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Apply for a refund of VAT and customs duties

Have you paid too much in duty and tax? Have you paid duty and tax on a gift you believe free? Do you want a refund of customs duty for goods you sent back?

Then you must read below for information on

  • whether you should contact the freight company or the carrier for a refund (collective customs clearance)
  • whether you should contact the online store for a refund (applies to VAT paid double on VOEC-shipments)
  • if you should apply directly to the customs for a refund yourself

Collective customs clearance

The customs does not process applications for refunds or corrections of declarations where the customs clearance has been done through a collective customs clearance. In these cases you must contact the carrier/transport company that cleared the shipment for you. 

The carrier/transport company will handle your complaint and will also arrange the refund for you if there is a basis for it. 

The following five companies have a permit for collective customs clearance:

  • Posten
  • DHL Express Norway AS
  • PostNord AS
  • UPS Norway
  • Magnum NO AS

You can see which carrier/transport company that cleared your shipment on the documentation you received from them with the package, and you must contact them when you wish to make a complaint about incorrect customs clearance when a collective customs clearance has been made. 

What is a collective customs clearance? 

A collective customs clearance is a simplified customs clearance, and applies to shipments to private persons where the value including shipping is between NOK 350 and 3000. Please note that the following goods are exempt from this kind of clearance:

  • foods (food, drinks, supplements and vitamins)
  • goods with restrictions (ex medicine, weapons, alcohol and tobacco)
  • goods with excise duties (ex sugar, packaging, smear oils and household appliances with ozone emissions)

Shipments containing these kinds of goods will be cleared through customs in the usual way.

VAT paid double on VOEC-shipments

Please be aware that you shall not apply to Customs for refunds on wrongly charged import taxes on a VOEC-shipment, for example on a shipment from eBay or Amazon.

If you have done a purchase from an online shop / e-marked place registered in the VOEC-scheme and

  • …you have paid VAT to the online shop at the time of purchase and import charges to the transport company
  • ...the online shop has charged you VAT on a commodity that should be exempt from VAT (for example a book)?
  • you have returned the shipment to the seller

Then you must contact the online shop or online marketplace for refund. They must correct errors in their reporting to the Norwegian Tax Administration and must clarify this directly with the Tax Administration. They are also responsible for refunding wrongfully claimed amounts. 

The Norwegian customs is not involved in this process and shall not receive applications for refunds in such cases.

When can you apply yourself?

If your shipment is not cleared through a collective customs clearance or is not a VOEC-shipment charged double, you can apply directly to Customs for a refund. See "This is how you apply for a refund" below for details. 

In these cases you must be aware of the following:

If you want a refund of VAT and customs duty for goods that have been sent back or exchanged, you must apply to the Norwegian Tax Administration for refund of VAT and to the Customs for refund of customs duty. 

Most goods are duty free, so the probability that you will have to apply to the Tax Administration only is high. If you have imported clothing made from textiles and some ready-made textile products such as bed linens, towels and curtains, you may have been charged with customs duty. 

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