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Motor vehicles:

Duty-Free Import and Use in Norway of Motor Vehicles

Updated: 1/29/2010 | Valid: from 3/15/2010
Orientation on Duty-Free Import and Use in Norway of Motor Vehicles Registered Abroad.

 

1 Introduction

Ministry of Finance Regulation no. 381 of 20 June 1991 relating to the duty and tax-free importation and temporary use of foreign-registered motor vehicles in Norway (the Temporary-use Regulation) regulates the right to import foreign-registered vehicles duty-free and tax-free and to use them temporarily in Norway. The Temporary-use Regulation was issued pursuant to Act no. 2 of 19 June 1959 on motor vehicle and boat taxes, Act no. 119 of 21 December 2007 on customs duties and the import and export of goods and Act no. 58 of 19 June 2009 relating to value added tax.

To qualify for such importation and use it is a requirement that the person in question either resides permanently outside Norway or is staying for a clearly limited period in Norway. As a rule, the temporary stay in Norway must not last for more than one year. In certain cases, temporary use is also permitted if the person in question has permanent residence in Norway.

Motor vehicles that are imported duty and tax-free pursuant to this Regulation must only be used temporarily and must be subsequently re-exported. As a rule, the motor vehicle may not be left here in Norway during the tax-free period, but shall normally be re-exported on the user’s departure.

If a foreign-registered motor vehicle is used in violation of the regulations, value added tax and motor vehicle tax and duty must be paid. Violation of the Regulation may also result in the imposition of an additional administrative charge or prosecution.

With respect to the relationship between the Temporary-use Regulation and the EEA Agreement, policy relating to direct and indirect taxes is not part of the EEA Agreement. In principle, it is therefore up to Norway to regulate the use of foreign-registered motor vehicles here in Norway. However, the regulations in this area must be such that they do not come into conflict with the provisions of the EEA Agreement relating to the four freedoms: free movement of labour, services, goods and the freedom to establish businesses.

2 The scope and application of the Regulation – Temporary-use Regulation section 1.

The Temporary-use Regulation regulates exemption, on certain conditions, from customs duties and value added tax on importation and from motor vehicle tax for the use of foreign-registered vehicles.

A person may not import or use more than one motor vehicle. This is a clear precondition for the exemption, and the interpretation is based on the Regulation’s use of motor vehicle in the singular. The Temporary-use Regulation has a broad definition of the term motor vehicle. This means that passenger cars, vans, camper vans, motorcycles, ATVs and pertaining spare parts and equipment are included in the term motor vehicle. Trailers and caravans, alone or in combination with a vehicle, will also be covered by the term motor vehicle.

By hire vehicle, cf. the fourth paragraph, is meant a motor vehicle that, as part of a commercial business, is placed at the hirer’s disposal for a specific period of time in return for a consideration. Car hire companies, financing companies and garages that place motor vehicles at customers’ disposal in connection with repairs and other service are indicative of what is included in the term ‘commercial business’ in this context. Private hires are not covered by this provision. A private hire will, for example, be deemed to exist if a parent enters into a hire contract for his or her own vehicle with his/her son for a specific period in return for a consideration. Even if the motor vehicle is placed at the hirer’s disposal for a specified period as part of a commercial business, the motor vehicle will not be deemed to be a hire vehicle if the hire agreement includes a purchase option. The reason for this is that such agreements are by nature more hire purchase agreements than hire agreements.  Moreover, the provision applies to both short and long-term hires.

For the purpose of the Regulation, use means any form of utilisation of the motor vehicle, cf. fifth paragraph. Utilisation here means more than merely driving the vehicle, e.g. physical and actual opportunities to drive, store, display, repair, sell or attempt to sell the vehicle.

A motor vehicle that is not required to be registered pursuant to the regulations in the country of origin in question or which has not previously been customs cleared in Norway will also be deemed to be foreign-registered pursuant to the Regulation.

As regards asylum seekers, they are not deemed to be covered by the provisions during the period their application for residence in Norway is being considered. The principle is that such persons have applied for permanent residence in Norway and that they are therefore not covered by the Temporary-use Regulation.

3. The main rule – the Temporary-use Regulation section 2

As a rule, the duty and tax-free importation and temporary use of a foreign-registered motor vehicle in Norway is permitted in three types of cases:

• Persons with permanent residence outside Norway
• Persons staying temporarily in Norway, and
• In specific cases for persons with permanent residence in Norway.

The Regulation relates to the duty and indirect tax provisions and not to the provisions in other areas. It is important to be aware that this can have different practical consequences, for example in relation to taxation.

If, at the time of entering Norway or subsequently, a person establishes a permanent place of residence in Norway or if the person no longer satisfies the conditions in the Regulation, the person in question must immediately present the vehicle for customs clearance. In such cases, the temporary use must cease immediately.

Foreign-registered hire vehicles can only be hired out in Norway if this is done in connection with the re-export of a motor vehicle. It is not permitted for a foreign firm to engage in hire business in Norway.

Unless otherwise decided by the transport and communications authorities, it is not permitted to use a foreign-registered motor vehicle for commercial conveyance of persons or goods between locations in Norway. ‘Commercial conveyance’ means the conveyance of persons or goods in return for a consideration, and it must not be confused with ‘commercial use’.

4 Permanent residence outside Norway – the Temporary-use Regulation section 3

Section 3 of the Regulation stipulates when a person is deemed to be permanently resident outside Norway and thus entitled to import and use a foreign-registered vehicle, cf. section 2. Pursuant to section 3, such a person is not required to apply for a driving permit. It is sufficient that the person meets the conditions and can document this in accordance with section 8.

