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Common reasons for applying for reimbursement (refund)

When you are entitled to apply to Customs for refund, you shall use the form in Altinn. Below, you will find the most common reasons to apply with examples. You shall not apply to Customs if your shipment has been cleared on a collective customs clearance or VAT has been charged double on a VOEC-shipment.

Collective customs clearance and VOEC-shipments

The customs does not process applications for refunds or corrections of declarations where the customs clearance has been done through 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.

You shall not apply to Customs for refunds on wrongly charged import taxes on shipments from online stores registered with the VOEC-scheme, for example eBay, Alibaba, AliExpress or Amazon.

Read more about collective customs clearance and VOEC-shipments, and who you must contact for a refund here. 

If your shipment was not part of a collective customs clearance, and is not a VOEC-shipment you paid VAT double for, you can find information below on the most common reasons for applying for a refund, and about what the Customs can refund. 

Customs duties, excise duties and VAT

When you import goods from abroad, you may have to pay customs duties, excise duties and VAT in addition to the transport company's customs clearance fee. The import duties and taxes are determined by the kind of goods you are importing. Below we explain the different kinds of duties and taxes with examples. 

Customs duties

Customs duties or tariff is a tax imposed on imports (or exports) of goods. The rates are determined in the Customs Tariff. In short, there is only customs duty on clothing and other ready made textiles like bed linen, curtains, towels etc, and on food and drinks. All other goods are free of Customs duty. 

Excise duties

This is a duty on imports of certain goods such as alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages and bevarage packaging. You will find a full overview of the various excise duties on the Tax Administrations website

VAT

This is a general tax in imports of goods. The general rate is 25 % while it is 15 % on food and drinks (non-alcoholic). 

Customs clearance fee

This is a fee charged by the carrier (for instance Posten, UPS, DHL, FedEx, TNT) for the Customs clearance of your shipment. The different transport companies have different names for this fee. Examples are "pris fortolling", "utleggsgebyr", "fortollingsgebyr" and "spedisjonsgebyr". 

We would also like to inform you that the Customs cannot refund amounts below NOK 100. 

Frequently asked questions

You have received a gift from relatives abroad that contained soft drinks, toys and clothing. However, the sender made a mistake and stated a wrong high value, so the shipment exceeded the duty- and taxfree limit of NOK 1000 for gift shipments. The shipment was Customs cleared by the transport company based on this wrong value. The correct value of the shipment was NOK 500 and it was therefore within the duty- and taxfree limit. 

The Customs can refund you:

Customs duties: Yes.

Excise duties: Yes.

VAT: Yes.

Customs clearance fee: No.

Example 1

You have bought a jacket abroad and paid both customs duties and VAT on import. However, there was something wrong with the jacket and you have returned it to the seller. The seller sent you a new jacket for free, and you had to pay both customs duties and VAT on this even though it was a replacement item. This procedure is completely correct, BUT you can apply to get a refund on the fee you paid for the jacket you returned to the seller.

The Customs can refund you:

Customs duties: Yes, provided the amount is higher than NOK 100.

Excise duties: No, there is no excise duties on jackets.

VAT: No, then you must apply to the Tax Administration

Customs clearance fee: No. 

Example 2

You have bought a mobile phone abroad. Mobile phones and other electronics are free of customs duties upon import, but you have paid VAT. The phone stopped working, so you have cancelled the purchase and returned the phone to the seller. The seller sent you a new phone for free, and this has been cleared through customs the usual way. You should not apply to the Customs as you have not paid any customs duties on import. You must apply to the Tax Administration for a refund of the VAT.

Example 1

You have bought a jacket abroad and paid both customs duty and VAT on import. However, there was something wrong with the jacket and you have returned it to the seller.

The Customs can refund you:

Customs duties: Yes, provided that the amount is NOK 100 or higher. 

Excise duties: No, there is no excise duties on jackets.

VAT: No, then you must apply to the Tax Administration.

Customs clearance fee: No.

Example 2

You have bought a mobile phone abroad. Mobile phones and other electronics are free of customs duty upon import, but you have paid VAT. The phone stopped working, so you have cancelled the purchase and returned the phone to the seller. 

To get back the fees you paid, you must send an application to the Tax Administration to get the VAT back.

You have bought a mobile phone abroad. Mobile phones and other electronics are free of customs duty upon import, but you have paid VAT. The phone stopped working, so you sent it back to the seller for repair. Now the repaired phone has been returned to you, but it has been cleared again at the customs by the transport company since the seller did not label the shipment as a repaired item in return. 

The Customs can refund you:

Customs duties: No, there is no customs duties on mobile phones.

Excise duties: No, there is no excise duties on monbile phones.

VAT: Yes.

Customs clearance fee: No.

Example 1

You have bought a pair of trousers from the US and paid both customs duty and VAT on import (there is no excise duties on trousers). The seller attached the wrong invoice, so the shipment was cleared through customs based on a higher amount than the one you actually paid for the trousers. As a result you have paid too much both in customs duty and VAT.

The Customs can refund you:

Customs duties: Yes.

Excise duties: No, there is no excise duties on trousers.

VAT: Yes.

Customs clerarance fee: No.

Example 2

You have bought electronics abroad. All electronics are free of customs duty and excise duties on import, but you have paid VAT. However, the seller wrote the wrong currency in the invoice. The invoice should have been issued in NOK, but the seller wrote EUR instead, and as a result you have paid too much in VAT.

The Customs can refund you: 

Customs duties: No, there is no customs on electronics..

Excise duties: No, there is no excise duties on electronics.

VAT: Yes.

Customs clerarance fee: No.

Example 1

You bought a pair of trousers from the US: By mistake the carrier cleared the shipment twice, and has charged you both the customs duty and the VAT both times. (There is no excise duties on trousers)

The Customs can refund you:

Customs duties: Yes.

Excise duties: No, there is no excise duties on trousers.

VAT: Yes.

Customs clearance fee: No.

Example 2

You have bought electronics abroad. The carrier made a mistake and has cleared your shipment twice, and charged you for VAT both times. (There is no customs duty or excise duties on electronics). 

The Customs can refund you:

Customs duties: No, there is no excise duties on electronics.

Excise duties: No, there is no excise duties on electronics.

VAT: Yes.

Customs clearance fee: No.