Income and wealth public in Norway

October 24th, 2009 at 7:59 am by David Farrar

Incredible. Norway publishes both the income and the wealth of every Norwegian taxpayer. That would put the NBR Rich List out of circulation when you can get it straight from the IRD!

Many media outlets use the tax records to produce their own searchable online databases. In the database of national broadcaster NRK, you can type a subject’s name, hit search and within moments get information on what that person made last year, what was paid in taxes and total wealth.

It also compares those figures with ’s national averages for men and women, and that person’s city of residence. Defenders of the system say it enhances transparency, deemed essential for an open democracy.

“Isn’t this how a social democracy ought to work, with openness, transparency and social equality as ideals?” columnist Jan Omdahl wrote in the tabloid Dagbladet.

But he acknowledged that many treat the list like “tax porno” – furtively checking the income of neighbours or co-workers.

Critics say the list is actually a threat to society.

“What each Norwegian earns and what you have in wealth is a private matter between the taxpayer and the government,” said Jon Stordrange, director of the Norwegian Taxpayers Association.

Besides providing criminals with a useful tool to find prime targets, he said the list generates playground taunts of my-dad-is-richer-than-your-dad.

“The children of people with low wages are being teased about it in the schools,” Stordrange said.

“People with low salaries are being met with comments at the grocery store, ‘How can you live on these low wages?”‘

The information had been available to media until 2004, when a more conservative government banned the publication of tax records. Three years later, a new, more liberal government reversed the legislation and made it possible for media to obtain tax information digitally and disseminate it online.

I can’t see a party campaigning on such a policy here!

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17 Responses to “Income and wealth public in Norway”

  1. wreck1080 (3,924 comments) says:

    I already mentioned this here.

    And , Norway is not the only country that does this either.

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  2. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    I think it would be good for NZ if we could see how much each person paid in tax and how much each person received from the government in welfare ‘entitlements’.

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  3. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    “The children of people with low wages are being teased about it in the schools”

    In New Zealand primary schools many children are given breakfast and lunch as mum and dad are playing pokies and drinking down at the local gang pad. You can’t tease these kids or else the mighty mob will burn your house down!

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  4. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    I can’t see a party campaigning on such a policy here!

    I think that many, many female voters would support such a policy – it would end gender based salary discrimination overnight.

    [DPF: If there is any to end. There are differences betwee industries, but I doubt there are many employers that pay people less just because they are female]

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  5. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Gender based discrimination – what a load of rot Danyl, look how many women are in high paid public service positions. Go play your feminist card at lunch with the gals. Better still join Helen and get sex in the shitty in the big bad apple!

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  6. Johnboy (16,665 comments) says:

    It would be bloody fascinating to see what the great champions of the proletariat were worth like the Labour/Green/Jimbos/Union bosses/Mintos/Trotters and all the others who bleat on behalf of the supposed downtrodden of society. Would destroy whatever credibility the bastards have left methinks.

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  7. thedavincimode (6,800 comments) says:

    “I can’t see a party campaigning on such a policy here!”

    Indeed.

    I can’t ever see a party campaigning on stealing taxpayer money and passing a law to legitimise that theft, banning free speech, abolition of Privy Council appeals, criminalisation of smacking as distinct from bashing, buying a trainset, buying votes, importing voters, increasing dependency on the state (ie taxpayers), politicalisation of the police, political corruption and engaging with corrupt politicians …

    Certainly, no party has ever campaigned on those policies.

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  8. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    As I have posted previously, current NZ Ministry of Economic Development proposals would require “large” (>50 employees) private companies to publish public accounts. It’s not too big a step to require private individuals to put their personal details out there.

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  9. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    Yes, it is some small sliver of comfort that, no matter how much of a commie-fascist basketcase New Zealand is, you can always go to Canada or Scandanavia, where it is worse. :-/

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  10. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Danyl Mclauchlan – I agree, Many females would support such a policy………but not for the reasons you state

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  11. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    I don’t see why private income should be public domain.
    Beneficiaries income maybe but not private, it’s none of your business!
    Anyone who takes a Govt subsidy or benefit incl WFF should be on a list and the amount pa listed.
    That’s only fair to all the people contributing but private income, nah that’s bollocks.
    Whilst you may maon about the Socialist State of NZ, we aren’t there yet thank god.

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  12. Robert Winter (100 comments) says:

    Dilemma, dilemma – transparency and accountability for the individual (surely what the Right has been banging on about forever) versus the civil rights of the individual ( a classical liberal touchstone). I know – let’s make the poor be transparent and accountable, and, for example, have ministers read out their financial circumstances in parliament, but let’s make sure that the rich are fully protected (for example, when they want to donate to political parties, or decide how much tax they think they should pay). It’s easy really.

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  13. CircusMind (23 comments) says:

    Maybe if income and tax records are made public the bottom 90% will finally see that the top 10 really are carrying too much of the country’s tax burden, that lower taxes really are the only option that would bring true equality, and that they should stop their socialist complaining.

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  14. Southern Raider (1,831 comments) says:

    Danyl how can you use it for gender equality?

    It is an income record and wouldn’t state
    – experience
    – number of hours worked
    – position
    – income from other sources
    – qualifications

    All that would happen is someone like Dyson would compare a male middle manager and a female waitress to justify why woman are getting screwed.

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  15. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    I think it would be good for NZ if we could see how much each person paid in tax and how much each person received from the government in welfare ‘entitlements’.

    I think it would be great if there was better understanding of this IN GENERAL. Many would be shocked by how little net tax is paid by a large proportion of the population (and many are net beneficiaries), and how much of the tax burden falls on the few. I note, by the way, the media’s eagerness in the case of tax cuts to say how much peopleat different income levels would get from them, but not to explain how much people still have to pay.

    But what specific individuals pay? How much they are worth? NO. None of your business, or mine.

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  16. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    Watch for Norways labour cost inflation to increase in the next few years.

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