How to start a business in Norway - company formation, tax advantages, accountants & VAT
Few countries can beat Norway when it comes to quality of life. The world’s third biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia, Norway is a wealthy, stable democracy with an enviable ability to balance free-market capitalism and social welfare. The business climate is healthy and company formation in Norway is straightforward provided you comply with the formalities.
Requirements for company formation in Norway
- Minimum share capital 30,000 NOK (€4,000), fully paid up.
- At least one shareholder & a board of directors required.
- If the shareholder/director is a non-EU/EEA citizen then 50% of board members must be Norwegian residents. (Nominees can be provided).
- VAT threshold is NOK 50,000
- An accountant and auditor must be appointed prior to incorporation.
- Notarised passports must be received from the Managing Director and Deputy.
What are the main types of company in Norway?
The three most popular forms of corporate structure in Norway are as follows:
- Private limited company (AS)
- Public limited company (ASA)
- Branch office of a foreign company
How do you set up a branch office in Norway?
A foreign company may establish a branch in Norway provided that the foreign company is registered in its home country. Companies residing outside the EU area must obtain permission from the Minister of Industry. The branch must be registered in the Register of Business Enterprises.
Are there any restrictions on foreign investment in Norway?
Generally speaking the Norwegian government places foreign investors on an equal footing with domestic investors, but there are exceptions. For example, foreigners may own no more than 40% of a Norwegian fishing fleet. Foreign ownership of a Norwegian air transport company is restricted to 30% but the all-important oil sector is now largely free of restrictions for international investors.
How easy is it to recruit staff in Norway?
There are recruitment agencies throughout the country and we will be happy to refer you to our network of local recruitment specialists. It is worth noting that there are restrictions on bringing in foreign personnel from abroad and issuing work permits, so please contact us for further information and assistance on employment matters.
What is the regulatory environment like?
Norway has eased its regulatory regime significantly in recent years. Foreign exchange controls were largely abolished in the early 1990s and profits and dividends can be freely repatriated subject to Central Bank reporting requirements. All companies have to file accounts with the Register of Business Enterprises and a statutory audit has to be carried out each year.
Are there financial incentives available?
Norway offers general tax incentives for specific regions and industrial sectors:
- Companies investing in Norway’s far north pay lower employee taxes
- Tax rates are minimal on the Arctic island of Spitzbergen
- A state fund provides grants for investment in areas of low employment
- Tax deductions are allowed for research costs in key sectors such as oil
What about banking facilities?
Norway’s financial sector is highly advanced and well attuned to the needs of international investors, but opening a bank account contains certain administrative processes. Luckily our banking contacts make it easy for us to help with opening a bank account in Norway.
For more information on company incorporation in Norway or any other matters concerning tax advantages, accountants and VAT, please contact us on 0033 (0)1 53 57 49 10 or email us from our contact page and we’ll be happy to help.