Crackdown on cut-rate haircuts

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Norwegian tax authorities are cracking down on hair salons, car washes and other service firms that they think are charging unrealistically low prices. In the authorities’ minds, getting a haircut or car wash for as low as NOK 200 (USD 33) is suspicious, and suggests the proprietor isn’t paying minimum wages set by labour organizations or may be evading taxes.

“It just doesn’t add up,” Jan-Egil Kristiansen, tax crimes chief for the regional tax office Skatt Øst, told newspaper Dagsavisen. “If someone cuts hair for NOK 150 or polishes a car for NOK 200, and minimum (tariff) wages, employer taxes and VAT are paid, the employer can’t have earned anything.” Since many also deal in cash, it’s harder for the tax authorities to audit them, he admits.

New rules taking effect
So from January 1, the tax authorities will demand all salons, car care firms and eating and drinking establishments to maintain personnel lists that require documentation of who is working and when. Efforts are also being made to secure cash registers, to better control transactions and revenues.

Kristiansen thinks the measures will crack down on alleged tax evasion or even social dumping. For consumers, it can mean the end of less expensive options to the Norwegian salons that routinely charge the equivalent of as much as USD 100 or more (NOK 600-850) for a haircut. In Oslo, it’s not unusual for a trip to the hairdresser to cost more than a visit to the dentist.

Going to a frisør (hair salon) in Norway can be so expensive compared to prices in other countries that some budget-minded Norwegian residents wait to get their hair cut until they’re out traveling, since a haircut in Germany, the UK or US can cost a fraction of what it often costs in Norway.

Enterprising immigrants
In recent years, though, small salons have popped up in some Norwegian cities, often run by immigrants, that offer haircuts for as low as NOK 150 (USD 25). Kristiansen doesn’t think all are legitimate, and the organization representing the established and much more expensive salons is delighted by the tax office’s efforts to crack down on those who don’t “operate seriously.” Olav Eikemo of the organization claimed the higher-priced Norwegian salon owners welcome competition, but not if it’s “unfair.”

Kristiansen’s crusade against haircuts and car washes that he views as suspiciously low may further entrench Norway’s notoriously high prices but that doesn’t seem to bother him. He’s also urging the public to be more critical of low prices.

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” he told Dagsavisen. “Folks must see that contributing to the black market has wide-reaching consequences.” Patronizing low-priced service establishments, he claimed, “can destroy businesses and threaten welfare.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

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  • http://www.cloudberry.no/ Robby MacBeath

    I paid 220kr for a machine cut (shaved head), I think that is a ridiculous price for sitting in the chair for 10 minutes max. In the UK, the same haircut will cost around £7 :-/

    • Kanon25

      Exactly – this is insane. Abuse of power.

      I’ve been to some of these barbers. They are typically immigrants and are proabably being stereotyped and victimised by the authorities for this.

      The reason they are so cheap is basically because they dont waste time – you are in and out that chair in 10 minutes flat. They also get customers coming to cut their hair more frequently. And last but not least, they dont waste money on expensive decor or on renting shop space at expensive addresses. Nor by having a shop full of expensive inventory of overpriced haircare products that almost no one buys. They simply smarter and leaner, that’s all.

      What next, will the authorities do – force Norwegian airlines to charge higher prices, instead of realising that low cost airlines are the deliberate result of a highly specific business model?

      This is a travesty. Abuse of power and bordering on outright discrimination.

      • inquisitor

        I believe you got it right Kanon.

      • http://www.cloudberry.no/ Robby MacBeath

        Is 200kr an ‘unrealistical low price’?
        I think it’s a surreal price!

      • Tom Just Olsen

        Abuse the Power to enforce the law? Are you kidding?

  • Andy AUS

    Wow. The bubble that is Norway. People may claim, well we have higher salaries in Norway. Haircuts are 5 times more expensive in some countries. My salary is not 5 times more here and I do exactly the same job. There is no reason why hairdressers should charge absurdly high costs. Patronizing low cost service establishments?? Is patronizing expecting us to pay more!

  • Observer2796

    Hey Frenk! Nice to see you’re back.

  • inquisitor

    This is how it is here.
    The moment an immigrant makes some inroads into a profession and offers a highly competitive price because they live cheap and frugally and don’t need to make a BMW payment they are accused of doing something illegal.
    “Because it just doesn’t add up.”
    Monitor their cash registers and sick the tax authorities on them is the socialist call to justice.

    What is strange is that there are 17 hair salons in my small town. I can’t wrap my head around how they all survive. There aren’t that many heads to cut to keep them and all their employees going, but they are thriving and with no price wars between them to drive prices down due to supply and demand. You would think that after a couple years that a couple of them would go out of business due to the competition or prices would plummet, but that just does not happen.
    I guess they fear they will get raided should they drop the price down.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Many of them survive on not paying taxes and VAT. That’s what our tax crime chief is saying. Taxpayers in Norway can’t pay the welfare goods for all those immigrants arriving here that don’t contribute.

      • Kanon25

        “Here is no discrimination, but that the law is equal to everyone. Even Turkish barbers and car washers must pay tax.”
        - You are discriminating and so are the tax authorities. There is no claim and no evidence that these people are not paying tax. Did you grasp the fact? Clearly not. Their “crime” is to charge low prices.

        These people are being bullied for successfully competing with the established local business.

