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Air passenger tax – Do the authorities have control?

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The Air passenger tax was implemented with effect from 1 June this year. After three months, only 23 airlines have registered for the tax. The Tax authorities are now sending letters to companies they believe should be registered as liable. These companies should therefore act quickly to avoid getting too long behind with payments.

We have also previously blogged about the Air passenger tax. We expressed some scepticism when the tax was implemented with a short notice. The Minister of Finance states to VG Nett Saturday 17 September that the payment of the tax is as expected.

However, VG informs that only half of the airlines that are obliged to register and pay the tax have actually fulfilled their obligations. So far 23 airlines have registered, and the Tax authorities are now sending a letter to 21 companies that they believe should also be registered.

Will this be sorted out in a good way?

Because the tax is new, some uncertainty about registration and payment of the tax should be expected, the Minister of Finance states to VG. She assumes that this will be sorted out – probably in the eyes of the Government. Based on this statement, it is perhaps not surprising that only 23 airlines so far have registered and pay the tax. The Minister probably has not considered that the companies that are not registered do not have much knowledge about the tax, or that they suddenly will have to pay the tax for several months, with a very uncertain possibility to reclaim it from their passengers.

The letter from the Tax authorities should of course have been sent before the tax came into force. But since the Ministry of Finance made the decision on May 13 that the Air passenger tax should be implemented from 1 June, there was maybe not time enough to send such a letter?

Foreign companies must be registered through a representative

Several of the airlines which are or should have been registered for the Air passenger tax are not established in Norway. These airlines cannot be registered for the new Tax themselves. The authorities have decided that only Norwegian established companies can be subject to this Tax. Therefore, foreign companies need a Norwegian representative. However, I think no one in the Government have thought about who this representative should be, and whether this is a service Norwegian companies want to offer, when this entails that the representative is liable for the Tax.

For airlines that still not are registered, we recommend to act quickly to avoid further loss. Internal routines and systems for collecting and reporting the tax must be established, and a representative should be appointed as soon as possible.

Kjetil Øpstad

Kjetil Øpstad

Jeg heter Kjetil Øpstad og jeg jobber som tollrådgiver i Advokatfirmaet PwC. Jeg har arbeidet i PwC siden 2014, og til daglig jobber jeg med rådgivning om særavgifter, toll og innførselsmerverdiavgift.

Med 18 års erfaring fra Tollvesenet, hvor jeg har jobbet som spesialrevisor både i lokalforvaltningen og i Toll- og avgiftsdirektoratet, har jeg bred og variert erfaring med særavgifter, toll og innførselsmerverdiavgift. Dette kan være et komplekst område, men med min bakgrunn fra både den praktiske siden i en tollregion og på et mer strategisk nivå i direktoratet har jeg god erfaring å spille på. Jeg bistår derfor gjerne med generell rådgivning, utforming av søknader eller klager på vedtak, i forbindelse med bokettersyn med videre.

My name is Kjetil Øpstad and I work as a Customs advisor at PwC Tax and Legal Services. I have worked for the Customs authorities for 18 years, and as an educated Customs officer and Customs auditor, I work mainly with issues related to import/export of goods, customs/excise duties and import-VAT. I have been associated with the VAT, Customs and World Trade department of the Law firm since 2014, and assist clients with advice and compliance with obligations and regulations related to import/export of goods and excise duties. If any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.

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