Open tax lists may be closed

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Norway’s state tax director is fed up with the “media circus” linked to annual release of public tax lists. He’s proposing new restrictions that will lower the degree of sensation and intrusion in private lives.

Norway has a long history of making its tax lists public but the age of the Internet has led to a degree of exposure and commercialization unforeseen by lawmakers of long ago who decreed public access to tax files.

Now tax director Svein Kristensen is proposing only making the tax lists public for a period of three weeks after release, limits on how the public can search online through the tax rolls, elimination of Internet search functions by a person’s name and sanctions over any violation of the new rules.

The proposals, if adopted, would put an end to media outlets’ tendency to capitalize on the tax list release by offering a variety of search functions that allow Norwegians to snoop at will for unlimited periods of time, to find out how much they earned or paid in tax. At least two of the parties forming Norway’s coalition government are receptive to the proposals that would restrict access to the tax lists.

Views and News staff