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Why Norway has continued to see an exodus of wealthy residents

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Why Norway has continued to see an exodus of wealthy residents
Norway continues to see an exodus of wealthy individuals. Pictured is the Oslo Opera House. Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash

Despite the country’s high taxes, more wealthy people have typically moved to Norway than have left. However, this trend has reversed in recent years, and the country has seen an exodus of wealthy residents.


Between 2011 and 2021, for every five wealthy Norwegians who emigrated, seven super-rich people would replace them, according to figures from the Norwegian tax agency reported by business newspaper E24.

Those with net assets estimated at more than 100 million kroner were categorised as “super-rich” under the figures.

READ ALSO: How many foreigners are in Norway's top one percent of earners?

In 2022 and 2023, an average of 44 super-rich residents left Norway, and only three people moved to the country to replace them.

The 47 super-rich people who left the country in 2022 had a combined net worth of 44 billion kroner.

Norway’s wealth tax has been pointed out as one of the key factors for the exodus of wealth from Norway. Norway is one of the few countries that taxes net wealth.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about wealth tax in Norway

All tax residents in Norway are required to pay a rate of between 1 and 1.1 percent on their global net wealth above 1.7 million kroner. Since 2021, there have been several sharp increases in the wealth and dividends tax.

Liberal Party (Venstre) MP Alfred Bjørlo has said this development isn’t surprising.

“There is now a continuous flight of capital and ownership from Norway. One thing is that they have had the special taxes on Norwegian ownership turned up. But there is also a continuous debate about how they can tax the rich even harder,” the MP told E24.

“There is something about the climate. Namely, many people experience it as a hostile climate for conducting investments and business in Norway,” he added.


While 1.1 percent may not sound like a lot, those who have to pay the tax have said it is particularly unfair on those whose money is tied up in assets.
Those who have their money tied up in property or shares argue that being taxed on illiquid assets strains their finances.

Furthermore, Norway taxes gains on shares highly compared to other countries. This means those affected see the prospect of selling shares to pay the wealth tax as a form of double taxation.

Many of the highest profile tax exiles from Norway, including billionaires Kjell Inge Røkke, Caroline Hagen Kjos, Svein Støle, and Jørgen Dahl, have ended up in Switzerland despite the country also having its own wealth tax.

In Switzerland, wealth tax is decided by the cantons. Between the cantons, the wealth tax can vary between 0.3 and 0.5 percent. The country is also seen as more receptive to billionaires than Norway.


Meanwhile, billionaires featured in the Norwegian press have often claimed they are being “targeted” by unfair taxes.

Norway’s Ministry of Finance has said that when it came to attracting wealthy residents, the type of character was more important than the number of incomings and outgoings.

“The overall activity, good framework conditions and a high willingness to invest are probably more important than the movement of individuals. Having said that, we wish everyone who wants to come here and contribute to the Norwegian community, or invest here in Norway, a warm welcome,” state secretary in the finance ministry, Lars Vangen, told E24.


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