Norwegian tax authorities have spent the past several months investigating all of Norway’s top-league ice hockey clubs. The head of the national hockey association (Norges ishockeyforbund) told state broadcaster NRK that he’s worried about what the tax investigators might find.
“We see a need for improvements,” ice hockey president Gerhard Nilsen told NRK.
Local tax offices all over the country have been auditing the hockey clubs since February, looking for errors in tax payments. It’s the first time the tax authorities have undertaken such a systematic examination of a sports branch.
“We’ve been looking at how players are paid in the form of fringe benefits like cars and housing,” Astr Marija Rosenqvist of the Oslo tax office (Oslo Kemnerkontoret) told NRK. “We’ve also looked at how foreign players are taxed in Norway.”
Of all the 10 ice hockey clubs in Norway, only the Stavanger Oilers has achieved financial success. Most of the others are struggling financially, and their budgets for players’ salaries aren’t very high.
She said the ice hockey clubs were targeted after tax auditors found errors at football clubs, and suspected that similar problems could be found in other sports clubs. Results of their ice hockey probe are expected in a few weeks.