As we inch closer to the implementation date of 1 January 2022 for Norway’s new digitized VAT return, let’s take a second look at the details.
Norway announced its intentions to introduce a new digital VAT return in late 2020, with an intended launch date of 1 January 2022. With this update comes the removal of box numbers, which will be replaced by a dynamic list of specifications. The report will also repurpose the Norwegian Standard Tax Codes from the SAF-T financial file to provide more detailed reporting and flexibility. It’s important to note that the obligation to submit a SAF-T file will not change with the introduction of this new VAT return.
This change is for the VAT return only – with the SAF-T codes being re-used and re-purposed to provide additional information. Businesses must still comply with the Norwegian SAF-T mandate where applicable and must also submit this new digital VAT return. With the new VAT return, the Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten) seeks to simplify reporting, better administration, and improved compliance.
Details on technical specifications
Skatteetaten has created many different web pages with detailed information for businesses to look through over the next few months, including the following:
- Implementation guide – created to assist developers and businesses in assessing the technical requirements needed to implement upcoming changes
- Validation rules – continually updated as Norway will add more validation rules as needed
- XSD for VAT Return – contains the technical specifications (XSD) for the new VAT return as well as example files and descriptions of the fields contained in the return
- API submission – contains information on submission and validation of the VAT return, including error messages
- Testing Portal Information – contains information on test data and environments
- Questions and answers – FAQ page for businesses to understand answers to common questions that may come up, including registration, submission method and additional files
Norway is encouraging direct ERP submission of the VAT return where possible. However, the tax authorities have announced that manual population via the portal will still be available.
Login and authentication of the end user or system is carried out via the ID porten system. Originally, Norway didn’t allow for XML upload; however, the tax authorities have recently updated their guidance to ensure that XML upload will be accepted. Changing numbers or notes in the uploaded XML file will not be possible, but it will be possible to upload attachments.
Additionally, Norway has provided a method for validation for the VAT return file, which should be tested before submission to increase the probability that the file is accepted by the tax authorities. The validator will validate the content of a tax return and should return a response with any errors, deviations, or warnings. This is done by checking the message format and the composition of the elements in the VAT return.
Please note that Norway is not allowing for any grace period for the submission of this newly designed return.
In addition to the new VAT return, Norway has also announced plans to implement a sales and purchase report by 2024. The proposal is currently in the mandatory public consultation phase, which ends on 26 November 2021.
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