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Securing the oil tax
In his job as a Senior tax auditor at the Petroleum Tax Office, Kristoffer Voss Sanner ensures that the Norwegian people profit from the oil resources collected from the Norwegian seabed.
Kristoffer Voss Sanner
Position: Senior Tax Auditor
Employer: Petroleum Tax Office
There are about 50 companies involved in oil operations on the Norwegian continental shelf and there are just as many people employed in the Petroleum Tax Office. The agency ensures that international companies involved in oil and gas operations off the Norwegian coast are taxed correctly.
“Our work is to ensure that the Norwegian people benefit from the oil resources that are collected from the sea outside Norway. The seabed, that is to say the continental shelf outside Norway, is by law owned by the public - the Norwegian people. I work to make sure that they get their fair share of the value that is created there,” Kristoffer explains.
Kristoffer has a portfolio of small companies that he monitors for taxation. The companies provide documentation on operations and profits. Some of them currently do not have to pay taxes because they are in the phase of searching for oil and only have expenses, but they still have to report to Kristoffer. In fact, some companies may actually get some tax "back" because Norway is interested in their searching activities.
78 percent tax
Norway has a law called the Petroleum Act which regulates the oil business off the coast. This includes a special fee, which you might call an oil or petroleum tax. This oil tax is paid in addition to regular taxes, so the total often comes up to 78 percent. This total tax is so high because the firms that extract oil are taking assets that are Norwegian property. Even though the tax seems high at 78 per cent, these companies still make good profits. There are many special rules for firms operating in the oil industry, so Kristoffer has a lot to keep up with.
An important job
Kristoffer's job is important in that the tax revenues collected makes a large contribution to the Norwegian public budget and supports the publicly owned Norwegian Oil Fund. The Petroleum Tax Office processes tax documentation from some of the world's largest corporations with huge profits, including the Norwegian company Equinor and the five oil supermajors: ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Total and Chevron.
“I have an exciting job. The tax, which I control and calculate, ends up in the Norwegian Oil Fund, which goes into the state budget, creating benefits for everyone in Norway,” says Kristoffer.