The VOEC scheme (VAT On E-Commerce) enables foreign online shops and online marketplaces to collect up to 25% Norwegian valued-added tax (VAT) when private persons make purchases from them. The VOEC is administered by the Norwegian Tax Administration and the online shops/marketplaces must register with the tax authorities before they can collect value-added tax.
Registration is mandatory after posting a turnover of NOK 50,000, but can also take place voluntarily.
Goods for private use
The VOEC scheme applies to goods intended for private use with a value of up to NOK 3,000. Please note that the value limit applies to each item. The customer can purchase as many items as desired and have these items shipped in the same shipment, as long as each one has a value of under NOK 3,000 and is intended for private use. However, the customer must pay 25% Norwegian value-added tax for all goods, including freight and other costs. To determine which goods that fall under the VOEC scheme and are exempt from customs, see the Customs Regulations, Section 5-9-1 on the low value goods threshold.
Since the online shop or online marketplace collects the value-added tax, it can also be expected that the shipments will cross the border faster and less expensively because the transport company no longer needs to declare the goods in TVINN and charge the customer duty or taxes, provided the shipment information is reported to Customs correctly.
Goods not covered by the scheme
The following goods are not covered by the VOEC scheme:
- Foodstuffs (including food, beverages, supplements and vitamins)
- Goods subject to import restrictions (including pharmaceutical products, weapons, alcohol, tobacco)
- Goods subject to excise taxes (including sugar, beverage packaging, lubricating oils, major appliances that cause greenhouse gas emissions)
When a customer purchases such goods, they must still be cleared in TVINN following the regular procedure and ordinary import duty will be charged, regardless of the value of the shipment. The customer must also pay a clearance fee to the transporter.
How to find out whether an online shop is VOEC registered
In order for customers to benefit from this scheme, the online shop or online marketplace where the purchase is made must be registered in the Norwegian Tax Administration’s VOEC register. We expect that the online shop in question will announce this on its website. The customer will also be able to see that 25% VAT has been added at checkout. Read more about the VOEC scheme on the Norwegian Tax Administration website. Here you will also find an overview of which online shops and online marketplaces are registered in the VOEC scheme.
Incorrect collection of value-added tax, double taxation or returns of goods that fall under the VOEC scheme
If the customer believes that the foreign online shop or online marketplace that is registered in the VOEC scheme has collected an incorrect VAT amount or has collected VAT on an item that the customer believes should be exempt from VAT, the customer must contact them. The online shop in turn must rectify the mistake in its quarterly payments to the Norwegian Tax Administration. The online shop is also responsible for refunding wrongfully claimed amounts.
The same applies if the good has been taxed twice due to the lacking or insufficient labelling of the shipment from the online shop/marketplace. For more information, see the Norwegian Tax Administration guidelines for the VOEC scheme.
Return of goods
The same requirements apply when a customer returns an item. The online shop or online marketplace must handle returns in their reporting to the Norwegian Tax Administration and the customer must contact the relevant online shop or online marketplace for information on how this should be handled.