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PR(05)05: The EFTA Surveillance Authority delivers a reasoned opinion to Norway regarding taxation of imported second-hand vehicles


The EFTA Surveillance Authority delivered a reasoned opinion to Norway today regarding the taxation of second-hand vehicles imported into Norway from the other EEA States. The EEA Agreement prohibits taxation that discriminates products of other EEA States. The Authority has found that the way the Norwegian registration tax is calculated amounts to discrimination in breach of the EEA Agreement.

According to Norwegian law, a motor vehicle registered for the first time into the national motor vehicle registry is subject to registration tax. The tax is a specific one-time tax which applies to all vehicles, whether new or used. When a used motor vehicle is registered in Norway for the first time, deduction is made from the registration tax according to a fixed depreciation scale. The deduction is based solely on the age of the vehicle.

Norway may apply a fixed depreciation scale for imported second-hand vehicles. It must however ensure that the reduction in the registration tax corresponds to the loss in value of the vehicle, so that the amount of tax on imported second-hand vehicles does not exceed the residual tax incorporated in the value of similar second-hand vehicles already registered in Norway. In the Authority’s opinion, the Norwegian scale of tax reductions does not reflect with sufficient precision the actual depreciation of vehicles.

Furthermore, the Norwegian system does not give the importer of a vehicle a right to prove that the fixed scale is inadequate to determine the real value of the imported second-hand vehicle.    Hence, it fails to ensure that the amount of the tax due is not higher than the residual tax incorporated in the value of similar vehicles already registered in Norway.  

The Authority therefore concludes that the Norwegian system for calculating the depreciation in value of imported second-hand vehicles is contrary to the non-discrimination principle in Article 14 of the EEA Agreement. 

The purpose of the reasoned opinion is to give Norway a last chance to take corrective measures before the Authority decides whether to bring the matter before the EFTA Court. Norway has been given two months to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion. 

For further information please contact Mr Niels Fenger, Director of Legal & Executive Affairs, telephone (+32)(0)2 286 18 30, or Ms Tuula Nieminen, Officer, Internal Market Affairs Directorate, telephone (+32)(0)2 286 18 67.

16 February 2005


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