Each year Norwegian enterprises complete a series of public reporting forms in order to satisfy the public authorities need for information. Norwegian enterprises spent vast amounts of time on statutory reporting and as a result three large public agencies in Norway, the Norwegian Tax Administration, Statistics Norway and the Brønnøysund Register Centre, initiated the work that was to become Altinn. The administration of Altinn was given to the Brønnøysund Register Centre.
They originally wished to create a common web portal for public reporting, but throughout the years since the portal was launched in 2003, it has become so much more. Now, it also provides other electronic services such as the opportunity to receive messages from the public authorities as well as other services. The most used service in Altinn as of today (February 2010) is the opportunity private citizens have to hand in their tax-return electronically. In January 2011 there were 29 public agencies, three municipalities and one county municipality present as service providers in Altinn. In 2009 more than 440.000 businesses chose to do their statutory reporting through Altinn, and at that time over 700 different public forms were available in the web portal.
Altinn can be viewed from different perspectives:
- The user perspective The public web portal www.altinn.no, where the business sector is given access to electronic forms and services, and can find information about rules. Very often professional users will relate to Altinn as a web service solution (ws.altinn.no) where they can submit the data directly from their own computer system (see list in Norwegian over computer systems with integration towards Altinn).
- The organisational perspective (interactional perspective) Interdepartmental cooperation to reduce the form burdens the businesses have towards the government.
- The IT perspective (interactional perspective) A “tool box” public authorities and agencies can use to produce and operate their electronic forms and services both towards the public and towards the businesses.