Violin sale led to big tax bill

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It was no surprise that Norwegian performing artists like Kygo, Alan Walker and members of the legendary band a-ha would show up on the latest tax lists with substantial fortunes. The biggest fortune of them all, however, was held by 81-year-old violinist Arve Tellefsen.

Arve Tellefsen PHOTO: Tore Sætre/Wikimedia

“I sold my violin for 80 million kroner,” Tellefsen explained to newspaper VG. Not only did that leave him with a taxable net worth of NOK 90,774,551, the gain on the sale resulted in Tellefsen claiming 19th place on the list of who earned the most in Norway in 2017.

Tellefsen told VG that he paid NOK 1 million for the violin in 1970, which he described as “a lot of money at the time.” He sold it last year to a German investor who wants to remain anonymous, on the condition he can continue to play it for the rest of his life.

The gain, combined with other earnings for the man who has shunned retirement, boosted Tellefsen’s taxable income last year to NOK 84,732,560, according to the tax lists released on Wednesday. Tellefsen subsequently paid tax of NOK 21,211,550, way more than any other performing artist in Norway.

Alan Walker was the next most-highly paid, with taxable income of NOK 12 million last year and net worth of NOK 9.7 million, on which he paid NOK 4.8 million in tax. Electro-pop star Kygo paid tax of NOK 2.45 million on earnings of NOK 5.57 million and a fortune listed at NOK 52.4 million.

Morten Harket, lead singer in the band a-ha, was listed with earnings of NOK 5.74 million, while his two bandmates Magne Furuholmen and Pål Waaktaar-Savoy listed zero income but fortunes of NOK 6.6 million and NOK 14.3 million respectively. The band just announced that they’ll be launching another European tour.

To see state broadcaster NRK’s list of Norwegian artists’ incomes, fortunes and taxes, click here (external link, in Norwegian, but scroll to the bottom for the list.)

newsinenglish.no staff