Norway's "Voluntary" Tax Collects A Paltry $1,325

Tyler Durden's picture

It’s too bad for Norway’s ruling center-right party that Warren Buffett isn’t a resident. After becoming the object of unceasing criticism by their politicized slashing of taxes and funding a profligate spending program with the country’s oil wealth, Norway’s center-right party hit upon a novel idea: Impose a “voluntary” tax, according to Bloomberg.

However, when it came time to tally the total for this past fiscal year, the great northern policy ploy failed to evoke in the country’s 5.3 million citizens a patriotic fervor: When it was all said and done, the government collected $1,325.

Launched in June, the initiative has received a lukewarm reception, with the equivalent of just $1,325 in extra revenue being collected so far, according to the Finance Ministry. That’s not much for a country of 5.3 million people, many of whom are already accustomed to paying some of the highest taxes in the world (the top rate of income tax is 46.7 percent).

“The tax scheme was set up to allow those who want to pay more taxes to do so in a simple and straightforward way,” Finance Minister Siv Jensen said in an emailed comment.


“If anyone thinks the tax level is too low, they now have the chance to pay more.”

Left-of-center opposition parties claimed the tax cuts would benefit the richest and boost inequality. Jonas Gahr Store, the wealthy Labor Party contender who is leading in the polls ahead of the September 11 elections, has so far refused to take up the government’s offer.

Ironically, it was Store, whose net worth is $8 million, who prodded the government into action by complaining earlier this year that he had ended up paying less taxes under the current administration.

“This is an election campaign showcase by the government,” said Harald Jacobsen, a political adviser at the Labor party, who argues that the scheme has cost more than what it has generated

Rather than engaging in political distractions, the government should aggressively target multinationals like Facebook or Google, which skirt the law to minimize their tax contributions, Jacobsen said

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LA_Goldbug's picture

What sane person would come up with the suggestion of paying more taxes ? Are Norwegians this stupid.

Ghordius's picture

in defense of all Scandinavians... they kind of "like to try out new things", from the perspective of us europeans further south

in fact, you could call them something like "the progressive europeans", in the sense that their belief that you can and ought to constantly improve both the state and society is quite strong, and this leads to exactly this

in further defense of them, when they try things out and they don't work, they are as quick to discard the attempt, in most cases

LA_Goldbug's picture

My favorite of late "experimenter" in mighty Europe

SpanishGoop's picture

"Jews have an important role to play in Europe".

Yes, Germany wants to divert from burning coal.


LA_Goldbug's picture

They lost the know-how somewhere on the road to Merkel

SoDamnMad's picture

So why aren't they making a bigger push to control the Muslim influx?

Ghordius's picture

in part... they are. but a lot of this is under-reported, in English

I'll try an example: Denmark is, both in politics and media, "fopping" and "trolling" Sweden since years

the funniest remark was "Sweden tried to become a humanitarian super-power... and failed"

that's the same country that "trolls" the UK (and it's Brexit) with this:

"there are two kind of countries, in Europe (meaning the EU, here): those who are small and those who have not yet found out that they are small"

from the perspective of Scandinavian countries, they did something like a U-turn, in all things related to refugees and immigrants, particularly from the ME

from the perspective of Germany, they did also a U-turn. and don't get me started with countries like Austria, or Hungary, or France

and Italy is also starting to make noises of the kind of "nope, radical change in all those things needed, soon"

but, again, those things are under-reported, in English-speaking media in general and "doom and gloom" media in particular

2017 is not 2015... here. but from the perspective of elsewhere, you could be excused to think there is no difference

shovelhead's picture

Good thing their diversity experiment is a burning success.

So many communities now where police and fire dept's no longer need to be present.

That's Progress.

BennyBoy's picture


Maybe the Norsk gov was giving free Lutefisk with each donation.

Lutefisk: a repulsive gelatinous fishlike dish that tastes of soap and gives off an odor that would gag a goat.

dchang0's picture

I think voluntary taxes could only work IF all mandatory taxes were simultaneously removed. That is to say, gov't services would immediately stop unless some concerned citizens and corporations voluntarily stepped up to fund the gov't.

I'm not saying it WILL work, but that the only possible way in that it could even have a chance is if many people stand to lose services that they could take for granted under a mandatory tax regime.

LA_Goldbug's picture

But Norwegians already pay humongous taxes so this idea ,at least to me, makes little sense.

keep the bastards honest's picture

those who love their country(or {{ }} who have a tax issue where its worth it). Thats what it takes. Back  around late 1980's or 1990 or so when  we had Keating as PM, Aus had a national debt of less than 2000 AUD per  head. I would gladly have paid up  out of my life savings for myself, the toyboy and my son if it had been offered and there was integrity.

