice that is based on outdated considerations. This is good news for all our clients with international company groups!
This blog post is written by Kristine Baltzersen.
Jeg heter Marit Barth, og er partner/advokat i Advokatfirmaet PwC. Jeg har jobbet med mva for næringsdrivende og selskaper siden 2003 og har lyst til å blogge om mine erfaringer på dette området. Mitt mål er å gi deg informasjon, analyser og nyheter på en annen måte enn det du får gjennom nyhetsbrev og annen faginformasjon. Jeg håper også at jeg noen ganger klarer å inspirere deg, utfordre deg og kanskje provosere deg litt. Hvis du har synspunkter, innspill, kommentarer eller spørsmål til noe du leser eller ser her på bloggen blir jeg glad for å høre fra deg.
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My name is Marit Barth and I am a lawyer and partner in PwC Tax & Legal Services. I have been working with VAT since 2003, and I would like to blog about my experiences in this area. My goal is to give you information, analyses and news in a different way than you get through newsletters. I also hope that I sometimes manage to inspire you. If you have input, comments or questions to something you read, I will be happy to hear from you.
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