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I do not have much of regular employment, I work shifts for various employers, so it is up to me how much I earn. However, typically the amount of work I do results in me earning about 550k NOK per year.

Last year, my tax card came in a way that made me pay way too little tax throughout the year. Realising this, I had to manually make my employers send more of my salary to the Tax Administration so that I would not fall behind and get a big bill from the Tax Administration due on May 15th this year.

I was thinking, though: Why should I do that? Maybe it is even better to take the opposite approach. Try to pay as little tax as possible throughout the year. This can be done by declaring that you estimate you will earn very little, and thus getting a very low tax rate.

I know that my real tax rate should be somewhere between 30% and 35%, so whatever I do not pay (but know I should really pay) I can put in my high interest account, and earn interest on it (along with additional savings, so that I have some overhead in case I calculated wrongly). Then, on 15th of May (14 months after my first salary), I can take it out of the high interest account and pay it to the Tax Administration.

According to my calculations, I could earn as much as several thousand NOK in interest a year this way. It seems foolish to me to forfeit this interest to the Tax Administration when I do not have to.

I know that from january to may, the Tax Administration will charge some very low interest, but it is lower than the interest my savings account gives me. And it is only for 4.5 months.

What are the downsides to this approach?

  • Are you sure about your figures? 550k NOK @ 30% is 165k NOK due at the end of the year. Halve this (because you start the year with zero "not paid tax", so the average is half the total) to get 82.5 NOK. At 2% (which from a quick search might be possible), this might get 1,650 NOK (about 138 GBP, 180 USD). At under 1% (which seems more typical), the figures will be closer to 800 NOK, 70 GBP, 80 USD). While not negligible, if there is interest to pay the Tax Administration (and a possible risk of fines), it gets toward the "is it worth it?" point. – TripeHound Jan 29 at 16:54
  • @TripeHound I get 2.3% in my risk-free interest account, and I actually invest them into mutual funds, but point taken. My figures are probably wrong. Regarding fines, I don't believe there are any. Also, my tax rate is now 35%. – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Jan 29 at 18:08
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In general, so long as you have a plan for paying the taxes on time, this isn't a bad idea. However, in the US (I know the question is about Norway) the government imposes a fine if less than 90% (85% for this year only) of the taxes owed are not paid as stipulated (quarterly). You should check Norwegian tax law for similar regulations or fines for underpayment.

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