        If offering incredibly low prices is a crime, then arrst Bjørn Kjøs first and then come and tell us about it, instead of bullying poor immigrants.

        • inquisitor

          I could not have put it any better Kanon.

      • Robert Cumming

        think about it Tom, a Norwegian hairdresser might cut 2 heads and hour, charging 450 NOK per head, so 900 NOK, whereas your immigrant barber only cutting men’s hair for 200 NOK probably cuts 6 per hour.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          As long as they don’t cut the heads off it’s ok.

      • GBCD

        Serious TrollJustOlsen…if you don’t  like us expats get off the forum. Then vote to kick those of us in the maritime /offshore field out. Also don’t go around marrying foreign women and make sure you kinsmen dont…and for that matter come and collect your cracker clansmen cousins from South Dakota dude.

        • http://www.newsinenglish.no The Moderator

          Being an active user who posts a lot ot of comments on many topics does not make a person a “troll”. Also, unlike most trolls, Tom uses his real name, which is a good ting even if one disagrees with the opinion posted.
          As a general hitn to all of our commenters, calling names and attacking persons rather than their opinion rarely improves the discussion climate.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          Don’t shoot the pianist if you don’t want to hear the truth. I have been married to the same women (the girl next door, practically) for 28 years. If you pay taxes to Norway this should consern you too.

          • GTP2

            Why doesn’t it surprise me that you married the girl next door Tom?

  • Robert Neve

    I can tolerate paying 150 kr for a hair cut I get back in the UK at £7 but if they force them to start charging me 300 kr I will just ensure my home visits match up with my hair growth

  • Monti34

    I have a local hairdresser who charges 150nok per cut, two Turkish guys who spend all day on their feet cutting hair like a production line…yeah lets investigate them see if we can push them out of the business they shouldnt be working anyway, how dare they come here with their hard working low spending attitudes who the hell do they think they are!
    I also probably need to warn the wife as she recently started cutting our two sons hair at home..doesnt charge a penny…is that against Norwegian tax policy?

    • Robert Neve

      Oh that is bound to be against the Norwegian style. You’ll have swat smashing into the windows and taking you away for a 6 year prison sentence. Just as soon as the police figure out where the rope is kept and the union has approved the 3 other police to watch from the other side of the road to ensure the glass is broken correctly.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      So, we, the taxpayers shall pay the health care services they have the right to? And education for their kids? And their pensions? Yes, that’s how generous we are in this country that you can harvest all the welfare state goodies – without paying for them. And Turkish guys have the right to be here. They originally comes from Turkey, but first after having got a German citizenship after many years there. Which makes them EU citizens With the same rights as Norwegians according the EEA agreement.
      No Wonder ordinary Norwegians thinks the taxes are high…

      • Bhola

        why do you assume all the Immigrants or expats are not paying taxes?..85% of the work force in the oil industry from where norwegians get there welfare are expats and immigrants…and they all pay the taxes…without this 85% foreigners norway cannot survive…norwegians should open their eyes to the true situation in norway where they have severe shortage of the capable and qualified workforce..many of the norwegioan engineers as they wiolud like to call themselves does not even have a relevant bachelors degree…there is literally no competition to get into universities…they are lazy at work..they hardly work on fridays and like to push all the work to contractors or people working for them in their offices in asia and relax here and blame expats…moreover untill the expats gets a norwegian PR he does not get the free education for his children or pensions …if some is gettinga pension.expat or not..it means he worked for a long time that deserved the money..you should realize that norwegians can enjoy the welfare thats provided to them by the givernment is because of the exats and foreign work force….norway simply cannot survive with out it.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          Let’s get the facts right.
          There have been several immigrant business owners indicted for tax and VAT, fraud, and NAV fraud (sick leave Money, unemployment support etc.)
          We export oil and gas for 384 B NOK while we export – or about 60% of Our export. Oil & gas is only 28% of Our total GDP. Because we invest much of Our oil & gas Income overseas (‘The Oil fund’). Export from Mainland is 269 B NOK.
          Sure, we are dependant on oil & gas, but note also that a considderable part of Our imports is oil related. Just hypotetically: If we switched off oil Production tomorrow we could also cut out imports in the 100 B NOK class. Which soon could bring Our trade Balance to the Level of Sweden’s, at around 4 – 5%. Worse of cause, but still fine. – Norway has almost always had a trade surplus.
          Don’t BS me With ‘lazy Norwegian engineers’. That sort of statements are a bit difficult to prove in a country With one of the world’s highest GDP/capita (99.000 $ acc. IMF). I could point at documentation proving most other European nations ‘are double as lazy’.
          The large volume of immigrants come here because they can’t find jobs where they come from. We don’t need them and they don’t earn enough to cover the cost they represent to the Norwegian society in from of velfare goods, from education for their children, Health care, social welfare and pensions.
          We have just had a Red/Green government that focused on ‘more jobs’ in these difficult times when EU and the US are about to drive themselves over the Cliff. This has resulted in 300.000 more jobs since 2005. 200.000 of these have gone to – immigrants. How generous!
          Read my other posts here so I don’t have to repeat myself.

          • GTP2

            Tom, you are a bigot. I hope one day you fall on hard times. Maybe then you will look at the world differently. Just remember, next time you go shopping in Sweden, you are helping to damage the Norwegian economy.

