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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Fortunes revealed as tax deadline looms

Norwegian taxpayers must file their annual tax returns by Friday, and as the April 30 deadline looms comes news that more fortunes hidden overseas seem to be coming home.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported recently that nearly two dozen Norwegians have admitted to tax authorities just since New Year that they’ve had assets stashed abroad that went undeclared for years. In Norway, taxpayers not only pay income tax but also formueskatt, literally a “fortune tax” on their net worth.

After a former mayor of Oslo was also caught with large undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland, tax authorities ushered in a period of “tax amnesty.” It allows remorseful taxpayers to declare their fortunes without being penalized, as long as they pay taxes owed.

Anyone caught with overseas fortunes, however, faces back taxes, fines and maybe even jail terms. With more countries exchanging tax information, the danger of being discovered has risen.

So far 477 persons and companies have admitted to formerly hidden overseas assets, and 271 cases evaluated by Norway’s eastern tax district (Skatt Øst) have uncovered assets valued at a total of around NOK 2 billion (about USD 333 million), reports Aftenposten. The 22 admissions made recently resulted in declaration of NOK 323 million worth of taxable assets.

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