Norway: New documentation requirements for relief and exemption at source

20.11.2018

Further to our announcements A17092,  A17149 and A17171 concerning the new documentation requirements for relief at source, that was postponed until 1 January 2019, Clearstream Banking1 would like to inform customers that effective

1 January 2019

a new process will be applicable to customers wishing to benefit from exemption or relief at source on dividends from Norwegian equities through Clearstream Banking.

The new process is a consequence of an amendment to the Norwegian legislation regarding the documentation and eligibility requirements.

Eligible beneficial owners

The following types of beneficial owners are eligible to benefit from reduced rate or exemption at source:

Beneficial owner type

Tax rate

Residents of a double taxation treaty (DTT)

DTT rate

Foreign EEA entities qualifying for the Tax Exemption Model

0%

International organisations and foreign governments

0%

Documentation requirements

For the purpose of obtaining relief or exemption at source on behalf of qualifying beneficial owners, customers must submit to Clearstream Banking before the relevant deadlines, the following documentation: 


Form descriptions

One-Time Certificate for Norwegian equities

The One-Time Certificate (OTC) must be completed by the Clearstream Banking customer and remains valid until revoked. 

Part 1 of the OTC (Segregated account per beneficial owner) will serve as a standing instruction, provided all other required documentation has been submitted.

Part 2 of the OTC (Omnibus account) will require customers to submit instructions per payment (please refer to the List of Beneficial Owners).

Important: Customers must select one OTC, either for Clearstream Banking S.A. (CBL), or Clearstream Banking AG (CBF), as applicable for their account, held via the Creation platform, meaning:

  • CBF customers with 6-series accounts are requested to provide the CBF version; and
  • CBL customers with 5-digit accounts the CBL version.

No tax service is available for CBF customers with 7-digit accounts held via the CASCADE platform.

List of Beneficial Owners – Norwegian Securities

If the Clearstream Banking customer has multiple beneficial owners of the Norwegian securities in the account (omnibus account), a list of beneficial owners must be uploaded per payment electronically via Clearstream Banking's BO Upload Application.

A new version will be published in due time to comply with the new requirements.

Certificate of Residence

The Certificate of Residence (COR) must be provided in original and must fulfil the below requirements:

  • be issued by the beneficial owner’s local tax authority;
  • include the beneficial owner’s full name, full address and country of tax residence.;
  • include the Tax Identification Number (TIN);
  • confirm that the beneficial owner is resident in accordance with the relevant DTT with Norway or within the EEA, as applicable;
  • confirm that the DTT eligibility requirements for tax exemption are met by specifying the relevant DTT article under which the beneficial owner qualifies for tax exemption (required when claiming 0% under DTT – for example eligible Dutch pension funds or UK pension schemes);
  • not be older than three years at the time of the dividend payment.

It remains valid according to the following guidelines provided by the Norwegian Tax Authorities (NTA):

General rule: Three years after the last confirmed date in a COR, meaning the date of issuance plus three (3) years. 

Exception: When the COR refers to a specific period dated back in time, then it will be valid as from the last day of the confirmed period plus three (3) years.

Attestation

The attestation must be provided in original and must fulfil the below requirements:

  • be issued by the beneficial owner's local authority or other authority, depending on the organisation/entity in question;
  • include the beneficial owner's full name;
  • confirm the beneficial owner's legal status, as an International organisation or foreign government qualifying for tax exemption;
  • not be older than three years at the time of the dividend payment.

The attestation remains valid according to the following guidelines provided by the Norwegian Tax Authorities (NTA):

General rule: Three years after the last confirmed date in an attestation, meaning the date of issuance plus three (3) years.

Exception: When the attestation refers to a specific period dated back in time, then, it will be valid as from the last day of the confirmed period plus three (3) years.

Beneficial owner certificate

The Beneficial owner certificate must be signed by the beneficial owner and is a confirmation from the dividend recipient that he is the final beneficial owner of the dividend (that is, not a conduit or other pass through entity).

An original must be provided and is valid as of date of signature until revoked.

Declaration of unchanged tax status for entities claiming tax exemption

The declaration must be signed by the beneficial owner and is a confirmation from the dividend recipient that his eligibility for tax exemption has not changed since the NTA issued the approval letter.

Beneficial owners are furthermore required to indicate in the Declaration, the NTA’s reference number assigned to the Approval letter. Such reference is currently stated by the NTA in the letter under “Our reference”.

An original must be provided and cannot be older than three years at the time of the dividend payment.

General rule: Valid for three years as of date of issuance/ signature.

Declaration of unchanged tax status for Luxembourg SICAV organised as UCITS claiming tax exemption

The declaration must be signed by the beneficial owner and is a confirmation from the dividend recipient that his eligibility for tax exemption due to his tax status remains unchanged.

An original must be provided and cannot be older than three years at the time of the dividend payment.

General rule: Valid for three years as of date of issuance/signature.