In order to be deemed to be a person with permanent residence abroad, all the conditions in one of the points 1 to 4 in section 3 first paragraph must be satisfied.

Section 3 first paragraph no. 1 concerns persons who do not have family, occupational and personal ties to Norway. This applies, for example, to tourists. For more information on the definition of family ties, see the next paragraph.

Section 3 first paragraph no. 2 concerns persons whose family residence is abroad and who live together with a spouse and/or children under the age of 18 years. It is therefore important in this context to consider the family ties of the person in question. By family in this Regulation is meant a spouse and/or children under the age of 18 with whom the person in question lives, i.e. the person in question must have a joint home with his/her spouse/children. The term joint home means that the person in question shares a dwelling and address with a spouse/children.

The provision primarily concerns cases where the person in question commutes (daily, weekly, monthly) between his or her family abroad and workplace in Norway. Normally, therefore, the person will have personal ties to Norway and may be registered in the Norwegian Population Register. For family ties to be deemed to exist, it is a precondition that the person visits his or her home abroad on a regular basis, normally at least once a month. By ‘regularly’ is meant that visits must be made at regular intervals and of a certain frequency. For example, at least four to five visits to the home country per year can be said to qualify as ‘regularly’. An overall assessment will be carried out of the number of home visits and their duration if they are less frequent than once a month. 

In certain cases, a person may have children but not a spouse abroad. In such cases, it is a condition that the person in question lives with his/her minor children. An obligation to pay child maintenance to children resident abroad does not in itself satisfy the requirement for family ties abroad. Neither the spouse nor the children can be registered in the Norwegian Population Register, and they must primarily live abroad. A cohabitant is not deemed to be equivalent to a spouse in this Regulation. 

The provision concerns family ties outside Norway. If the person in question has established a new home with a spouse and/or children in Norway, this will weigh heavily against the person still being deemed to have family ties abroad.

Persons with ties to their parental home or similar do not meet the condition for family ties.

Section 3 first paragraph no. 3 concerns persons who work or study abroad. The person in question must not live together with a spouse or children in Norway, and nor can he or she be registered in the Norwegian Population Register. As regards pensioners, they are deemed to have occupational ties to the country from which they receive a pension.

Section 3 first paragraph no. 4 concerns people who have occupational ties to Norway and who regularly stay overnight in a dwelling the person in question owns or rents under a whole-year lease abroad. The person must not be registered in the Norwegian Population Register, and nor may he or she have family ties to Norway.

Moreover, he or she must either commute daily or intend to stay outside Norway for more than 185 days during a 12-month period. In other words, a person in a full-time position in Norway (normally 230 working days a year) must commute daily in order to satisfy the conditions under this provision.

All activity that generates income is deemed to constitute occupational ties. This also applies to national insurance payments for subsistence purposes, for example, retirement or disability benefit or other remuneration such as an artist’s grant, severance package etc.

Occupational ties also include cases where a person is attending tuition at a school or university.

5 Temporary stays in Norway – the Temporary-use Regulation section 4

As a rule, a person is deemed to be staying temporarily in Norway if his or her stay is not planned to last for more than one year from the date of entry. The person must be able to document at all times that the stay is within a period of one year. The documentation duty arises on the entry date. In such cases, it is not necessary to apply to Norwegian Customs and Excise for a driving permit. The documentation must be satisfactory pursuant to section 8, see the comments below. Relevant documentation is such cases could, for example, be: an employment contract in Norway, documentation of the granting of leave from employment abroad, documentation of a place at an educational institution in Norway. A probationary period of employment is not deemed to be a temporary employment relationship. The documentation must be for a temporary period of less than one year. 

Pursuant to the Regulation section 4 second paragraph, it is possible to apply for  driving permit if the stay is extended by a further year and if, on entry, the stay was originally intended to only last for one year. This means that a person can actually use a foreign-registered motor vehicle in Norway for a total of two years. It is a condition for such a driving permit that an application is submitted before the end of the first year after the entry date. This will typically be the case if a person has his or her employment contract extended or chooses to study for a further year in Norway. It is a precondition for such a permit that the duration of the stay is changed during the first year and that the application is submitted within one year of the entry date, cf. the second and third paragraphs and section 2 third paragraph.

On this basis, it is now also possible in practice for a person who is aware and can document already on the entry date that the stay will last for between one and two years to apply for a driving permit for the whole of this period. In principle, such a person falls outside the rule relating to one year and an extension of up to one year. However, it is reasonable to deal with such cases identically on the basis of a wider interpretation of the Regulation section 4 and section 2 third paragraph. In such cases, it is also a condition, pursuant to the Regulation section 4 third paragraph, for a driving permit that the application is sent within a year of the entry date.

The Directorate emphasises that it will also be possible for persons other than those with a temporary employment contract here in Norway to be granted an extension. This applies, for example, to persons who can document that they will return to employment or similar abroad within two years of entering Norway. A person staying temporarily in Norway as a result of his or her spouse’s, or other family member’s, temporary stay here can be granted an extension of a driving permit if the spouse/ family member’s documentation of the duration of the stay is deemed to be satisfactory.

It is emphasised that a person cannot be deemed to be staying here temporarily if he or she has stayed here or been registered in the Norwegian Population Register for more than 365 days during the last two years prior to the entry date.

The time limits in this provision are absolute.

