A new scheme was introduced in April 2020 for value added tax (VAT) on e-commerce. The scheme is called VOEC (VAT On E-Commerce). Foreign online shops and online marketplaces that sell goods to private persons in Norway will now collect up to 25 percent VAT on behalf of the Norwegian authorities. This applies to the purchase of goods from abroad with a value of up to NOK 3,000.
Goods that fall under the VOEC scheme are duty-free and no additional customs clearance is required at the border, as long as the foreign business is registered with the Norwegian Tax Administration and notification of arrival that includes the VOEC number is reported to Customs.
The VOEC scheme is administered by the Norwegian Tax Administration. You can also find an overview of which online shops and online marketplaces are VOEC-registered on their website.
Digital solution – notification of arrival to Customs
The Norwegian Customs Service has developed frameworks and conditions for businesses that want to transport VOEC shipments to Norway and report them electronically . The conditions are listed on the application form . (this form is only available in norwegian). The most important conditions are:
- Approval through the Maskinporten developed and administered by the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency.
- The business must have a customs warehouse license (A) or agreement with a customs warehouse keeper.
- The business must have TVINN access or an agreement with an agent with TVINN access.
The conditions established for TVINN and the customs warehouse are based on the declaration and verification requirement. For example, if the verification reveals that the goods do not meet the conditions for VOEC shipments, a declaration obligation will apply (see below).
It is important for the collaboration between Customs and the business community that the arrival notification is sent as quickly as possible and that it meets all requirements. Inclusion of the VOEC number in the correct field, for example, is essential. The goal is for border clearance to take place as effectively as possible without any delays. The required information must be sent at least two hours prior to the border crossing. The Norwegian Customs Service may establish different deadlines.
The digital solution is based on established standards and a mechanical interface. For more information on the requirement specifications click here .
The digitalisation of the Norwegian Customs Service is under continuous development, so changes may be made to the digital solution in the future. All changes will be announced well beforehand.
Notification and presentation requirement for VOEC goods
On arrival at the border, the driver of the vehicle must report to Customs and must also present an overview of all shipments with a VOEC number that are loaded on the vehicle.
Declaration – Declaration exemption
A VOEC shipment is exempt from the customary declaration requirement in principle and should therefore not be declared in TVINN. However, this assumes that notification of arrival has been sent to Customs, with reference to a valid VOEC number.
VOEC shipments can be reported/declared in several ways
- Digital notification of arrival is sent to Customs through the digital solution well in advance of the border crossing.
- Manual procedure – physical submission of notification/documents at the border crossing. Keep in mind that this can result in a delay since Customs will have to spend more time on the verification process because information was not sent beforehand.
- Declaration in TVINN – Emergency solution when a VOEC good is not reported at the border crossing, even if the necessary VOEC information was available. The shipment is declared as follows:
- VOEC shipments must be declared separately and TVINN will reject a combined declaration of both VOEC goods and regular goods. To avoid double taxation, the following information must be provided:
- Section 8: A private person as the recipient for each declaration.
- Section 44: reference code ‘VEC’ + VOEC number. Declarations with several goods lines must use the reference code ‘VEC’ for every line.
If the VOEC number is lacking or the shipment is not clearly marked with a VOEC number, it must be declared as a regular clearance and any customs and taxes must be paid.
Completion of a transit (NCTS) that includes VOEC shipments
A VOEC shipment that is reported in the digital solution as described above is considered to be customs cleared in principle. The transit process must therefore be completed with an alternative reference in the arrival notification (IE07).
- Shipments containing only VOEC goods must reference ‘VOEC’ + tracking number.
- Shipments with a combination of VOEC goods and regular goods must reference both the goods number/shipment and serial number and ‘VOEC’ + tracking number.
If there are several VOEC shipments in the same transit declaration, only ‘VOEC’ should be used as the reference. The customs warehouse keeper is responsible for keeping track of goods that are subject to customs clearance and those that are not in the warehouse and must be able to present the goods on request by the Norwegian Customs Service.
Re-exportation and return of VOEC goods
If the customer wants to return a VOEC good, it is the responsibility of the online shop or online marketplace to enable this and to refund the payment. The online shop or online marketplace in turn must report the reimbursement to the Norwegian Tax Administration. The customer must contact the online shop or online marketplace in question for more information on how this is done.
The re-exportation of goods with a value of less than NOK 5,000 does not normally require declaration (cf. Norwegian Customs Regulations[MOU3] , Sections 4-11-2, 3-1-15) provided that the shipment has cleared customs. But since VOEC shipments are not always cleared in TVINN, reference must be made to VOEC instead of the shipment and serial number:
- We therefore recommend that all returns are marked with ‘VOEC’ + VOEC number to ensure that they are actually eligible for the declaration exemption.
- Re-exports with a value of over NOK 5,000 must be declared following the normal procedure. However, we still recommend referencing ‘VEC’ in section 44 for every goods line for shipment identification and statistical purposes. Returns of VOEC shipments must be declared separately in TVINN, following the same procedure as with importation.
- Reimbursement for a VOEC declaration in TVINN due to incorrect payments, etc. is handled as a regular recalculation.