Payroll runs

For many people, the big change in accounting routines comes on the day they employ someone. The regulations relating to appointments and salary payments are extensive. At this point, many people decide to outsource their accounts to an accountant or ask an accountant to take responsibility for payroll runs.

Keeping payroll accounts can soon become complicated if you are not sure how it should be done. If you do decide to do it yourself, a payroll system will be a big help. There are many different payroll systems available to suit different needs. Common to most of them is that they are structured in such a way that holiday pay and employer's National Insurance contributions, for example, are calculated automatically, the a-melding can be submitted directly via the payroll system, and you will receive completed lists showing which accounts you should post the various transactions under. If you have the same payroll and accounting system, the transactions will often be posted automatically.

If you decide to do it yourself, you must have an overview of at least the following:

Tax deductions/Payroll withholding tax

As an employer, you must deduct tax from the salary you pay to your employees. The amount you must deduct will be stated in the employee's tax deduction card.

Holiday pay

You must also calculate and set aside holiday pay on salary and other work remuneration in your accounts. According to the Annual Holidays Act, employees are entitled to four weeks and one day of holiday. Employees aged over 60 years are entitled to an extra week's holiday. The holiday pay will then amount to 10.2% of the basis for the holiday pay. For employees over the age of 60, the rate is 12.5%.

If you are covered by a collective wage agreement or another agreement which gives a fifth week of holiday, the ordinary rate is 12% (14.3% for employees over 60).

Holiday pay must be presented as a liability in your accounts.

Employer's National Insurance contributions

When you have employees, you must calculate and pay employer's National Insurance contributions on salaries and other remuneration which you pay your employees. Remember that you must also calculate and post employer's National Insurance contributions on holiday pay.

Travel expenses

If you have employees who travel in connection with their work, you must agree how their expenses are to be reimbursed. There are generally no restrictions on what you and your employees can agree as regards how travel and subsistence expenses will be reimbursed. However, many people opt to follow the government's travel expenses scale. 

Payments in kind

In the context of employment, 'payments in kind' means benefits which the employee receives from their employer in a form other than money. They are sometimes also known as 'perks'. Company cars and free use of telephone/internet are payments in kind. A low-interest loan from an employer will also constitute a payment in kind.

Payments in kind are generally taxable for the recipient, but some benefits are tax-free.


If you cover costs for telephone/internet which the employee can also use privately, this must be declared as a benefit for tax purposes. A standard rule is used concerning the taxation of benefits linked to the use of all forms of electronic communication services (ECOM services). The maximum taxable benefit is NOK 4,392.

You must declare this information together with the salary.

Company cars

If you have employees who use a car which is owned or leased by the company for private use, the associated benefit must be declared as salary income and the employee will have to pay tax on it. A car does not need to be used privately to any great extent before taxation is triggered. You should therefore familiarise yourself with the relevant rules before you allow your employees to use a company car for private travel.


When you pay salary, cash benefits, payments in kind or expense allowances, you must also submit an a-melding to the authorities. If you have deducted payroll withholding tax, this must also be reported in the a-melding. You must submit a-meldings by the 5th of the month after the payment. It is the date of payment which determines when you must submit information.

Payment of tax deductions and employer's National Insurance contributions

Tax that you have deducted from your employees' salaries and calculated employer's National Insurance contributions must be paid to the authorities six times a year. When you submit an a-melding, you will receive feedback in Altinn (or alternatively directly in your payroll system) giving information on the amount, account number, KID and the tax collector to whom you must make the payment.


If you have an employee who accrues unpaid debt or other monetary claims, as their employer you may be ordered to make deductions from their salary. This is known as a 'garnishment'. You will be told exactly how much to deduct and to whom you should pay the amount you deduct. Only public authorities can order deductions to be made from employees' salaries.

As an employer, you are obliged to implement garnishments

Annual summary

At the close of the year, as an employer you must prepare and submit a summary of the information you have reported for each of your employees.

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