6 The importation and temporary use of a foreign-registered motor vehicle for persons permanently resident in Norway. Conditions – the Temporary-use Regulation section 5

Section 5 of the Regulation stipulates when a person permanently resident in Norway may import and use a foreign-registered vehicle, cf. section 2. Pursuant to section 5 with the exception of letters a), b) and h), a driving permit must be held. As set out in the provision, use pursuant to the Temporary-use Regulation may take place on the following conditions:

Letter a): When accompanied by an entitled person
By entitled person is meant a person who satisfies the conditions in the Regulation sections 3, 4 or 5 and who also holds a valid driving licence. A person with a permanent place of residence in Norway can drive a foreign-registered vehicle provided that the entitled person is in the vehicle.

Letter b): Professional vehicle transport
By professional vehicle transport in this context is meant the driving of a foreign-registered vehicle by a driver with a permanent place of residence in Norway. The driving must take place in connection with the Norwegian enterprise’s business. This could, for example, be in connection with delivery, testing, parking and shipping. Moreover, it must involve individual assignments of short duration. The person must be employed by a Norwegian enterprise, i.e. the enterprise must be registered in Norway. It is also a requirement that there must be a genuine employment relationship. The motor vehicle cannot be registered to the firm that carries out the assignment, but must be registered to the foreign client, who can be either a private individual or a firm. It is a requirement that the assignment is genuine and is not a pro forma arrangement.

Examples of such professional vehicle transport could be: unloading from/ loading onto boats and other means of transport, for example driving vehicles on board or off ships. Hotel parking, for example parking motor vehicles in a garage. Other parking activities etc.

Letter c): Hire vehicles
Persons with a permanent place of residence in Norway can import and use a foreign-registered hire vehicle here in Norway for up to 42 days during a 12-month period. The period of up to 42 days can be divided. It is a condition that Norwegian Customs and Excise is notified about the use of the motor vehicle before it is imported to Norway. The term ‘hire vehicle’ is defined in more detail in section 17.2.

An electronic notification system has been established that is available at www.toll.no. The system is based on users registering the required data in an online form before the vehicle is imported. The following are deemed to be required data: the name and personal identity number / D number of the hirer, contact information for the hirer, the vehicle’s registration number, the name of the hire company, the reference number of the hire contract and the period during which the vehicle is to be used in Norway. If the hirer does not have internet access, he or she must contact the customs service in person when crossing the border. The customs service will in such case help the hirer to fill in the form online. It is a condition for registration that the person is named as the hirer in the hire contract. If several persons are named in the hire contract and wish to use the hire vehicle in Norway, each of them must notify their use. However, other persons with a permanent place of residence in Norway may use the hire vehicle together with the entitled person if the entitled person is in the vehicle, cf. the Temporary-use Regulation section 5 letter a). The person who notifies use of the vehicle will receive a receipt confirming that the information has been sent to Norwegian Customs and Excise. Together with the hire contract, the receipt will be deemed to be documentation that permission to drive the vehicle has been granted, and it must be carried in the vehicle when it is being driven, cf. section 7 second paragraph.

If the hirer wishes to correct the registered information after the registration has been approved, he or she must contact a staffed customs office in order to effect the changes. Changes can, for example, consist of a reduction or extension of the hire period within the limits set out in the provision.

It is a condition that, on expiry of the period notified, the hire vehicle is immediately re-exported or delivered to the hire company’s representative here in Norway. In cases in which the representative attends to the re-export of the vehicle, no deadline will be set for the re-export. The vehicle may not be hired out for further use in Norway except in the case of transport directly abroad in connection with the re-export of the vehicle. In that connection, the hire vehicle may also be hired out to a person with a permanent place of residence in Norway.

A foreign-registered hire vehicle may not be used by persons with a permanent place of residence in Norway for more than 182 days during a 12-month period. Each period is reckoned form the date on which the hire vehicle was imported to Norway and until it is re-exported. If the hirer chooses to deliver the hire vehicle to the hire company’s representative in Norway on expiry of the hire period, the period shall be reckoned until the vehicle is delivered to the representative. The total use of the vehicle in Norway shall not exceed 182 days during a 12-month period.

Letter d): Demonstration
If a person with a permanent place of residence in Norway applies, the customs region may grant permission for the importation and use of a foreign-registered motor vehicle that is to be demonstrated or that is specially equipped for the demonstration of goods. A driving permit can be granted for a short period of time that is expedient for the demonstration. As a rule, the permit must be issued to a limited number of named persons. The person or persons in question are obliged to have the permit with them when driving in Norway.

A driving permit can be issued in the following cases:

  • A motor vehicle that is to be test driven /demonstrated by the importer of the make of vehicle in question.
  • A motor vehicle imported by the importer of the make of vehicle for Norwegian motor journalists to test drive. Corresponding vehicles must not be available in Norway.
  • Motor vehicles that are specially equipped for the demonstration of goods. It is a precondition that the demonstration materials are ‘fixtures’ in the vehicle. Adequate security must be furnished for customs duties and taxes for the materials, cf. the Customs Act section 6-2. It is emphasised that this only applies to other goods and not to the motor vehicle itself.

Letter e): Moving to or from Norway
A person with a permanent place of residence in Norway may on application be issued a driving permit for a foreign-registered vehicle for up to 14 days in connection moving to or from Norway. It must be possible to document the move in the form of a moving certificate, employment contract or other relevant documentation.

Letter f): In-transit transport etc.
A person with a permanent place of residence in Norway may apply for a permit to drive a foreign-registered motor vehicle in transit between its place of importation and place of exportation. This provision confers an extended right in such cases to drive a motor vehicle in relation to ordinary importation. It is emphasised that the provision does not permit the issuing of driving permits for a longer period than is deemed strictly necessary in order to transport the vehicle the distance applied for.