            • Tom Just Olsen

              Calling names is not the way to discuss, Sure, it is tough to be told the truth.

  • Neil Ramsbottom

    I was under the impression that there is no minimum wage in Norway. From the nav.no website: “There is no standard minimum wage level in Norway.”

    • Robert Neve

      What that actually means is the government haven’t set a minimum wage in law. Instead the unions tell the government what the minimum wage for their industry is going to be for this year and then the unions use that to beat all the non union workers into joining them. I guess now the tax man thinks that the union decided wage is suddenly a legal requirement

      • Tom Just Olsen

        We have a ‘negotiated wage’. Not a minimum wage. It’s a reason for that. But that is not an issue here.
        A Turkish barber can earn as little as he likes – as long as he reports VAT – 20% of all his turnover – and pay income tax on his salary after having deducted his cost. If he then earn less than ‘negotiated industrial wage’ that is not an issue for the tax authorities.
        What the tax crime chief is pointing at is that ‘they do not pay taxes’. Many of them don’t bother to register their companies (acc. VG) even. It’s about time that Our tax authorities crack down on this. They have waited all too long.

        • Robert Neve

          Which is basically what I said. But the article clearly has the tax man saying they don’t pay the wage set out by the unions which is none of his damn business. Most of them I have seen are 1 man outfits anyway. And just for being picky they don’t have to declare VAT unless they are registered for VAT and that is optional depending upon certain rules related to total turnover etc.

          • Kanon25

            You are offering facts and logic. The guy above is just interested in spreading hate, stereotypes and discrimination. Facts not interesting to him at all.

            • Steve

              I am a foreigner and have lived in around 10 countries and visited close to 80, there are a number of issues here in reality, 1, The Norwegians are behaving this way because they feel threatened, as they don’t know how to compete with this type of behavior (real commercialism). 2, Experience tells them (this is my opinion) that a higher percentage of foreigners are likely not to pay their social dues compared to Norwegian business people as they may come from different cultures (think about how Greece got into the mess they are in) and if so, are rightly being cautious on behalf of all tax paying Norwegians. 3. Norway is not responding to this threat positively by accepting that there is no good reason for hard working people to be able to gain an advantage over its competitors through effort.

              I personally would not give cash businesses run by certain foreigners the benefit of the dowt.

              • Kanon25

                Racial or ethnic prejudice by yourself as an individual person is distasteful but not illegal. However it is illegal for a public official representing the state, to bring to bear such prejudice in his or her exercise of the considerable powers of the state.

                Mass sanctioning immigrant entrepreneurs like this, based on no evidence of wrongdoing, but merely the presence of hypercompetive competitive pricing is one such example. Such behaviour is reprehensible as it does not preserve democracies, but rather destroys them

  • DK1984

    I’ve been going for the past 4 years one of these places in town to get my hair cut. The men working there are all immigrants, very nice, and efficient (not to mention, service oriented). They charge under 200kr for a men’s hair cut and there is usually a line out the door on Saturdays. The total size of the “salon” is probably no bigger than 30 square meters, so rent can’t be that expensive. They have limited selection on hair care products (1 or 2 different brands on the shelf) and they even charge a fair price for them as well. They only take cash, but with the business they get and limited staff/space/inventory it adds up enough for me! I refuse to spend 500kr+ to get my hair cut. It’s simply absurd, and should be considered price gouging.
    I met a norwegian hairstylist at a party once who works at one of the “normal” places that charge the rediculous prices. She defended the price by saying that they also give the clients a massage and a coffee with their haircut. If I wanted a massage or a coffee, I wouldn’t be at the barber shop now would I.

    • inquisitor

      For 500kr….what kind of massage should we be talking about…and where?

      • DK1984

        Just a quick neck and shoulder rub (remember, it is only 500kr :P) I don’t remember the name of the place as its been a couple of years since the first and last time I met this person.

  • Robert Cumming

    this is very much a could only happen in Norway article. It’s always staggered me the vast number of hairdressers in my town of 26,000, there are 18 different saloons, they all charge the same prices except for the 2 immigrant barbers who charge a lot less but only cut mens hair.

    • inquisitor

      And those two immigrant barbers probably don’t travel to Vegas every year to attend a stylist expo while getting loaded and gambling at the Luxor.

      • Observer2796

        Howdy cowboy! Meet me at the saloon at noon.

  • Guest

    And then they complain that immigrants are not integrating and are just here for the benefits. Unbelievable! The state just seems to want to kill competition and so take maximum taxes from the people.

    • Kanon25

      What’s really had about it is these guys get discriminated against if they go out in to the job market. Last to get a job if there is one free and if they get it they sure wont be given the top salary grade.

      So here they are – they went out and found a smart way to evolve a business into low cost and make a living by doing so. And the govt is hounding them back onto the welfare line. Where they will cost the state money.

      This country is sick.

      • inquisitor

        Ah…to true.

        Damned if they do…damned if they don’t.

        Discrimination and racism is part of Norwegian cultural preservation.

        • Observer2796

          So sad. But the true selfless ones among us should take a stand. If these pols are so incompetent someone reliable should pick up the cause, start collecting the meager funds from minorities and start lobbying the frack out of these issues. If this is how business is done in Norway then play the game, don’t hate the players.

