If you're thinking of buying something from non-Norwegian websites (i.e. not ending with .no but for example, amazon.co.uk or or ebay.com to name two of the most popular ones) you should be aware that there are limits as to how much you can spend before you are liable to pay Norwegian taxes on your shopping.
It might not be worth the savings you think you`re making!
In Norway, the taxable limit for goods purchased online from foreign online stores is 350 kroner.
This means that all shipments with a value of less than 350 NOK, including shipping charges and insurance costs, are exempt from VAT. This applies to all items with the exception of alcohol and tobacco.
However for items more than 350 NOK the VAT is 25% of the total price including shipping costs (except for food where VAT is 15%).
The Norwegian customs website gives this example:
A skirt is purchased from an English online store:
Price of the item: NOK 1,000
Shipping costs: NOK 250
Duty (10.7% of NOK 1,250): NOK 134
The basis for calculation of VAT: NOK 1,384
VAT (25% of NOK 1,384): NOK 346
In this case the skirt will cost NOK 1,730.
As we can see the added VAT means shopping online can get expensive and is often not worth it. The VAT is paid in Norway when you pick up your goods from the post office, if you are not prepared you might be shocked by what you have to pay just to get your items.
The exception to this is for books, where the rules are a bit different: you do not pay customs duty or VAT on books for your own use. However be careful, because if you buy books along with other items (a t-shirt for example) you will pay VAT on everything in the order including the books.
So be aware when looking for bargains online, do your research, compare with Norwegian prices, and if you find something add an extra 25% to the price of whatever you see from foreign stores.
For more information on duties and taxes, see the Norwegian customs website toll.no here.
*Update: From 2020 the Norwegian government will remove the 350kr limit on shopping from abroad. Meaning that online shopping will become more expensive for Norwegians. The argument being that Norway is losing out on around 900kr million per year on packages sent from places like China, that are under the 350kr limit.