Letter g): Short-lived use
A person with a permanent place of residence in Norway may apply for a permit to drive a foreign-registered motor vehicle in individual cases. Such permit is valid for a specific motor vehicle and person. The permit is issued for a specified limited period. The permit must be carried in the motor vehicle at all times. A driving permit may be issued in the following circumstances, among others:

  • A driver employed by a foreign transport firm, if the person in question is not himself or herself engaged in such business in Norway. An application containing personal information about the employee must be submitted by the employer, and the permit can be issued for a period of up to one year. The firm must, if necessary, obtain a transport permit from the competent authorities in its home country. It is emphasised that a transport permit is not the same as a driving permit in that the former concerns the actual transportation while the latter concerns the duty and tax-free use of the motor vehicle in Norway.
  • Replacement drivers on tourist buses and articulated lorries provided that the foreign driver complies with the driving and rest regulations. The firm must, if necessary, obtain a transport permit from the competent authorities in its home country.
  • Sporting events etc. Provided that the motor vehicle is not owned or hired by a person, firm or institution resident in Norway, a driving permit can be issued for use in connection with such events. 
  • The provision also includes cases in which foreign-registered vehicles are imported for temporary use in connection with major events of national interest such as Olympic Games. In such cases, it has been not been required that the vehicle must be driven by a specific individual.
  • Furthermore, it is possible in isolated cases to issue a driving permit if a person chooses to use a motor vehicle as a means of transport to and from abroad. By isolated cases is meant up to two times per year. It is a precondition that an application is submitted for a driving permit for return transport from the border to the person’s home. Such a permit will not be granted if regular journeys are made to/from Norway, for example by Norwegian pensioners and students who stay abroad for large parts of the year.

Letter h): Foreign-registered trailers
Trailers registered in EEA countries can also be used for commercial transport between locations in Norway.

Letter i): Company vehicles
The provision covers cases in which a company vehicle has been placed at the disposal of an employee with a permanent place of residence in Norway by an employer established in another EEA country. It is a requirement that the motor vehicle is necessary for the performance of duties resulting from the employment relationship.

The provision also includes self-employed persons in a corresponding situation. Case law from the EU Court has established who shall be deemed to be an employee and who shall be deemed to be a self-employed person. The concept of employee shall not be construed too narrowly. It must be defined on the basis of objective criteria, whereby the most important characteristic is that a person performs tasks for another party for a period in return for compensation and at the other party’s instructions. A short-lived and temporary employment relationship may confer the status of employee, but the employment must not be so limited that it is marginal or supplementary. A self-employed person, on the other hand, provides services without being in a subordinate relationship and without being subject to another party’s instructions. It is not necessary to draw a clear line between the two groups since both groups are included. For example, where an employee also has ownership interests or is a board member of the company, this is not important in terms of the material scope of the provision.

As mentioned, it is required that the vehicle is necessary for the performance of work tasks. This means that it is not sufficient to use the vehicle as a means of transport for it to be deemed necessary. An example of what could be included would be a salesperson driving around with goods or to elicit orders. An example of what is not included is transport to and from the workplace.

Moreover, it is required that the use in Norway must not be extensive and protracted if a permit is to be issued for duty and tax-free use. Whether the use is extensive and protracted is assessed in relation to 12-month periods and is based on a mileage criterion and a number of days criterion. If the company vehicle is used in Norway for 183 days or more in a 12-month period and during the same 12-month period is used more in Norway than abroad measured in driving distance (kilometres), a permit cannot be granted. Both the kilometre and number of days conditions must be met. As regards the number of days condition, it is the number of days the vehicle is in use in Norway that is relevant. Only whole days are counted. If the vehicle is used both in Norway and abroad on the same day and the use abroad is of a private nature, the day will count as use in Norway. If, on the other hand, the use abroad is commercial in whole or in part, the day will not count as use in Norway. By commercial use is meant use resulting from the employment relationship or business activity in question. Other use is deemed to be private use. In Norway, both private and commercial use count. Abroad, it is only commercial use that is relevant. Private use abroad does not count. Driving between a place of residence in Norway and place of work abroad counts as commercial use abroad. Abroad refers to both EEA countries and third countries.

In order for the use to be considered extensive and protracted, the mileage condition requires that the vehicle is used more in Norway than abroad measured in terms of the number of kilometres driven. The distance driven must be calculated on the basis of where the actual use takes place. In exceptional circumstances, all driving between a place of residence in Norway and place of work abroad counts as use abroad.

An application for a permit must be submitted in advance to the customs region. It is the user with a permanent place of residence in Norway who must apply, i.e. the employee or self-employed person in question. Permits are issued for a period of up to 12 months and apply to a specific vehicle. When a vehicle is replaced, a new application or an application for a change in the existing permit must therefore be submitted. It is the user who must adequately document that he or she meets the requirements, cf. section 8. Copies of relevant documents must be enclosed with the application. Together with the application, the user must provide a description of the planned use of the motor vehicle. The employer/ client must provide written information about the necessity of the vehicle to the business.

It should be stated as a condition in the permit that the permit must be carried in the vehicle for production for control purposes.

Moreover, the user must store documentation of actual use. This is important for the purpose of subsequent control. A driving log is one possible way of satisfying this condition. Relevant information must be noted in the log daily and continuously. Examples of what should be noted in the driving log are the starting point for the day’s driving, the destination, the occasion for the driving, where the driving ends and the distance driven according to the milometer. If the user can satisfy the documentation requirement in other ways, this documentation can be submitted instead of a driving log.

Permits are issued on condition that the conditions are actually satisfied. If it later turns out that the conditions will not in practice be met, the duty and tax-free use must cease immediately. If, on control, it is discovered that the conditions are no longer met, the imposition of taxes and an additional charge will be considered.