      • Tom Just Olsen

        Here is no discrimination, but that the law is equal to everyone. Even Turkish barbers and car washers must pay tax. Hopefully around 200.000 – 250.000 in tax per year. Which Equals the value of welfare goods per Citizen through a life span here in Norway. Otherwise he is subsidized by the other taxpayers.
        This country is sick? This country is all too generous! But we can’t keep it up anymore. Due to the flow of immigrants.

        • GTP2

          Tom, it is a fact that immigrants contribute more to Norway than they take. You are sounding like a bitter xenophob.

      • Tom Just Olsen

        ‘This country is sick?’ – No. This country is generous.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    As long as he pay taxes and VAT he can charge whatever he like. – The same goes for the Turkish barber.
    Good to hear that some of you find cheap food here in Norway. : )

    • Observer2796

      Hahaha… TJ. I don’t know how in your mind hot dogs are regarded as “food”. LMAO. And the condescending way you say it “Good to hear that some of you find cheap food here in Norway”. Haha It’s like you talking to little squirrels finding nuts.

      • Tom Just Olsen

        Ha, ha!

        I never eat hot dogs. Never! Have you ever been to Germany and seen the hot dogs down there? One is a meal for four persons.

        • Observer2796

          Yes, yes yes. Sauerkraut mit rauchwurst. It’s just so tasty and filling. Thinking of it, I may make that this evening. Have to measure my sodium intake for the day though.

  • Observer2796

    Yup.

  • Adam

    So long as the government and unions in Norway continue to conspire against the laws of economics, these guys will be around to restore the balance.

  • max riolo

    Coming From Australia, salaries close to Norway , and even closer after tax or higher in some businesses : cheap haircut , often Lebanese guy, $ 10=57 Kr , expensive haircut , often Italian, Greek guy , $ 25 = 140 Kr and I refuse to believe that those guys don’t pay taxes at all . Tip: when you need a haircut jump in the cheapest plane for anywhere in Europe , get a haircut over there , get a nice proper meal and drinks at a restaurant , buy some booze for home and in the end, especially if you live close to the airport, the whole thing is slightly more than a haircut in your town :))

    • Observer2796

      You know Max that pro tip is right on the money. Plusses and minuses it does pay to do just what you suggest. If Norwegians would do this their worldview would absolutely increase and put their petty issues in perspective.

  • Robert Neve

    No it’s another reason why some people need to charge 500kr and others can survive on 200kr yet both pay taxes.

  • Robert Neve

    Sounds unreasonable. The only proof this guy has of tax fraud is because he has decided that the prices are to low. That’s not a reason. He’s just decided that because they are immigrants they must be cheating on taxes. That’s stereotyping and racism. Rather than making the lives of small businesses extremely difficult in red tape maybe he should be dealing with the harder cases of the millionaires and companies you are always whining about not paying tax.

  • GTP2

    Now you yourself are making accusations based on your xenophobic fears Tom. How do you know kanon25 is claiming without paying into the system?

    • Tom Just Olsen

      No, I am not. I, with the majority of the Norwegian People, follow this debate in the Norwegian media.
      Have you ever been to the tax authorities? Have you noticed how diversified ethnic background their employees have? Most of those I have been in contact with, regarding quite complicated company tax Law are Young women of Pakistani background. I have difficult seeing these ‘victimising Turkish barbers’ – just because they are Turkish. What utterly BS.
      So, you are the one ‘making accusations based on Your xophonic fears’.

  • Observer2796

    Don’t feign ignorance TJ. You KNOW he means abuse of their investigative powers. They could go after bigger cases than harassing the little man trying to make a decent living. Besides do Norwegian tax inspectors still have street beat? It’s gone out of style 10 years ago in the rest of northern Europe.

    Norway has one the most tightly controlled societies and should just let these people carve their part of the cake. What is better than weaning them off of benefits and let them enjoy some pride in what they do?

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Particularly police (økokrim) is all bogged down in large complicated tax investigations. Like oil rigs sailing in and out of Our teritorial waters while changing flag to save hundreds of millions in tax. Those get the priority. Police don’t even have capacity to indict large obvious tax fraud in the building industry (also immigrants from an EU) already investigated by the tax authority. Let alone Turkish barbers. But the barbers must reckon With an inspection (bokettersyn) and a tax bill if taxes have not been paid.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    They are under strong suspicion. A lot of People work long hours in this country. But they must pay taxes!
    Since the Red/Green government took Power in 2005 it has been created 300.000 New jobs in Norway. Most of these (200.000 +)have gone to ‘immigrants’. Discrimination?

    • Kanon25

      “Strong suspicion” = prejudice with no evidence. That’s a distasteful practice that has no place in a modern democracy.

    • Kanon25

      “Since the Red/Green government took Power in 2005 it has been created 300.000 New jobs in Norway. Most of these (200.000 +)have gone to ‘immigrants’. Discrimination?”

      Job and wage discrimination among Norwegian employers is well documented, both by the OECD and by Norwegian research institutions. Yes up to and including now, today. Go and educated yourself if you dont know.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    It’s not harassment. It’s a warning.

  • Observer2796

    Inspires memories doesn’t it. However you’re dating yourself here. We’ve moved on… Breaking Bad, Homeland etc. Look into those. BTW Miami Vice was about something totally other than tax collection.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Moved where?

      I saw this program on CNBC yesterday about swat teams fighting (literally, With Assault rifles, bullet proof west & biceps) health care fraud. It took a while for me to understand that the fraudsters were the suppliers of Medicare/Medicaid services. Not the users.
      - What a mess! : )
      You live in Norway, Observer?