Now Aus has zero national identity,  mainly the older (ie white) people pay their tramfares... and a tram ticket inspector told me so after I remarked I was glad to see him checking. I do not care to pay one cent more than I have to.

Similarly Aus has a residual 7 million with irish ancestry and  many of us as diaspora would have  donated to Ireland to counter the terrible bailout of the bankers failed buisness model plus the allied irish banks trickery to get the govt to  agree. They had a tiny govt debt previously and we hmming along doing good things... like funding gaeilic language and creativity, restorations etc

Offthebeach's picture

Call it Liberal ( Leftist  ) Leadership Tax.  LLT.

All the government paycheck, non-profit, tust fund lefties can rush to stuff their money into the fetid maw of gooberment.


( crickets )

SpanishGoop's picture

Stop spending enormous amounts of tax money on migrants.

Perhaps Norwegians will participate more.


slipreedip's picture

OK WORLD NO LONGER "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. 




VK's picture

Tax rate in 1770's USA was under 2%. And now? People have voted for this, their own enslavement for centuries.

dchang0's picture

Well, in truth, they always voted to "tax the other guy," not thinking that at the same time, the other guy is voting to tax them!

Jballsquared's picture

Well sure but in 1770 the USA couldn't launch 60 cruise missiles from a boat into the Syrian desert and more or less hit a target. You gotta admit that's an impressive use of half your income.

Catullus's picture

Looks like an intelligence test

c0nnect3d's picture

An accurate representation of the Norwegians satisfaction from public services...

Soul Glow's picture

Here in Portland Or we have an "Art Tax" that peple pay or else...OR get your name printed on a list.  Now here is the interesting thing to me.  I am all for paying for kids art classes - if you know who I am I am very anti government - but hey I would totally pay a small sum so kids can have fun painting.  But here's the thing, I forget to send the check!  Why?  I have more important things to do.  This is one reason socialism doesn't work.

Socialism doesn't work because people don't actually care.  I do, yes I do, I care about kids.  But I don't care about it enough to send a check that I don't need to.  Especially because I don't want to be taxed and that is how it is sold.  If it was a "donation" then yes I may send it.  I love donating.  But I hate fucking taxes, so I haven't paid the tax.

LA_Goldbug's picture

Well in USA the official language is English. When I hear about stuff like this and the money wasted I get angry.

"Just three schools nationally – in Texas, Oregon and Washington – have similar programs in Vietnamese."

But ...

Soul Glow's picture

Here in Portland Or we have an "Art Tax" that peple pay or else...OR get your name printed on a list.  Now here is the interesting thing to me.  I am all for paying for kids art classes - if you know who I am I am very anti government - but hey I would totally pay a small sum so kids can have fun painting.  But here's the thing, I forget to send the check!  Why?  I have more important things to do.  This is one reason socialism doesn't work.

Socialism doesn't work because people don't actually care.  I do, yes I do, I care about kids.  But I don't care about it enough to send a check that I don't need to.  Especially because I don't want to be taxed and that is how it is sold.  If it was a "donation" then yes I may send it.  I love donating.  But I hate fucking taxes, so I haven't paid the tax.

NMA's picture

Ofcourse tax should be higher..... just not on me..... 

slipreedip's picture

Americans pay a lot of tax and the IRS chases international Americans as well as local Americans.

Yet...Your infrastructure is crumbling, your municipalities are going broke and your education system is 3rd rate.

Your military is fantastic, (BUT YOUR VETS ARE IGNORED),

Your political class is corrupt and your military industrial complex are teamed with them to obliterate the middle class.

You have no universal HEALTH CARE like many smaller/poorer nations. You have 50 million people on food stamps.

You subisidise your farmers NOT TO GROW crops and your NATIONAL DEBT is the biggest debt in recorded history.


that reasonable taxation well utilised brings. Whats Americas problem?

Offthebeach's picture

Fk off.  

We got MIT, Stanford and 50 more universities that kick the rest of the worlds ass, combined.

We have counties that are richer than pip squeek European countries.

We lead the world in science, medicine, education, sports, military, space, agriculture. 

Our biker gangs eat yours for breakfast.

Europe' has had no influence in the world for 70 years, and none foreseeable for another 3 generations.  "Soft" ( limp ) power.

We have crooks and thieves.  You have masters.

We got guns, lots, and God willing will use them for a third time to clean our own house, ourselves, something Europe can't say.

BTW, the American poor live in more square feet, have more cars, more AC than the average middle income Euro peon.

Chris88's picture

Just curious of those wonderful countries with "better" medical care, can you tell me what biotech companies they have?  Can you name two?  Can you tell me what new medical devices, procedures, drugs, medical robotics, etc. have come from those countries?  Can you explain why those who need life saving surgery come to the US so they don't drop dead waiting? It's ok, those are all rhetorical.  BTW, genius, the US spends more on healthcare as a percentage of GDP than any other country on Earth.  But it's ok, just keep up your moronic sound bytes.

vollderlerby's picture

Hey, we have the best democracy that money can buy!

