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Following our earlier announcements on the plans to waive fiscal representation, the Norwegian tax authorities recently confirmed that fiscal representatives will not be required as from 1 April 2017 for businesses based in the following countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and UK.
The tax authorities announced these changes in their website, although they have not yet published the forms and administrative requirements to move from fiscal representation to direct registration. These should be announced in the coming weeks.
Fiscal representatives are local individuals or legal entities who represent a foreign non-established company registered for VAT purposes in the country. These representatives are jointly and severally liable for the tax debts of the represented entity. Where fiscal reps are not required, companies can benefit from a direct VAT registration. This means that there is no need of local presence in the country, alternatively, a business can register solely with the signature of the legal representative of the company. Also VAT returns are signed by this representative.
As a general rule, all EU countries allow EU based businesses to register directly for VAT purposes. Some authorities like the UK, Netherlands or Germany also allow non-EU businesses to benefit from this simplification. In the rest of EU, non-EU businesses will need to appoint a local fiscal representative if they want to get VAT registered in a country.
Norway is a non-EU country so it was not obliged to allow direct registration for EU companies, however, as from 1 April 2017, they will introduce this simplification for all businesses based in the countries listed above.