      • Observer2796

        We’ve moved on to other TV shows. Try Homeland. On Netflix or DL the series.
        And no I no longer live in Norway. Left in 2010.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          Homeland!?

          Then you must move over here. It’s here it happens! Obama and NSA?
          Nothing to Sylvi Listhaug – and Per Sandberg – remember the Frp guy who held a speech in Parliament drunk? He is quitting politics. He is sore because he did not get the minister post he wanted. – He has written a book! – No gossip journalist in the US can match this.
          The Whole political establishment is shaking. Frp parties usually ends with somebody being raped. Most often boys!
          Soon we will have part 3. (Not for children of less than 18 years old).

  • Kanon25

    “In Norway everybody earning from about 750.000 NOK and up subsidises everybody earning less”

    A basic study of economics would clarify that quite the opposite. The class of people you are speaking off, you are speaking off are mostly management class wage earners and capital owners ….who are basically living off the backs of those who earn less but are less able to control the value the produce. Its the way capitalism works.

    I’m not even a communist by any meas, but any self respecting person with a university eduction should at least have the gumption to know the differentiate between the concepts of who produces value and who EXTRACTS it. This is like Economics 101 stuff here.

  • Robert Neve

    No they don’t. They have to produce a tax report that is truthful regardless of if your tax authorities believe it to be true or not. If they believe it to be a lie then they should investigate it, collect the evidence and act. Not just decide they are all lying and enforce draconian measures on them.

    And they can indeed be non registered for vat but it seems the limit is less than when I started up my company and I find it dubious that any of them are under the 50,000kr limit.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Sure, but the Turkish barbers I have seen they have several employees. Then they have to report ‘arbeidsgiveravgift’, VAT, tax etc.

  • Robert Neve

    That was neither in this article or the Dagsavisen article I read so you I hope you have proof to back up your claim. I’m also interested to see the reason why they decided not to follow up on the cases. Care to provide that evidence or is this more Tom say so must be right?

    • Tom Just Olsen

      He was even interviewed in NRK and TV2. That Norwegian tax authorities will go after Turkish barbers ‘just to mug them – here in Norway, – what a lot of bollocks. I am just shocked at the attitude here. As long as you just work hard you don’t have to pay taxes in Norway. Is this the typical attitude among immigrants?

      • Robert Neve

        Nobody here has once said that it is ok to not pay taxes. What we have all said is just because they don’t charge stupidly high prices doesn’t mean they are doing illegal behaviour and deserve to be smashed down by the state. Frankly to me the fact they are going after these rather than the large corporations that everyone knows tax dodges is telling enough. The fact the authorities also believe that you can’t offer an affordable price and be paying all the tax is also rather telling on the state’s own opinion on it’s tax regime.

  • GTP2

    Furious that the competition are willing to work harder and longer while offering a cheaper service. I feel this is the real issue, Norwegians have had it to easy for too long.

  • GTP2

    They are all around you Tom, doctors, nurses, engineers etc. but the ones we should be thankful for are those who clean toilets and care for the elderly. Jobs Norwegians are too good for. Contribution to society is not just the amount of tax one pays.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      That is true. it is important not to generalize. Most immigrants are hard working and Law abiding. As ordinary employees, just like the majority of Norwegians, have no or little possibility to fraud on taxes.

      But it is destroying for the immigrant’s reputation when Polish building workers, having their own Company, reports themselves sick. Receives sick Money. While their wives, allegedly, performed the building work. By this, their wives earned ‘pension points’ from Our lavish pension system. But it turned out that the men were spotted on a building site. Their wives had hardly been to Norway, it turned out.

      The Norwegian prosecutor, – surely just a racist SOB, said that his case ‘is just the tip of the iceberg’. This case went for the Courts right in the middle of this last election campaign and led to a full majority of Høyre and Frp on the opinion polls.

      More of this and Norwegians are no longer motivate to pay 40% Income tax, 20% VAT etc. I regard this last election as very much a reaction on fraud cases like this among immigrants lately. Deeply unfair for all of us, immigrants and Norwegians, who work hard and play by the rules.

  • GTP2

    So the measure of how much one contributes to Norwegian society is the amount of tax they pay. Surely you can see that you are talking nonsense?

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Not only. But tax contribution is a great part of it, yes. We can’t just sit and see our welfare state being plundered. ‘Norway functions as a social Security Office for Europe’ as one politician put it during this last election.
      OECD have written a report (I have not read it) with a different conclusion on the advantages of low cost immigrants in general. Pointing to ‘what huge profit’ that gave private businesses. That is just fine, but if that profit does not compensate for the ‘the above mentioned plunder’, it’s a loss for the nation.
      Out of 300.000 companies in Norway, only about 100.000 pay tax. Of the tax evaders you find Coca Cola, Burger King, McDonalds, Peppes Pizza, American Bistro (TGI Fridays) – the list is long and includes all the Foreign brands run by multi national Companies. From car imports to jeans.
      While their Norwegian competitors pay tax…..

      • Robert Neve

        That’s what I have been saying. Why is the tax man wasting time and effort chasing after tiny fish whom which many, if not all, are most likely not even breaking the law yet ignoring the huge fish that most definitely are?

