Bookkeeping obligation

The bookkeeping obligation means that you must keep accounts in accordance with the bookkeeping rules. These rules are set out in the Bookkeeping Act and the Bookkeeping Regulation. The bookkeeping rules will give you answers to questions such as: What kind of information should an invoice contain? What are the requirements concerning other vouchers? How long should I retain my vouchers for? What requirements are imposed on accounting systems?

Who is subject to the bookkeeping obligation?

Anyone who submits income statements and/or tax returns for VAT to the authorities is subject to the bookkeeping obligation. Anyone who is subject to the annual accounts obligation under the Accounting Act is also subject to the bookkeeping obligation. Most people who run their own commercial enterprise must therefore keep accounts in accordance with the bookkeeping rules. You should be aware of the difference between the bookkeeping obligation and the accounting obligation.

Skatteetaten om bokføring og regnskap (in Norwegian only)

Exceptions from the bookkeeping obligation

Some self-employed persons are exempt from the obligation to submit an income statement. Under the conditions for exemption, your income must be less than NOK 50,000 and you must not be registered in the VAT Register. If you are exempt from the obligation to submit income statements, you will also not be subject to the bookkeeping obligation either.
However, you must still document all your income and expenses and retain this documentation in accordance with the relevant bookkeeping rules.

The Norwegian Tax Administration on exemptions from the bookkeeping obligation (in Norwegian only)

What is bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping means keeping accounts. All purchases and sales which affect the business must be entered in the business's accounting system. Bookkeeping is also sometimes called registration or posting.

How often must the accounts be up-to-date?

You must ensure that you have registered all your vouchers so that the accounts are correct before the deadlines for submitting the various statements to the authorities. If you are registered for VAT and submit tax returns for VAT every other month, you must therefore be up-to-date six times a year. If you are not subject to VAT, under the bookkeeping rules you must be up-to-date every four months.

If you have fewer than 600 vouchers and are not registered for VAT, you can defer your bookkeeping until you have to submit the tax return and income statement. However, it is recommended that you do this regularly. A well-organised system for managing your vouchers on an ongoing basis is always an advantage in any case.

Skatteetaten – om gode rutiner for daglig drift



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