“I expect this review to give us a full overview of the tax questions that relate to the MPs. It will enable us to clarify situations where there is a tax liability, and will make us confident that we are dealing correctly with these issues in the future,” said Marianne Andreassen, the Storting’s Secretary General.
The external tax review has two objectives. Firstly, there will be a review of individual cases to assess whether certain benefits should have been liable to income tax, and, consequently, payroll tax. Secondly, there will be a general review of the different tax issues that relate to the schemes and allowances available to the MPs.
The Storting has appointed Grette, an independent business law firm, to carry out the tax review.
“I want the work to be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible. That said, I’m also concerned that the work is done thoroughly and with the necessary professional expertise, so that all tax matters are dealt with correctly,” said the Secretary General.
Important for democracy
The decision to instigate the tax review has been prompted by recent reports in the media about the Storting’s remuneration scheme for MPs. Among these are questions relating to the free accommodation in Oslo that MPs from constituencies more than 40 km from the Storting receive. In addition, some MPs have taken the initiative to contact the Storting to clarify certain tax arrangements.
The Storting’s Presidium has also made the decision to undertake a review of the Storting’s commuter accommodation rules, and has asked for an assessment of possible changes in the severance pay rules for MPs who are not re-elected. Scrutiny will be an important aspect of this review.
“It’s essential that the Storting’s schemes and allowances for the MPs enable them to carry out their democratic duties. It must be possible for anyone to stand for election without incurring large additional costs. At the same time, of course, the tax aspect of this must be handled correctly,” said Ms Andreassen.