        What else are you suppose to think if not discrimination? Honestly if you went to Turkey and saw a Norwegian man working in his own business, on long hours and low wages to survive in the country. Whom the state has no evidence is doing anything wrong yet is being picked on by said government because it has decided he isn’t paying a few 1,000kr in tax. Yet all the large companies and corporations who the government knows is not paying 100s of millions of tax are completely ignored. Would you not think he was being picked on?

        • GTP2

          Probably because legally they’re not doing anything wrong. They hire the best accountants who know all the legal loopholes and move money around so avoiding tax. Whether it’s ethicals another thing but they are usually playing the system.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          If you read what I have answered Observer elsewhere here I don’t think Our tax authorities have the Resources to spend much time on Turkish barbers. A pitty, because several have been taken for tax fraud and NAV fraud before. Several cases have been in the media. That does not exclude that ‘some’ work hard and play by the rules.
          Turkey? It’s possibly the most
          As for the big multinational Corporations, the Red Green government is has changed the tax Law for them. The New proposed law

  • Robert Neve

    But that only accounts for 6.4% of the entire immigrant population. Given the challenges they face with language, discrimination and in a lot of cases the system being set against them that’s hardly a high number. Besides as you have pointed out in a previous post unemployment benefits are stupidly low unless they actually had a job for some time so either these unemployed immigrants are cheap or they paid into the system and are entitled to those benefits. Not to mention that the Norwegian portion of that bill costs us taxpayers nearly double that. But you don’t see me complaining that Norwegian youths are favouring benefits over actually getting a job do you? Or accusing them of being dishonest or cheats.

  • Robert Neve

    If you had ever had the misfortune of being an immigrant here in Norway you would know just how hard they have to work to get jobs. Unless you have an extremely rare skill that Norwegians don’t have you will be passed over. I have heard it many times from others and I have had it happen to me. You only have to look at the various surveys that show only 37% of Norwegian companies would even consider hiring an immigrant and that’s from their own admission. But that’s a whole other debate already had on this website.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      With more than 300.000 more jobs 5 – 6 years here in Norway, most of them in private sector, of which 200.000 have gone to immigrants; that can’t be bad!

      • Robert Neve

        yes which is why on the article related to that I pointed out that clearly those few companies that actually hire foreigners are doing well. And those run by racist bigots who think immigrants are only a negative thing the country doesn’t need are stagnant. Because clearly at least 66% of the jobs made in recent years were in those 37% of companies.

    • Robert Cumming

      My rare skill was being a salesperson who spoke English. For my first job here my rare skill was being able to walk around town from 0200 to 0700 delivering newspapers. If you’re prepared to work there are jobs for you.

  • Andy AUS

    Cancelled if its on a Friday afternoon.

    • GTP2

      If Norway ever went to war it would finish Friday lunchtime.

  • BobBobbyBobertsen

    In my 5 years in Norway I have paid well over one million kroner in income tax alone. Add to that VAT on everything I buy, “sin taxes”, and bompenger, and you get the picture. I have taken a total of 10 sick days in those 5 years, and visited my fastlege only once – I usually have to go to a private doctor and pay a fortune because my fastlege is always on vacation, and changing it doesn’t help. I don’t plan to have kids or retire in Norway.

    In the interests of fairness, can I have my money back when I leave? Or will you acknowledge that many non-Norwegians are net contributors to the system? I doubt each of my sick days costs NOK 150,000+ to anybody.

    Please don’t tell me Norway afforded me the opportunity to make the money to pay that tax so I should be grateful, that is a common insult which implies I couldn’t have done it elsewhere.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      You have obviously been a good contributor. They are few. Most of the People in Norway, Norwegians and immigrants alike, don’t pay the SSB ‘break even’.
      No, you will not have Your Money back. But the 5 years you have been working here you will find very valuable when you retire. Check if these 5 years will be Your most valuable years when Your pension is due for being paid out.

    • Robert Cumming

      You can’t have a very good doctor, when mine is on holiday he has a locum take over, they costs the same as my usual doctor.

  • Monti34

    Nothing like pointing the finger Tom lol Romantic notions? are we just meant to assume that all immigrants or certainly the majority that operate their own businesses are non or low payers of tax?
    Working hard is nothing to do with not paying tax, how many small shops or hairdressers ran by Norwegians employ the whole family, work long hours and dont charge overtime?
    Sorry but the lets call it your *strong views* on non Norwegians are starting to show yet again…

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Hairdressing and Retailing in, say, Oslo have typically been family businesses. Surely, you might find tax fraud also among them. That is no better. Most likely, you will find Turkish barbers playing by the rules. Which is excellent.
      Discussed this with my neighbor yesterday. He reminded me of a Court case in 2005 when a Turkish barber was charged With tax & VAT fraud, not paying employer fee (arbeidsgiveravgift) and NAV fraud (sick leave Money, unemployment support etc.) big scale. A Medical doctor of Pakistani (I think) background was charged With ‘selling’ sick leave reports’ in a related case; blunt bribery.
      This Turkish barber With a shop at Grønland here in Oslo had all these relatives visiting Norway on 3 months tourist visa. Young men. They worked shifts in the barber shop during the 3 months and could earn net between 80 – 100.000 NOK – tax free, no VAT, no . Which must be far more than a median annual Income in Turkey 9 years ago.
      My neighbor is a teacher and have had this Turkish barber’s two sons in School – which he spoke highly of. Very decent boys. One is doing military service up in the far North of Norway right now. While their father have done jail time (served through custody, most likely) and is banned from certain NAV services in the future. But he still has right to a pension (minstepensjon) and a heart operation, if that is needed.