It is only the employee or self-employed person him/herself who can be issued a permit to use the vehicle. On a par with other persons with a permanent place of residence in Norway, family members must have a special permit to use the vehicle. Pursuant to section 5 letter a), other persons may drive the vehicle if an entitled person, in this case the employee / self-employed person in question, is also in the vehicle. In other cases, a separate application must be submitted. The use of the motor vehicle by family members counts as private use in Norway.

Letter j: International assistance in connection with disasters
Persons with a permanent place of residence in Norway may import and use temporarily a foreign-registered vehicle for the provision of organised assistance in connection with major accidents and natural disasters. It is sufficient in such cases that the customs region is informed about the importation when the situation permits.

On application, the customs region may also grant permission for importation and temporary use in connection with the holding of emergency preparedness exercises.

7. Leaving vehicles behind – the Temporary-use Regulation section 6

The main rule is that the user takes the motor vehicle with him/her on departure. However, it is possible to leave a foreign-registered motor vehicle in Norway for a short period.

8 Temporary driving permit – the Temporary-use Regulation section 7

If a driving permit has been obtained, it must be carried during driving.

9 Documentation requirements – the Temporary-use Regulation section 8.

Pursuant to the provision, it is the person who uses a foreign-registered vehicle who has the burden of proof that he or she meets the requirements of the Regulation. The person in question must therefore him/herself substantiate that the conditions for lawful use pursuant to the Regulation are met. The user is required to document in an adequate manner that he or she satisfies the requirements. A corresponding documentation duty applies to special circumstances relating to unlawful use in connection with tax-free re-export pursuant to section 10 third paragraph.

This means that the documentation must be of a certain nature. In principle, public documents or similar – primarily from persons other than closely related parties – are required that by their nature provide authority for the information and for it being publicly known. Such documents can, for example, be documentation of family relationships, duration of stay, notification of change of address, employment contract, duration of the assignment or work, residential status etc.

The provision is not intended to be exhaustive as regards examples of documentation. What is accepted as documentation in the event of a control depends entirely on the person in question’s situation and circumstances. Whether the submitted documentation is deemed to be sufficient is decided following an overall assessment in each individual case.

Pursuant to the Regulation section 3 nos. 1) and 2), emphasis is placed on family ties when assessing whether a person satisfies the requirements. Customs and Excise must therefore also demand that documentation is produced for the spouse /children’s formal ties and of their stay abroad being genuine. Registration in the Population Register and a postal address are examples of ties of a formal nature. Employment contracts, bank account statements, tax documents etc. are examples of documentation that shows that a stay abroad is genuine.

10 Sanctions and reactions in connection with violation of the Temporary-use Regulation – the Temporary-use Regulation section 10 

The main rule in connection with violation of the Temporary-use Regulation, cf. section 10

Violation of the Temporary-use Regulation results in a duty to pay motor vehicle tax, duty and value added tax, cf. section 10 first paragraph.

The tax demand shall be addressed to the party who imports/uses the motor vehicle in violation of the Temporary-use Regulation, cf. section 10 second paragraph. Whether the person in question is the owner of the vehicle is irrelevant in this context. In connection with violation of section 5 letter c) fourth paragraph, which states that an individual vehicle cannot be used here by persons with a permanent place of residence in Norway for more than 182 days in a 12-month period, the demand is addressed to the registered owner of the hire vehicle, cf. section 10 second paragraph.

A motor vehicle that is used in violation of the Temporary-use Regulation may be held back under the authority of the Act relating to customs and the import and export of goods section 4-2. Note that the authority to withhold does not apply to motor vehicle tax. A motor vehicle cannot be a held back if the other taxes (value added tax and hydrofluoric carbon tax) have been paid. The right to hold back a motor vehicle shall not be exercised in connection with violations of section 5 letter c) concerning hire vehicles.

An administrative charge may be imposed in addition to the tax that has or could have been evaded pursuant to Act no. 2 of 19 June 1959 relating to taxes on motor vehicles and boats section 3, cf. the Act relating to customs duties and the import and export of goods section 16-10 and the Act relating to sales tax section 3. In order to impose additional duty, it is a condition that the person who has contravened the regulations has done so negligently or with intent. In connection with violations of the Temporary-use Regulation, an additional administrative charge shall be considered, irrespective of whether the motor vehicle is permitted to be re-exported and the tax demand is waived. An exception has been made from this rule for the tax-free re-export of vehicles covered by section 5 letter c) concerning hire vehicles.

The question of whether to impose an additional administrative charge shall be considered on an independent basis. The grounds for imposing or not imposing an additional charge shall be stated in the decision. Considerations of deterrence may call for the imposition of an additional charge despite the fact that special circumstances mean that the vehicle is permitted to be re-exported without ordinary taxes being levied. The reason for this is that the assessment of re-exportation and the assessment of an additional administrative charge are two different decisions that are based on different considerations. The additional administrative charge is an independent reaction against negligent or intentional violation of the regulations. The right to permit tax-free re-export of a motor vehicle is intended to act as a safety valve and is justified on grounds of reasonableness.

Exception – tax-free re-export pursuant to the Temporary-use Regulation section 10 third paragraph

If special circumstances exist and they are related to the unlawful use, Customs and Excise may permit the vehicle to leave the country without import duties and taxes being paid. This exception provision is intended as a safety valve and it must therefore be interpreted stringently. The risk of undermining the regulations and considerations relating to equal treatment of those liable to tax must be given particular weight when considering whether to waive the collection of duty and taxes. It is the user who must be able to document (substantiate) that such circumstances exist. Pursuant to section 17 of the Public Administration Act, however, Norwegian Customs and Excise is obliged to ensure that as much information as possible is obtained about the case before a decision is made. Where it is argued that special circumstances exist that would be disproportionately difficult to document, excessively stringent requirements must not be set for documentation.

