Q&A – Questions and answers regarding customs clearance
Q: If I cannot find the answer here, what can I do?
A: Call the information desk at the Norwegian Customs Directory 22 86 03 12, or e-mail your question to [email protected]
The Norwegian Tax Directorate is responsible for duties payable, Food Safety Authority for import of foodstuffs, the Directorate of Health for medication and goods containing alcohol, the Directorate for civil protection is responsible for fireworks and explosives, and the Police for the import of weapons.
Q: When do I not need to pay VAT and customs?
A: A private person, not firms, who receive a gift from another private person who has a permanent address abroad, may receive a gift of no more than NOK 1000 in value without having to pay taxes or VAT for this gift.
You must report the actual value of the goods. No matter the reason for receiving discounted or free goods of any kind, both as a private person or as a company, the goods must be declared at its actual value. Regardless of the price you paid.
Q: Must I always pay customs on goods from abroad?
A: Most goods are without customs payable. Exceptions could be goods like clothing, foodstuffs, beverages and living plants. You may achieve reduced or be relieved from paying customs, if a certain commodity is included in a trade agreement between Norway and the country the goods is sent from. You will also need proof of origin, and documentation that the goods are produced in this country.
Q: Is a valid proof of origin the only way to avoid paying customs?
A: For some products, especially edible products, you can apply for a reduction or even removal of customs to the Agriculture Directorate. The import only concerns a specific type of goods with documented country of origin, or from specific countries or production countries. Some goods also qualify for reduced customs duties or buying of import allowances.
The point of customs clearance must be within the dates of all granted applications and documents, which means you cannot apply for approval after the declaration has been submitted to the Norwegian Customs.
Q: What does a proof of origin look like?
A: In some cases, if such a dutiable commodity is valued less than NOK 50.000, you will need an explicit and signed text document included in the commercial invoice from the supplier. The name of this document is an invoice declaration. If the value exceeds this term, you will need a Movement Certificate Euro 1 – certificate of origin approved and stamped by the customs department in the country of export.
Some importers are eligible to avoid both a limit to the value of the goods, as well as the certificates of origin. The invoice declaration must then include the authorisation number for this preferential treatment. All terms regarding certificates of origin must be set in the trade agreement to pass as valid documentation for preferential treatment.
If you do an online search for words like invoice declaration and certificate of origin you will find examples of various types of proof of origin.
Q: What is a special duty tax?
A: Special duty tax is a tax on imported goods, in addition to customs and VAT. It can be due to the environment, price competition with Norwegian commodities, health or similar effects, but can also be a contribution to state income. These special duties can also influence the level of smuggler’s trade.
Q: What is a customs tariff number, and what is this tariff used for?
A: A customs tariff number, a HS-Code, is a code describing a certain type of commodity. The Norwegian code has 8 digits, in the combination of 2 numbers, dot, 2 numbers, dot, 4 numbers. As an example, a pair of jeans for women can be: 62.04.6209
The first 6 digits are internationally the same for the same type of product. The rest may vary in both the number of digits and which numbers are used. In Norway, these commodity codes can be found in a list called “Tolltariffen” – the customs tariffs.
This list can be used to decide the correct tariff, customs, duties and any restrictions that may apply to specific commodities.
Q: What is meant by restrictions of goods?
A: Restricted goods is a type of commodity that cannot be imported freely. This could be commodities viewed as weapons or ammunition, explosives, medicine, or goods that could pose as a threat to the environment.
Some commodities may have a total ban, whilst others may only be imported by persons with an authorisation for an import permit issued by the appropriate department.
A large knife could be defined as a weapon, which needs a specific import permission, or just a decorating item, and therefore problematic to decide if no permit is presented. Trying to import restricted goods without a permit present at the time of customs clearance, will normally end by the customs authorities impounding the goods.