    • GTP2

      Tom, you are coming across as a bit of a bigot. You clearly see immigration as a threat toNorwegian culture. Thankfully for you though, those terrible foreigners came and saved Norway’s arse during the war.

      • Tom Just Olsen

        Sure, there are some 20.000 (many say 30.000) Russians burried in Norwegian soil… The higest number of any nationality of our allies. The Russians pulled politely out of Finmark in September 1945. All that was soon forgotten during the Cold War.

        • GTP2

          I don’t think the Russians were really “allies”. They were defending their own land, nothing else.

          • Tom Just Olsen

            I beg Your pardon!
            More Russian soldiers died at Stalingrad than all British and American total WWII casualties combined. Everybody was ‘defending their own land’ in WWII. The Brits and Americans tried to protect their colonies too.

            • GTP2

              The Russians didn’t fight alongside the allies though did they? Anyway, my point stands, you can thank the foreigners for liberating Norway from the Nazis. What price can you put on that Tom? The Poles especially, who you seem to paricularly dislike, played a huge part.

              • Tom Just Olsen

                The The Soviet Union was part of the allies. – Can you history at all?
                Many of the Poles working in Norway today comes from cities like Stettin, Swinoujscie (Schweinemünde), Gdynia and Gdansk. – That was part of Germany before the war….
                That said, Poland was some of the hardest hit countries by WWII With some 7 million casualties. I certainly have nothing against Poles. They are victims of this hairraising way the European Union treats their citizens. – Particularly those from Eastern Europe. Particularly the left behind children in these countries are suffering. While EU do nothing.

      • GBCD

        Yeah man…why bother with this expat site full of scary white foreigners from underdeveloped countries like New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain and the US, if you have such a low opinion of foreigners in your country

  • frenk

    Tom….as you keep reminding us….Norway has lots of ‘spare’ cash…and can easily pay 4 – 5 Billion NOK per year. An earlier article on this site openly stated that Norwegians don’t mind paying ‘high taxes’…so they are therefore not bothered where and how it is spent?

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Norwegians don’t mind paying taxes as long as it goes to keeping up the welfare state. These Polish building workers indicted for NAV fraud right in the middle of the election campaign set the scene for an ugly atmosphere. Yes, we are very ‘bothered’ about where and how it is spent.

      • GTP2

        You keep talking about the same group of Polish workers to push your argument against immigrants Tom. What you don’t seem to understand is that 99% of immigrants are hard working, often doing the dirty work that most Norwegians don’t want. Of course some immigrants will exploit the system but that will always be the case, in every country across the world.
        Instead of criticising those few, why not embrace the vast majority who are helping the Norwegian economy?

      • frenk

        I’m sure we are talking about a ‘tiny’ amount of money – certainly much smaller than the amount of money lost to the Norwegian tax system from Norwegians shopping in Sweden.
        I’ve noticed Nowegian’s are desperate to avoid the ‘real issues’ regarding the cost of living…and want to focus on ‘minor’ tax frauds which have no real effect on the economy or ‘real folks lives’….!

      • GTP2

        Norwegians, like everyone else, hate paying taxes. That is why they travel to Denmark and Sweden to buy alcohol and other stuff that is heavily taxed here.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          I was citing the conclusion from a poll made here in Norway during the last election and that was also referred to here on Norwegian News in English.

  • GTP2

    Do you truly believe that Norwegians work harder than immigrants Tom? Come on, get real man.

  • Robert Cumming

    Norwegians are just too damn lazy to get in on the act. We have two immigrants barbers shops in town they charge 150 NOK for a kid and 200 for an adult, they only cut men’s hair, the local Norwegian barber thought he could continue his business charging 400 for a men’s cut, he’s no longer in business.

  • Robert Cumming

    Tom we pay taxes on everything, a little cheating every now and again is good for your soul.

  • Robert Cumming

    We should be buying Gripen’s from Sweden.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Absolutely! The F35 is going to be astronomically expensive. (Smells of bogus the whole thing) Not the least because it is so noisy that a whole new base must be built for the thing.

      A range of nations are now evaluating Gripen (Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Brazil, Croatia, Switzerland etc.). But none of them like to buy a plane produced only small scale. If the Norwegian government changed their mind now it could release a ‘landslide’ orders for Swedish SAAB and British BAE Systems. Both nations we have deep rooted business relations with. Far more so than the US.

      A landslide of orders to SAAB could have far reaching consequences for Norwegian industry.

      But it is not going to happen. To my knowledge only SV is for that we should buy Gripen. Pitty.

      • Robert Cumming

        Switzerland bought Gripen earlier this year.

  • Robert Cumming

    Tom you’re forgetting the hundreds of thousands of Norwegians on long term sickness benefits, many of those are of working age, I’ve got neighbours both in there twenties who are on long term sickness benefits, they are ethnic Norwegians, the ones on the other side are in there fifties , neither have worked for 10 plus years, they’re ethnic Norwegians as well.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      At any one time there is about 75.000 (Close to 100.000 in the flue season) on sick leave in Norway, these days. Back in the mid 90- it was half. The big immigrant explotion came after 2005.
      Nobody can go on sick leave Money ‘for years’. Then they either get an sick pension (uføretrygd) after having been on ‘arbeidsavklaringspenger’ for – years. Which means NAV tries to teach them another trade etc. Today it is close to impossible to get a sick pension. Reckon With that the New government will cut out the whole reform. Also to be reckonned with is that sick leave compensation will be reduced.