Whether special circumstances exist in connection with the use of the motor vehicle will depend on a concrete overall assessment. In the event of violation of the notification duty in section 5 letter c), re-export without ordinary taxes and duties should be permitted if the user can document that the other conditions for duty and tax-free import and temporary use of a foreign-registered hire vehicle are met. The above follows directly from section 10 third paragraph.

Further comments are included below on some factors that may form part of the assessment. The list is not exhaustive.

The duration of the unlawful use
Short-lived use may be an argument in favour of tax and duty-free re-export in connection with a first-time violation of the Regulation. This follows directly from section 10 third paragraph. Unlawful use for approximately six weeks is deemed to be short-lived. If it is a repeat violation or there are other blameworthy circumstances, on the other hand, this can point in the direction of the imposition of taxes despite the fact that the unlawful use is short-lived.

Emergency situations
The emergency situation must be of a certain gravity. Using a foreign-registered vehicle in Norway in order to get to one’s work on time or similar is not an emergency situation. A person is not in an emergency situation if the danger can be averted in a manner other than making unlawful use of a vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle meets the requirements for tax-free importation and use of a foreign-registered vehicle in Norway, but has failed to apply.
If the person in question meets the material conditions for a driving permit on the entry date but has failed to apply, this is a weighty argument in favour of tax-free re-export. However, an additional administrative charge should be imposed for reasons of deterrence if the conditions for this are met. In principle, the additional charge should be somewhat higher in cases where the violation of the regulations is discovered through a control than in those cases where the person liable to tax has notified the authorities of the matter him or herself.

A person other than the user is registered as owner of the vehicle
In such cases, the relationship between the owner and the user will be important. If there is a close relationship between the owner and user (for example family, friends and acquaintances etc.), this will point in the direction of taxes being levied. If, on the other hand, the relationship between the owner and the user is a business relationship, for example in the case of a hire vehicle, this will point in the direction of tax-free re-export. The reason for this differentiation is that it is easier for the owner to maintain an overview of the use of the vehicle and thus bear some of the responsibility for the vehicle being held back in the case of close relationships. Hire agreements that include a purchase option will not in themselves be an argument in favour of tax-free re-export even if a business relationship is involved.

Incorrect information from a competent authority
A person planning to import and use temporarily a foreign-registered motor vehicle in Norway has an independent duty to familiarise him or herself with the regulations. If the user has in good faith made arrangements in accordance with incorrect information from a competent public authority and for that reason finds him or herself in a more difficult situation than would otherwise be the case, this points in the direction of tax-free re-export. Information from Customs and Excise officers clearly falls within the definition of competent authority. In other cases, a concrete assessment will have to be made.

11 Svalbard-registered motor vehicles – special arrangements and practice

On application, the Northern Norway Customs Region may, pursuant to section 5 letter g) of the Temporary-use Regulations, issue a permit for the importation and use of motor vehicles on the mainland in connection with the holidays of persons actually resident on Svalbard. As regards the duration of the permit, a driving permit is in practice issued for up to three months per calendar year. The permit is conditional on the motor vehicle being re-exported to Svalbard by the stipulated deadline. It is a condition for such a driving permit that the motor vehicle is actually used and registered on Svalbard. A permit may therefore not be issued for a motor vehicle that has not been on Svalbard, for example motor vehicles that are purchased new on the mainland and are to be taken to Svalbard.

The District Governor shall take steps to ensure that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration can issue ordinary number plates for the period for which the driving permit is to apply. A corresponding validity period shall be endorsed in the vehicle registration. Violation of an issued permit may result in the subsequent levying of duty and taxes and to the imposition of an additional administrative charge. A separate application form has been produced that can be obtained from the District Governor of Svalbard, among others. Annual motor vehicle tax must be paid. The owner will be sent a payment demand from the Oslo and Akershus Customs Region, which levies the tax in arrears.

REGULATION

 

Regulation relating to duty-free and tax-free import and temporary use of foreign-registered motor vehicles in Norway

Issued by the Ministry of Finance on 20 June 1991 pursuant to Act No. 2 of 19 June 1959 relating to motor vehicles and boats (Section 1), Act No. 119 of 21 December 2007 relating to customs duties and the import and export of goods and Act No. 58 of 19 June 2009 relating to value-added tax.

Section 1 Scope and extent of the Regulation

This Regulation specifies provisions concerning exemption from motor vehicle tax, import duties and value added tax in connection with the importation and temporary use of foreign-registered motor vehicles.
 
The provisions in or issued pursuant to Act No. 2 of 19 June 1959 relating to duties in respect of motor vehicles and boats, Act No. 119 of 21 December 2007 relating to customs duties and the import and export of goods and Act No. 58 of 19 June 2009 relating to value added tax all apply as appropriate and where nothing has been decided to the contrary.

This Regulation applies to motor vehicles along with their spare parts and equipment. Trailers and caravans are also regarded as motor vehicles.

By hire vehicle is meant a motor vehicle that, as part of a commercial business, is placed at the hirer’s disposal for a specific period of time in return for a consideration. If the hire agreement includes a purchase option, the motor vehicle will not be deemed to be a hire vehicle.

For the purpose of this Regulation, ‘use’ means utilisation of any kind.

