The Accounting legislation in Norway uses two terms to indicate that the accounting obligation is differentiated. The "bookkeeping obligation" is the obligation to keep accounts according to the bookkeeping rules and the "accounting obligation" is the obligation to submit annual accounts. An enterprise will either be subject to the bookkeeping obligation only, or both the bookkeeping obligation and the accounting obligation. This depends on the enterprise´s organisational form and the size of its turnover.
What is an accounting 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 engages in business activity and is obligated to submit the tax return 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.
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 are due to submit the tax return. 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.