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State Aid

PR(06)42: The EFTA Surveillance Authority authorises alterations to the Norwegian refund scheme for seafarers


Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority authorised alterations to the Norwegian refund schemes for ships registered in the Norwegian ordinary shipping register (NOR) and the Norwegian International Shipping Register (NIS). According to those refund schemes, which have been authorised by the Authority in decisions of 1998, 2002 and 2003, a shipowner is partially and fully reimbursed for collected seafarers income tax and the social security contributions levied on the shipowner and the seafarer.

Due to a complaint, the Authority became aware that the manner in which the Norwegian refund scheme was applied, might lead to discriminations against non-Norwegian seafarers. The refund was in the past limited to those seafarers who have a tax residence in Norway. The shipowner would then not be entitled to a refund for seafarers who did not have such a tax residence, but who would still be paying taxes in Norway.

With a view to correcting this situation, the Norwegian authorities notified to the Authority alterations to the schemes in January 2006. The refund scheme will now also apply to an estimated number of 600 seafarers, who are tax liable in Norway for their income onboard ships, but who do not have any tax residence in Norway.

For further information, please contact:
Mr. Amund Utne,
Director, Competition and State Aid Directorate,
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 50; or

Ms. Annette Kliemann,
Deputy Director, Competition and State Aid Directorate,
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 80

4 October 2006

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