Chris88's picture

But, but, they are so happy to pay as they all tell me.  Oh so generous with other people's money.  So typical.

Manipuflation's picture

I can sit and fuck off for a while if I want but I already did that for a couple of months.  I totally revamped my resume.  I was too old school.  So now my degree is in "Environmental Sciences", which it is.  Horticulture is an environmental science and you need to know a broad field of experience.

If I broaden the scope that could mean anything.  All the trash in the lakes and rivers?  All the trash in the political system?  All of the trash in the banks and wall street?  All of the tenured trash in the universities?  I am very concerned about the environment.

Technically speaking, my degree is in earth sciences.  If nothing works out I really do think that I am going to get started on a honeybee hive.  There are two hives near me and right next to the communist garden that the Russian wife participates in.  I know how to grow a garden for fuck sakes.  Honeybees? I am not so sure.  Those bees scare everyone away but that is where I go and just study them.  I have never been stung once in four years.  They will land on you and check you out but then they communicate, "Fuck this guy, no necter here, let's go".

I'll just sit there and watch them.  It looks like a madhouse but it is organized trust me.  Without pollinators we are fucked.  It isn't just honeybees that can pollenate of course.  Coleoptara pollinates far more plants than Hymenoptera ever could.  Honeybees will give you some honey and beetles aren't my deal.             

Cordeezy's picture

Anyone who has money knows that you don't pay more than the government asks for in tax because the government will waste it.  They probably had to hire a few people to distribute this voluntary tax program, and it is now costing the country money.


New_Meat's picture

Here in the Commonwealth, we have a box that can be checked on  the tax form.  It allows for paying more taxes and the Commonwealth rakes in more money than Norge does.  But, as you say, even John Kerry's second wife's first husband's trust fund doesn't pay that extra.  They are loaded up on WMT and muni-bonds,  though.

Offthebeach's picture


Waste?  I wish.


The purpose of taxes is to make things worse, not waste, which would imply some, a bit, of improvement.

shimmy's picture

I'm just stunned that tax loving lefties don't actually do what they say. I'm sure they will give a lame excuse as to why they didn't willingly pay more rather than just admit they peddle bullshit they have no intention of following. 

NuYawkFrankie's picture

Gee... Norway should 'wise up' and take some pointers from the Good Ol' USSA where the "Voluntary" (if staring down the barrel of a gun is not your idea of "fun") Tax System rakes in over 5 or 6 $TRILLION*... that we know about!

(*Which ain't all that much considering the Pentagon has a habit of "losing" TWICE that amount - and no-one in CON-gress bats an eyelid)

NuYawkFrankie's picture

To: Warren Buffet
From: Norwegian Embassy, Wash DC
Subj: Voluntary Tax

Dear Warren,
thank you for you donation of $1,325.03!!!

We know that you've always been pleading to pay more taxes in the US - they just won't let you though! - but hardly expected you to show such public-spiritedness to a country not even your own!

Such largesse is truly legendary!

Your complimentary jar of Pickled-Herring (best if used before Aug 15th 2510)is in the mail. Enjoy!

(Psst... how much will you be claiming as a tax write-off... twice that amount? ;)

Last of the Middle Class's picture

Uncle Warren doesn't donate to anything he doesn't get payback in spades. . . literally

Fedtacular's picture

That's not how extortion works.  Duh

Zepper's picture

Every government in the world today is a mafia. Has anyone ever in the history of this world given money freely and willingly without coercion and expectations of future promises to a mafia? EVER!?


I rest my case.

insanelysane's picture

We have this in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.  A long time ago the income tax was raised "temporarily" from 5% to 5.85% to get through a financial "crisis".  I know you will all be shocked to learn that the tax was not reduced during the .com boom of the late 1990s early 2000s.  Finally the electorate voted to have it put back to 5%.  We're still not down to 5% as it is being gradually lowered.  It is currently 5.1%.  But of course the liberal patriots of the Commonwealth complained so some cheeky lawmaker instructed the state DOR to also include the tax rate table for 5.85%.  So you can pay either 5.1% or 5.85%.  Not many opt to pay higher.  The same with my local town that keeps trying to raise taxes for schools.  A "bunch" of people all said that it was such a great thing.  A majority keeps voting to not raise taxes so someone came up with the idea to let the bunch of people donate money to the school district.  Last I knew the donations were less than a $1,000.

shovelhead's picture


Still paying that "temporary toll" on the Tobin Bridge that was built after WW1?

Dilluminati's picture

Where is Zucker and his universal income when you needed him?

Behind is wall in Hawaii?

It's called income inequality because that is what it is.