Approval letter from the NTA

The approval letter should be provided to Clearstream Banking in the form of either:

  • A reclaim decision letter from the NTA
    The reclaim decision letter is to be provided in the form of a decision letter issued by the NTA for a previous refund application;

OR

  • A pre-approval letter from the NTA
    Beneficial owners that are required to obtain a pre-approval letter from the NTA must apply for such letter directly from the NTA.

Both the reclaim decision letter and the pre-approval letter:

  • remain valid until revoked (as long as the actual conditions on which the approval is based remain unchanged;
  • may be provided as a copy;
  • must confirm the beneficial owner’s eligibility for either a reduced tax rate or full tax exemption of withholding tax under a DTT, full tax exemption under the Norwegian Tax Exemption Model (Tax Act, Section 2-38 paragraph 1 litra I and paragraph 5) or full tax exemption according to a relevant multilateral convention or other legal grounds, as applicable.

How to request the pre-approval letter from the NTA

Clearstream Banking do not assist with obtaining the pre-approval letter.

To request the pre-approval letter from the NTA beneficial owners must provide the below documentation, depending on their status:

Entities qualifying for a reduced tax rate or tax exemption pursuant to a DTT

  • Application for approval to be entitled to reduced withholding tax rate pursuant to a tax treaty (attached below); and
  • Other supporting documentation, as requested by the NTA in the application form.

Foreign EEA entities qualifying for the Tax exemption model

  • Application for approval to be entitled to 0% withholding tax rate under the tax exemption method (attached below); and
  • Other supporting documentation, as requested by the NTA in the application form

International organisations and foreign governments qualifying for tax exemption

There is no official application form to be used by international organisations and foreign governments, when applying for a pre-approval letter from the NTA.

Such entities may instead provide the following documentation:

  • A free format application, in which they include a reference or copy of the multilateral conventions or legal grounds under which they would qualify for such tax exemption; and
  • A certification/ identification, which proves that the applicant is the international organisation (supranational entity) or foreign government it is claiming to be.
  • Other supporting documentation, which the applicant may deem relevant for the NTA.

All applications should therefore be submitted directly by the beneficial owner or its representative under power of attorney to the NTA at the below address:
Central Office – Foreign Tax Affairs
P.O. Box 8031
N-4068 Stavanger

A Power of Attorney

A power of attorney must be provided in case the customer or a third party is completing and signing a form on behalf of the beneficial owner.

A copy can be submitted, under the condition that an original is provided upon request.

Deadline

The deadlines for the submission of the documentation to obtain relief or exemption at source of withholding tax on dividends on Norwegian equities are as follows:

Document

Deadline for receipt by Clearstream Banking

One-Time Certificate for Norwegian Equities

Four business days prior to the record date of the first dividend payment by 10:00 CET.

List of Beneficial Owners – Norwegian Securities

One business day after the record date of each relevant dividend payment by 10:00 CET.

Certificate of Residence

Four business days prior to the record date of the first dividend payment by 10:00 CET.

Attestation

Four business days prior to the record date of the first dividend payment by 10:00 CET.

Beneficial owner certificate

Four business days prior to the record date of the first dividend payment by 10:00 CET.

Declaration of unchanged tax status for entities claiming  tax exemption

Four business days prior to the record date of the first dividend payment by 10:00 CET.

Declaration of unchanged tax status for Luxembourg SICAV organised as UCITs claiming  tax exemption

Four business days prior to the record date of the first dividend payment by 10:00 CET.

Approval letter from the NTA

Four business days prior to the record date of the first dividend payment by 10:00 CET.

Power of Attorney

Four business days prior to the record date of the first dividend payment by 10:00 CET.

TIN requirements

Customers are required to use the exact format, as stated in the COR or Attestation, as applicable, whenever the Tax Identification Number (TIN) is required in the above Clearstream Banking documentation.

Impact on customers

The current relief at source process remains valid until 31 December 2018. However, customers are strongly recommended to already start applying for the required approval letters for the impacted legal entities in order to ensure that the approval will be granted by the NTA on time for the new process, which will become effective 1 January 2019, as it is expected that the NTA will receive a large number of requests.

Customers are furthermore informed that the new certification templates will become mandatory as of 1 January 2019 and current versions will consequently not be accepted by Clearstream Banking from this date. If customers do not certify with the new templates and relief at source/exemption procedure, the standard rate of withholding tax on dividends from Norwegian equities will apply.

Further information

For further information, please contact the Clearstream Banking Tax Help Desk, Clearstream Banking Client Services or your Relationship Officer.

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1. Clearstream Banking refers collectively to Clearstream Banking S.A., registered office at 42, avenue John F. Kennedy, L-1855 Luxembourg, and registered with the Luxembourg Trade and Companies Register under number B-9248, and Clearstream Banking AG (for Clearstream Banking Frankfurt (CBF) customers using Creation accounts), registered office at 61, Mergenthalerallee, 65760 Eschborn, Germany and registered in Register B of the Amtsgericht Frankfurt am Main, Germany under number HRB 7500.