The Norwegian Supreme Court has awarded in favor of the shipping companies that the retroactive tax imposed in 2007 for the years 1996-2006 was in breach of the Norwegian Constitution.
In 2007, after the intoduction of a new tax scheme, the Finance Minister demanded that the Norwegian shipowners pay back taxes for a total of 11 years, amounting to NOK 21 million.
The Supreme Court’s ruling concluded that the transitional rules that the Storting decided on in 2007 are in contravention of section 97 of the Norwegian Constitution, which limits the powers of the authorities to introduce legislation with a retrospective effect.
Sturla Henriksen, managing director of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, commenting on the Supreme Court’s ruling, said:
“We are relieved to hear the decision of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has today confirmed the protection of the Constitution against retrospective legislation. It is a decision of principle of great significance for the protection afforded to us all by the law. This judgement will help to re-establish confidence in Norway as an attractive and stable country for business to invest in.”
"I take into account that the Supreme Court has concluded that latent tax from the old shipping tax scheme not can be collected according to the transitional regulations from 2007", says finance minister Sigbjørn Johnsen.
"The Government must assess the situation and the alternative courses of action, before we can conclude in the matter. We will continue to secure competitive conditions for the Norwegian shipping industry", says Minister Johnsen.
The maritime industry is Norway’s largest industry after oil and gas, and it is one of the most important industries for future Norwegian commercial development and value creation.
“We share the Government’s ambition to promote Norway as an attractive maritime host country. This judgement makes a positive contribution to the work of increasing maritime value creation in Norway,” says Sturla Henriksen.