According to the Tax Director, all employers are responsible for reporting on all benefits awarded to employees, be it salary, free car, or free housing.
– I would like to start by saying that there are separate rules for registering the population for Storting politicians. But when it comes to transportation rules, they are the same for everyone, regardless of what type of employer you have and regardless of what type of employee you are.
This was stated by Chief Prosecutor Nina Schanke Funnemark at the NRK “Debate” on Tuesday night. The starting point of the debate was Aftenposten’s many revelations on travel housing and parliamentary travel housing. And despite the fact that the country’s elected representatives in the Storting should not be considered ordinary employees, they must, according to the tax director, abide by the same rules of the road.
You must pay taxes if you do not have housing expenses
The director of Taxation clarified that free housing paid for by the employer should be taxed if there are no real housing expenses.
– If you have two houses and have no expenses for your original, free house from the employer, then you should tax it on an equal footing with other benefits you receive from the employer, he said.
She emphasizes that these are rules “that apply to all workers and all travelers.”
When asked by the program director Fredrik Solvang what kind of tax advice the Tax Administration had given the Storting, he replied as follows:
– We have a lot of information on our website and in our manuals about transport rules. And if there are employers who contact us, we guide them as best we can on the rules that apply. We have also provided general guidance to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Storting on when it is taxable and when it is not.
The Storting must report correctly
She stated that the Tax Administration should have provided the Storting with the same information that she indicated in the program. He clarified who is responsible for providing the correct information to the tax authorities.
– In all situations – and I speak in general – it is the employer who is in charge of reporting the correct benefit that is given to the employee, be it salary, free car or free housing (…), he said.
He also reminded that employees have an independent responsibility to verify that all information in the Tax Report is correct.
– And then they have the independent responsibility to correct if they are not correct, he said.
The penalty for not correcting errors can end in an additional tax, from 20 to 60 percent.
Through a series of articles, Aftenposten has shed light on how current ministers, party leaders and other politicians have used the traveler housing.
- KrF leader Kjell Ingolf Ropstad received free housing from the Storting for ten years. This was because it was formally searched in the children’s room. At the same time, he owned a house in present-day Lillestrøm municipality for five years. He rented it.
- Sveinung Rotevatn (V) was also registered in the children’s room when he was elected a member of the Storting. Therefore, he also got a travel home and did not have to pay living expenses.
- Tellef Inge Mørland (Labor Party) lives in her own home in Arendal. At the same time, he owned a small apartment in the center of Oslo. However, he applied for and was granted a traveler’s home starting in 2017.. Thus, he was able to rent the apartment in the city center at the same time that he himself lived for free in the suburban house of the Storting.
The Storting has appointed lawyers for the case
On the basis of the articles, the Storting has taken the self-criticism that politicians are not asked for more information when applying for this type of housing.
Last week, Aftenposten also revealed that the KrF leader said he had expenses with his parents to avoid taxes. But Ropstad didn’t pay a penny. On Saturday, faced with this revelation, he chose to resign as leader and resign as minister.
Aftenposten has revealed that there has been ambiguity about tax rules and different interpretations of them in the Storting and in the Prime Minister’s office.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Storting administration announced that lawyers will analyze the tax conditions for travelers. At the time, an independent, external investigation into the traveler housing case was a majority demand in the Storting.