A motor vehicle which is not subject to registration according to the provisions of its home country or which has not previously been cleared through Norwegian Customs and Excise is regarded as foreign-registered.

Section 2 General rule.

Duty-free and tax-free importation of foreign-registered motor vehicles to Norway and the temporary use of such vehicles in Norway are permitted for persons permanently resident in other countries, cf. Section 3.
 
A similar right to importation and use is granted to persons who are temporarily resident in Norway, cf. Section 4, or who for other reasons are entitled to import and use pursuant to the provisions of this Regulation, cf. Section 5.

Temporary use shall cease and the vehicle in question shall immediately be presented for customs clearance if the user at the time of entry or later becomes permanently resident in Norway or for other reasons ceases to satisfy the conditions of this Regulation.

A foreign-registered vehicle may not be imported duty-free and tax-free to Norway with a view to hiring it out here. Hire vehicles received by the hirer’s representative as a result of termination of a hire agreement may nonetheless be hired out for direct transport abroad.

Use of a foreign-registered motor vehicle for the commercial conveyance of persons or goods between places in Norway is not permitted, unless the transport and communications authorities decide otherwise, or the use stems from agreements between Norway and other countries, or the use is otherwise permitted by this Regulation.

Section 3 Permanent residence outside Norway.

A person is regarded as permanently resident outside Norway if he/she matches one or more of the following descriptions:

1. A person whose family, occupational and personal ties are outside Norway.
2. A person whose family ties are outside Norway, even if he/she has occupational and/or personal ties to Norway.
3. A person whose occupational ties are outside Norway, as long as he/she has no family ties with Norway. Nor must he/she be registered in the Norwegian population register.
4. A person whose occupational ties are to Norway, as long as he maintains personal ties with another country. In this case he/she must not have family ties to Norway and must either:
a) travel back and forth daily between Norway and the other country, or
b) have stayed or intend to stay in the other country for at least 185 days in the course of a 12-month period.
 
A person is regarded as having family ties to the country where he/she resides with a spouse or child/children younger than 18 years of age whom he visits regularly – normally at least once a month.

A person is regarded as having occupational ties to the country where he or she is permanently employed or is attending a course of instruction at a university/school. A person may be regarded as having occupational ties to the country from which he or she receives a pension, if the pension can reasonably be equated with pay from permanent employment.

A person is regarded as having personal ties to the country where he/she regularly sleeps in a dwelling that he/she either owns or rents with a year-long lease. If the person is registered in the Norwegian population register, he/she cannot be regarded as having personal ties outside Norway. Registering oneself as having moved abroad temporarily is not sufficient in this context. The requirement relating to registration when moving out of Norway does not apply to Norwegian officials (including military personnel) posted abroad if they are not able to register their move.

If according to legislation in the Nordic countries a person is regarded as permanently resident in more than one country, the matter shall be settled in consultation between the customs authorities of the countries concerned. The consultation is carried out by the Norwegian Customs Region in question.

Section 4 Temporary residence in Norway.

A person is regarded as temporarily resident in Norway when it can be documented that his or her stay will not exceed one year from the date of entry.

The Customs Region may decide upon application that a person shall be regarded as temporarily resident in Norway for a further year, provided it can be documented that the stay will not exceed two years from the date of entry.

Applications must be sent to the Customs Region within a year of the date of entry.

An employment contract for a limited period may be regarded as relevant documentation of temporary residence.

A person cannot be regarded as temporarily resident in Norway if he/she has stayed in Norway for more than 365 days in the course of the last two years prior to the date of entry, or if he/she has been registered in the Norwegian population register during the same period.

Section 5 Importation and temporary use of foreign-registered motor vehicles by persons permanently resident in Norway. Conditions.

a) Accompanied by a qualifying person.
A person permanently resident in Norway may import and temporarily use a foreign registered motor vehicle provided he is accompanied in the vehicle by a qualified person. A qualified person is defined as one who holds a valid driving licence and has the right to duty-free and tax-free importation of a motor vehicle for temporary use pursuant to this Regulation.

b) Professional vehicle transport.
In connection with such activities as picking up, delivering, testing, parking, shipping and transporting home a foreign-registered motor vehicle, a person employed in a Norwegian enterprise may drive a foreign-registered motor vehicle on behalf of the person who is entitled to use it. Such transport activity must be part of the company’s business.

c) Hire vehicles
Persons with a permanent residence in Norway can import and use temporarily a foreign-registered hire vehicle here in Norway. The total use of foreign-registered hire vehicles pursuant to this provision must not exceed 42 days during a 12-month period.

Use as mentioned in the first paragraph shall be notified to the customs authorities before the motor vehicle is imported to Norway. It is only the person or persons specified in the hire contract who can notify such use to the customs authorities. The notification shall contain: the hirer’s name, personal identity number / D number and contact information, the registration number of the motor vehicle, the name of the hire company, the reference number of the agreement and the period during which the motor vehicle will be used in Norway. The Directorate of Customs and Excise may issue more detailed provisions concerning how notification shall be given to the customs authorities.

Foreign-registered hire vehicles that are not re-exported by the hirer must be delivered to the hire company’s representative here in Norway. In cases in which the representative takes over the motor vehicle, the representative is obliged to arrange for re-export. In that connection, the representative may hire out the motor vehicle for transport directly abroad.

A foreign-registered hire vehicle may not be used in Norway by persons with a permanent place of residence in Norway pursuant to this provision for more than 182 days during a 12-month period.

d) Demonstration.
The Customs Region may upon application permit a person permanently  resident in Norway to import and temporarily use a foreign-registered motor vehicle  which is to be demonstrated or is specially equipped for the demonstration of goods.

e) Moving to or from Norway.
The Customs Region may upon application grant to a person who is a permanent resident of Norway and wishes to move out of or into Norway the right, in connection with moving, to import and use in Norway a vehicle registered abroad for up to 14 days from the date of moving.

