Norway’s conservative coalition government claims it’s lowering taxes for the majority of Norwegians, but it’s going to cost more to drive and have some fun. It will also cost more to pay the obligatory annual “license” fee that funds state broadcaster NRK.
The state’s VAT on travel and cultural events will still be less than half the amount (25 percent) charged on most all items except food (15 percent). It will rise, however, from 8 percent to 10 percent.
That means the price of hotel rooms, cinema tickets, admission to amusement parks and museums, ferry tickets and other forms of transport (train, airlines and bus, for example) will rise at least 2 percent. Norway’s tax on gasoline (petrol) will rise by 2.5 percent, to NOK 4.99 per liter.
“This is bad news for travelers,” Torbjørn Lothe, managing director for NHO Luftfart, told NRK. Marianne Brockmann Bugge, a tax expert and attorney at law firm Harboe & Co, told NRK the higher tax “will surely be noticed by consumers.”
It was the former left-center government, headed by Labour’s Jens Stoltenberg, that first imposed the 8 percent “fun taxes” on cultural events in 2008. A tax reform commission recently recommended raising it to 15 percent, to help standardize VAT rates, but the government balked, opting for the hike of just two percentage points, expected nonetheless to bring in around NOK 650 million extra on an annual basis.
The NRK licensing fee, meanwhile, was raised by NOK 25, to NOK 2,577 per year. The increase in VAT (called moms or MVA in Norwegian) results in a total increase of NOK 78.50, with the state pocketing NOK 53.50.