Norway Consolidates Payroll Forms, Increases Filing Frequency

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By Marcus Hoy

Jan. 15 — A new electronic reporting regime that took effect on Jan. 1 is to significantly ease payroll reporting obligations for all Norwegian employers, Norway's Tax Administration (Skatteetaten) said Jan. 9 in a statement.

The Tax Administration said that the new system, which merges five separate forms into a single electronic document, will reduce administrative costs and bureaucracy for the country's 220,000 employers. The combined cost savings for the nation's employers is estimated to be in the region of 600 million kroner ($78 million) per year, the statement said.

A single mandatory electronic reporting requirement, AO1/AO2, replaces forms RF 1015 (salary and withheld tax), RF 1037 (future payroll and withholding) RF 1025 (annual statement on wage and tax deductions), RA 0500 (information to Statistics Norway) and NAV 25 to 01.10 (information to the State Registry). The report will be filed monthly; previously the reporting was done on a bimonthly basis.

The new rules apply for salary and other payments made after Jan. 1, 2015. Reporting for this month must be made no later than Feb. 5, 2015. Electronic reporting is mandatory for all employers, though smaller employers will be allowed a transition period during which paper reporting will still be permitted.

In addition to savings for industry, the Tax Administration said, the new system will provide the government with more accurate and up-to-date information. “The amendment will save money for companies and allow the public access to better data,” the statement said.

Transition Concerns

Halvor E. Sigurdsen, a lawyer at the Confederation of Norwegian Industry, told Bloomberg BNA Jan. 15 that his organization saw the measure as a positive step but expects “that many employers, particularly smaller ones, will initially have problems with it.” Furthermore, while the reports are consolidated, “the amount of information that companies must disclose is almost unchanged.”

“While it is correct to say that five reporting forms have been replaced by one, it should also be noted that more frequent reporting will be required,” he said. “Saying that, it is envisaged that the additional reporting can be carried out at the same time as wages are paid, so the new system will largely involve the reporting of information that is already in the employer's possession.”

While many employers already have electronic payroll systems in place, Sigurdsen pointed out, modifications will still be needed to meet the requirements of the new regime.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marcus Hoy in Copenhagen at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Baer mbaer@bna.com

The statement can be found in Norwegian at http://www.skatteetaten.no/nn/Om-skatteetaten/Presse/Nyhetsrommet/Pressemeldinger/2014/A—ordningen-pa-lufta—Betydelig-forenkling-for-220-000-arbeidsgivere/

More information on payroll issues in Norway can be found in the Norway country primer.