The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of the recovery of outstanding payments in the Norwegian Revenue Service and the Customs and Excise Administration, Document No. 3:11 (2003–2004), was submitted to the Storting on 19 May. The objective of the audit was to assess the extent to which the tax collectors’ offices and the customs districts use necessary and appropriate instruments when collecting customs and taxes and how closely the requirements are being adhered to.
The audit revealed that there is room for improvement in several areas. For some recovery measures it takes a long time before they are implemented. The audit also revealed that the IT systems in the Customs and Excise Administration are not really designed for following up claims and that the tax collectors’ offices and the customs districts either lack or have insufficient descriptions of routines for recovery of outstanding payments.
The central government revenues from value-added tax, customs and special taxes constitute approx. NOK 190 billion each year. Although most of the fixed taxes and customs are paid in or collected promptly, the total arrears still amounted to approx. NOK 7.1 billion at the end of 2003. More effective recovery of outstanding payments might yield a not-insignificant revenue for the central government, even if it only leads to a relatively small reduction in the total arrears.
According to the Ministry of Finance, several measures will be implemented in order to improve the weaknesses revealed in the audit.
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