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There are still weaknesses in the Norwegian Tax Administration's control of businesses and companies

The reorganisation of the Norwegian Tax Administration during the period 2008-2009 has improved important aspects of tax administration. The goal of strengthening control and collection activities aimed at business and industry has not been achieved, however. - In addition, the consideration of appeals takes too long, and the Tax Hotline and tax offices do not give users adequate answers, says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.
Published 12/6/2011 12:00 PM

Document 3:4 (2011-2012) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into the reorganisation of the Norwegian Tax Administration was submitted to the Storting on 6 December 2011.

Although the reorganisation of the Norwegian Tax Administration has resulted in a strengthening of the efforts to combat tax crime, the investigation shows that the overall control of businesses and companies has not been strengthened. - This could result in inadequate detection of tax evasion and a weakening of the preventive effect of control activities, Mr Kosmo points out.

The Office of the Auditor General's investigation shows that the consideration of appeals by the appeals boards for tax and value added tax still take too long, and that there has been a negative trend in this respect during the period 2006-2010. Both types of appeals can involve considerable sums, and long case processing times in these areas can have a negative effect on businesses as well as for individual taxpayers.

The agency has expanded its user services by establishing the Tax Hotline as a national phone service. However, the investigation shows that the Tax Hotline's accessibility is poorer at the time of year when users' need for assistance is greatest. Although the reorganisation did not entail any significant changes to the office structure, several offices have been closed since 2002. - The accessibility of tax offices is still very important to many users, and it is therefore important that the Tax Administration implements measures to compensate for the reduced accessibility of its offices, says Mr Kosmo.

The Norwegian Tax Administration has also professionalised its user services by establishing guidance as a separate service. It is still necessary, however, to improve the quality of the answers that the Tax Hotline and the tax offices give users.

The Ministry of Finance largely agrees with the Office of the Auditor General's assessments and states that the Norwegian Tax Administration has implemented several measures that will result in some improvements already in 2011.

The document can be downloaded via the link on the right.

The deferral of public access to documents prepared by or for the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document No 3:4 (2011-2012), cf. the Act relating to the Office of the Auditor General section 18 second paragraph, is hereby set aside.

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