The Revised National Budget was presented today at 1045 am, and provides few surprises.
Below you will find a summary of some of the proposed changes.
Simplified calculation of interest on withholding tax refunds
Under the current rules, refunds of withholding tax are granted interest calculated from the date the withholding of tax was made. The calculation is done per taxpayer and is resource intensive overall. The proposed rule is to always calculate interest from July 1st in the year the withholding was made, relatively speaking benefiting withholding made late in the year. The change is intended to take effect from 1st July 2019.
VAT zero rating on supplies of electronic publications and books
In the National Budget for 2019, the Government (Stortinget) proposed to introduce VAT zero rating for electronic publications and books.
One major objection during the public hearing concerned the fact that the zero rating was proposed to only apply on document files with text and freezed photos. Thus, the Government now propose that the zero rating also will include electronic publications and books that have elements of sound, moving pictures and other functionality. The condition will therefore be reformulated so that the VAT zero rating will comprise electronic books and publications that mainly contain text and images.
Further, it is proposed to remove the condition that there must be a printed version of the electronic publication. Particularly from an environmental perspective, we find it positive that it will not be necessary to print the publications in order to obtain zero rating for the electronic version.
In regards to e-books, the VAT zero rating will include streaming and downloading of audiobooks.
Subscriptions containing both VAT liable and VAT zero rated elements
In the National budget for 2019, there was also proposed that one VAT liable element in a package containing both VAT liable and VAT zero rated elements, would entail that the whole subscription was considered VAT liable. Based on the input received in the public hearing, the Government has concluded to not pursue this proposal any further.
The VAT zero rating is planned to take effect from 1 July 2019.
The Government wants to reduce excise duties concerning alcohol for small breweries.
The tax relief for small breweries continue. The Government keeps working on decentralizing the production of alcoholic products and keep working on lower the constraints set for small breweries. Small breweries are breweries with annual production below 500,000 litres.
The Government has in the revised budget proposed to extend the current tax relief that only covers beer to also comprise similar alcoholic beverages such as cider and mead with an alcohol content between 3.7 and 4.7.
Increased electricity tax for cryptocurrency mining may be delayed
In the 2019 national budget it was announced that cryptocurrency mining would no longer be eligible for the reduced electricity tax rates provided to industry. It was envisioned the change should take effect from 1. March 2019. The Department of Finance has needed some additional time to consider the amendment, and approval from the EFTA surveillance authority (ESA) is still outstanding.
This blog post is written by Michael Anderson and Jennifer Wong.
My name is Jennifer Wong and I work as an associate lawyer at PwC Tax and Legal Services. I assist clients with VAT advice on Norwegian and international queries, as well as indirect tax analysis, cross-border planning, merger and acquisition and efficiency improvement from a vat compliance perspective. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.