The move must be documented by means of a moving certificate, work contract or other relevant documentation. For Norwegian civil servants posted abroad, their posting order will be considered sufficient documentation.

f) In-transit transport, etc.
The Customs Region may upon application permit a person permanently resident in Norway to drive a foreign-registered motor vehicle that is in transit, etc., directly from its point of entry to its point of departure.

g) Use for short periods.
The Customs Region may upon application in particular cases permit a person permanently resident in Norway to drive a foreign-registered motor vehicle in this country for short periods of use. Such permission is given for a specific period of time, and applies to a specific person and motor vehicle.

h) Foreign-registered trailers.
Foreign-registered trailers (including semi-trailers) which are towed in this country by Norwegian-registered motor vehicles may be imported duty-free and tax-free for temporary use even if the driver of the towing vehicle is permanently resident in Norway. The trailer may be used only for the commercial transport of goods from another country to places in Norway or from places in Norway to another country. Trailers registered in EEA countries may also be used for commercial transport of goods between places in Norway, provided that the trailer is equipped with distinguishing marks enabling it to be identified and that the trailer is exported back out of the country no later than 90 days after entry.

i) Company vehicles.
The Customs Region may upon application permit an employee or self-employed person who permanently resides in Norway to use a certain foreign-registered motor vehicle made available by an employer or work provider operating in another EEA country. The motor vehicle must be necessary to performing the person’s assigned duties, and its use in Norway may not be extensive and protracted.

The motor vehicle’s use in Norway is considered extensive and protracted if it is used in Norway for 183 days or more in a 12-month period and in the same 12-month period is used more in Norway in both private and commercial service than it is used abroad in commercial service, as measured in total kilometres.

j) International assistance in connection with disasters.
Persons with permanent residence in Norway can import and use temporarily a foreign-registered motor vehicle in organised aid efforts in connection with major accidents and natural disasters. The Customs Regions shall be informed about such importation if the circumstances permit.

On application, the Customs Region can grant a person with permanent residence in Norway permission to import and use a foreign-registered motor vehicle that is to be used in connection with emergency preparedness exercises.

Section 6 Leaving vehicles behind in Norway.

Foreign-registered motor vehicle that are imported or used duty-free and tax-free in accordance with this Regulation shall be taken out of the country by the user on his or her departure. On the user's departure the motor vehicle may, however, be left in Norway for up to six weeks per 12 months without payment of import duties and taxes. During the period the motor vehicle is left behind, it shall not be used by persons permanently resident in Norway, whether on loan or hired or otherwise.

The Customs Region may upon application permit the motor vehicle to be stored for a lengthy period of time under Customs supervision.

Section 7 Temporary driving permits.

The Customs Region may upon application grant a temporary driving permit during the period of consultation described in Section 3.

A person who has a driving permit issued pursuant to this Regulation is obliged to have the permit with him/her when driving.

Section 8 Documentation.

 The user shall adequately document that he satisfies the conditions for duty-free and tax-free import and temporary use of a foreign-registered motor vehicle pursuant to this Regulation. A corresponding documentation duty applies in the case of special circumstances relating to unlawful use in connection with duty and tax-free re-export pursuant to section 10 third paragraph. 

A certificate from the Population Register, lease, employment contract, marriage certificate, tax documents, proof of admission to a school /university or similar can be deemed to be relevant documentation that the user satisfies the requirements for duty-free and tax-free import and temporary use of a foreign-registered motor vehicle in Norway.

Documents that are submitted must be dated and signed/stamped.

Section 9 Repealed effective 1 July 2003, cf. regulation of 21 May 2003 No. 654

 

Section 10 Payment of duties and taxes

Violation of this Regulation will result in an obligation to pay motor vehicle tax, customs duty and value added tax.

The tax demand will be addressed to the person importing or using the motor vehicle in contravention of the provisions of this Regulation. In the case of contravention of section 5 letter c) fourth paragraph, the tax demand will be addressed to the registered owner of the vehicle.

The Customs Region can permit re-export without the payment of ordinary taxes when special circumstances exist in connection with the unlawful use. When considering whether special circumstances exist, provided that the matter is a first-time violation of the Regulation, emphasis may be placed, among other things, on whether the unlawful use was of short duration. In the event of violation of the notification duty in section 5 letter c), re-export without ordinary taxes and duties should be permitted if the user can document that the other conditions for duty and tax-free import and temporary use of a foreign-registered hire vehicle are met.

Section 11 Supplementary provisions.

The Directorate of Customs and Excise may issue more detailed provisions for use in explicating, supplementing and implementing this Regulation, such as when making calculations and reimbursements or engaging in oversight, documentation, re-exportation etc.

Section 12 Entry into force. Transitional provisions.

1. Entry into force.
This Regulation enters into force on 15 July 1991.

From the same date, the Ministry of Finance’s regulation No. 354 of 5 March 1987 relating to the duty-free and tax-free importation of motor vehicles registered abroad for temporary use in Norway is repealed.

2. Transitional provisions.
Permission to import and use foreign-registered motor vehicles granted pursuant to the Regulation of 5 March 1987 applies for the period and under the conditions stipulated.

This regulation applies to persons found unauthorised to import or to use a foreign-registered motor vehicle in Norway during inspection carried out after 15 July 1991, even if the motor vehicle in question was imported before that date.

 

 


 

 

 


 

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