The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a renewal of temporary amendments to Norwegian tax refund scheme for seafarers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves renewal of temporary amendments to Norwegian tax refund scheme for seafarers*

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has today approved the renewal of temporary amendments to a Norwegian aid scheme granting tax refunds to shipping companies aimed at off-setting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scheme, which initially came into force in 2016 and is set to run until 2026, allows shipping companies to get refunds for taxes and social-security contributions paid for seafarers working on ships registered in Norway.

ESA has previously approved two temporary amendments to the scheme covering the periods July-August 2020, and January-June 2021.

Those amendments aimed to ensure that companies could continue their maritime transport activities during the COVID-19 pandemic by reducing the costs for shipping companies employing EEA nationals on vessels registered in Norway. The amendments temporarily lifted ceilings in the scheme that would otherwise limit refunds of taxes and social security contributions paid for EEA seafarers in:

  • Maritime transport related to petroleum activity;
  • Certain transport of goods and passengers, and;
  • Shipping related to construction and maintenance work.

By ESA’s decision today, these amendments have been extended to also cover activity in July and August 2021, entailing an estimated NOK 90 million (EUR 8.8m) increase in budgeted refunds.

ESA’s decision can be found here.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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EFTA Surveillance Authority, The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a renewal of temporary amendments to Norwegian tax refund scheme for seafarers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, 21 septembre 2021, e-Competitions October 2021, Art. N° 102378

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