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I am a UK citizen who is tax resident in Norway and I own an apartment in Norway. I want to understand if it is possible to leave Norway and stop being tax resident without selling my house (i.e. let it out).

The only information I can find comes from KPMG which says:

"Termination of residence in Norway for persons with a total stay in Norway not exceeding 10 years happens when the following requirements are fulfilled:

  • permanent stay in a foreign country
  • stay in Norway must not exceed 61 days within a 12-month period
  • do not have the disposal of a permanent home in Norway"

But this doesn't specify whether 'disposal' means 'owns' or 'uses'. Does anyone have any experience of this situation, or links to credible sources?

EDIT

I found a better reference in KPMG Tax Facts Norway 2014 that says this: "To be regarded as emigrated from Norway, an individual who has had a combined stay in Norway for less than 10 years must take permanent residency outside of Norway. The taxpayer or his/her closest relatives must not have a residency used as a permanent home at their disposal in Norway or stay for more than 61 days in Norway during the income year."

When I contacted Skatteetaten (the Norwegian tax authority) by email they said this: "You will be tax resident as long as you keep your apartment in Norway, if you do not keep it you will not be tax resident in Norway. Persons who have lived in Norway for less than 10 years, will not be tax resident to Norway the first year they move, if they do not own their own apartment in Norway. Regards Skatt Midtnorge."

Nordisk eTax, a collaboration that includes Skatteetaten, says "the requirement that you must not have a house/flat at your disposal means that neither you, nor your spouse/cohabitant or your under-aged children can own (directly or indirectly), lease or otherwise be entitled to use a house/flat in Norway."

The answer still seems vague.

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+50

I asked a Norwegian tax lawyer who sent me a link to the relevant Norwegian law (section 2-1: "Persons resident in Norway").

The condition for exiting tax residence regarding home ownership says this:

"the person or his close associates (spouse, partner or minor children) do not have a home available in this country (meaning to directly or indirectly own, lease or otherwise have the right to use a property)".

So it seems clear that the only way to exit tax resident status in Norway is to sell up. The impact of remaining tax resident is of course a different question.

Edit (some extra information - not legal advice - see a lawyer):

i) The so-called "one year rule" (ettårsregelen) says that "an individual on an assignment outside Norway with duration of more than 12 months may claim exemption from tax on assignment remuneration provided presence in Norway during the assignment period does not exceed 6 days on a monthly average." However, other Norwegian taxes may still apply.

ii) A 2008 Supreme Court case ruled that a man who lived in the USA for 2.5 years while letting out his home in Norway was without doubt a resident for tax purposes in the United States. Two and a half years was more than enough time to have a permanent residence abroad. And "one can not have a permanent home in the tax treaty sense when the house is not at one's disposal" (his house was let out without the right to termination). (HR-2008-727-A, case no. 2007/1636, civil appeal, 24 April 2008).

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