      • GTP2

        Tom, I really don’t know what your point is. What do you want? Remember,Norway’s riches come from oil, oil that is drilled and refined by a large number of immigrants. (Oil is not sustainable and one day Norway will again have a poor economy, either because the oil has run out or because cleaner fuels have taken over.)
        Whichever way you look at it, Norway needs immigrants and the few kroner that are lost to fraud are a drop in the ocean. You seem to be looking at things with tunnel vision through your FRP tinted glasses.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          Norway was a rich country long – long before we found oil. We have never really been poor – relatively speaking. Due to our shipping business and natural resources.
          Our oil production is falling gradually, but at a slow pace, as expected. Gas production is stable, but prices are falling. Gradually we will have to shift our resources to other sources of Income. We set aside some 200 – 300 B NOK each year in our oil fund which is invested in shares, bonds and real estate all around the world. The Norwegian oil fund is one of the largest wealth fund in the world.
          No, we don’t need immigrants! I don’t want to be rude, but that is the truth.
          Most Norwegians are against ‘all the immigrants’. Sure, there is a dash of racism in it too. But now too many immigrants come here in too short a time. Immigrants come to get work – because they come from poor countries and badly run countries.
          Norwegians are deeply worried about this economical crisis developing in Europe where a whole generation will not find work. We can’t help them all.

      • Robert Cumming

        Long term leave is different from sickl leave Tom.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          Sure, I don’t know what it is called in English.

  • Robert Cumming

    It’s not just VAT Tom, think of all the jobs and the income tax the govt is missing out on, surely you’ve noticed the lack of supermarkets in towns close to the Norwegian border.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      And the Swedes go to Denmark to buy cheap booze. The Danes go to Germany, the Finns to Estonia, – and so on. Different alcohol taxes is typical motivator. This beer traffic going across the Danish/German border irritates the Danish government far more. But the Germans won’t increase alcohol tax in Schleswig Holstein ‘because unemployment is so high’….. Go figure!
      The lower alcohol tax a country has, the higher the national debt. – How can that be…? Give it some thought…
      It is a goal for the Norwegian government that the border trade shall not increase too much. That’s why they (Høyre) reduced alcohol taxes a little to stop a rampant border trade back in 2002 and 2003. But things have changed. Today the largest shopping center owner across the border in Sweden is Olav Thon; the largest economic contributor to Frp. He bought and increased these centers right after the booze tax was introduced.
      Now it isn’t that cheap in Sweden anymore. NOK has fallen 16% to SEK in 9 months, thanks to big mouth Ketil Solvik Olsen. Now it is ‘only’ beer, wine (particularly), sometimes red meat, cigarettes and petrol that is cheaper. Nescafe, Coca Cola, Cappuccino and all the branded foodstuff is today more expensive in Sweden. – Many Norwegians buy it there anyhow.

      • Robert Cumming

        It doesn’t matter where other nations go Tom, it matters where Norwegians go.

  • GTP2

    What makes you think that Norway is so special Tom? All the western European countries are getting their share of immigrants from Eastern Europe. You yourself are free to move to any other EEC country to find work. Maybe you believe that Norway is for Norwegians?

    • Tom Just Olsen

      We get more immigrants. 78.000 per year is hefty. It is about the same as Sweden gets – with double the population. – Or twice as much as Lampedusa, Italy.
      - I suspect that they don’t come to enjoy our horrible climate. As SSB say: ‘there is signs of welfare shopping’.

  • GTP2

    But who is going to do those low paid jobs if you send the immigrants home Tom? You reall need to look at the bigger picture.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      We did them ourselves for 30% higher pay, in many cases!
      Many of the low paid jobs goes to foreigners pendling between their homes in, say, Poland and Norway. Oslo’s garbage collection is a good example. Before it was done by Norwegians living in Oslo – spending their salaries in Oslo.
      Now the salaries of a few thousand employees in foreign companies registered in tax havens and employees living in Stettin, Polen. Doing the job for half the pay. Have I got lower tax? No. Now retailers in Oslo complain that sales is falling. Guess why.
      Nor do we (well, most of us) want a ghetto of low paid workers here in Norway. It is no advantage to the nation. It’s a disadvantage, as I have pointed out before. We want everybody to have a decent salary.
      Low paid workers? That is Europe! Europe ends at Svinesund.

      • GTP2

        Shop owners are struggling because EVERYONE, including Norwegians have realised that most things in the shops are hugely overpriced, even considering the higher wages. EVERYONE is online buying abroad where prices are cheaper and service is better. I don’t buy anything, apart from food, in Shops here because the choice is poor, prices are too high and the customer service is awful. Small items can be purchased online and bigger items are bought during trips abroad.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          Absolutely right. More online trading is hitting retailers all over the world. Worst it will be for cities like Singapore, Abu Dabi and Hong Kong. Buying things when we are abroad is something we all do here.

  • GBCD

    Because item number one on the agenda is protecting you against a bad hair day