Tax Transparency In Norway: Here Are The Country’s Highest Taxpayers
Kjell Inge Røkke (center) is one of Norway’s richest men. He has invested many millions into Molde … [+] FK, his home town soccer club in Norway.
AFP via Getty Images
With the Democrats desperate to discover what secrets might be lying inside the President’s tax returns, Norway has once again released its tax return data of its citizens and permanent residents. Everyone’s tax return data–from professional soccer players to politicians including the Prime Minister–is public knowledge in Norway.
While full tax returns are not released, the headline figures–income, wealth and tax paid–are made available for the Norwegian public to search in an online database. Tax Agency figures show that 1.6 million searches were made on its database last year. There has been a tightening up of privacy in Norway’s system however. Since 2014 it’s been possible for an individual to see who has looked up their figures, while prior to 2001, the information was published in a book.
Norway’s top taxpayers
According to Aftenposten, Trond Mohn once again had Norway’s highest income and paid the most tax. The 76-year-old businessman took over the family-owned tanker pump and services company Framo in January 1986 until its acquisition by Alfa Laval in 2014. He is known for his philanthropy especially in the fields of sports, science and research. Mohn paid almost 188 million kroner ($20.5 million) income tax last year.
However, Mohn’s son, Frederik Wilhelm Mohn, has surpassed his father in wealth. According to Bergens Tidende, the 42-year-old stands at 6.5 billion kroner ($710 million) compared to just under 5.7 billion kroner ($622 million) for his father.
The second highest taxpayer is also the country’s wealthiest person. Kjell Inge Røkke is still the country’s richest. Through his investment company, Røkke is the majority owner of Norwegian giant Aker ASA, known for offshore fishing, construction and engineering services. He serves as chairperson of the company, but his true passion lies in sports. Røkke has invested many millions of kroner in his home town soccer club Molde FK, bringing them three league titles and four Norwegian Cups. Røkke paid 158 million kroner ($17.2 million) income tax last year.
The richest woman in Oslo, Margaret Boel Garmann, is the highest female taxpayer on the list. As Norway’s sixth highest taxpayer, she handed over 75.6 million kroner ($8.2 million) income tax to the Norwegian government last year. According to Norwegian business magazine Kapital, the 64-year-old niece of Arne Wilhelmsen sold out of the Wilhelmsen family group earlier this year.
The youngest among Norway’s highest taxpayers remains, 26-year-old Gustav Magnar Witzøe paid 54.5 million kroner ($6 million) income tax to the Norwegian government last year.
His father founded SalMar, one of the world’s largest producers of farmed salmon, and Witzøe is already a major shareholder. He takes no active role in the business as of yet, but documents his travels and experiments as a male model on his popular Instagram account.
Tech investors strike it big
Three new entrants to the top taxpayers list benefited from Spotify’s stock market listing. They all received a spike in income from their venture capital fund Northzone, which was an early investor in the music streaming platform. Bjørn Stray, Jan Tellef Thorleifsson and Torleif Ahlsand paid 86 million kroner ($9.4 million), 81 million kroner ($8.8 million), and 76.6 million kroner ($8.3 million) income tax respectively.
Total tax take
In 2018, Norway took in 599 billion Norwegian kroner ($63 billion) in income tax. Of this, 514 billion kroner was from personal income and wealth tax, with the remaining 85 billion from corporation tax.