Sole proprietorship in Norway – how to start

Kvinne foran laptop. Illustrasjonsbilde til artikkel om å starte enkeltpersonforetak. / sole proprietorship in Norway.

How to start a sole proprietorship in Norway: It is simple and not very bureaucratic. Follow this guide step by step, and you are good to go.

The proprietorship’s address needs to be in Norway, but you as a proprietor can live abroad.

If you are not a citizen in an EU- or EEA-country, you need a permit for work in Norway to be able to run a business here. You can apply for a D-number when starting a business via the Brønnøysund Register.

NB Take a look here if you are thinking about starting an LLC (private limited liability company, aksjeselskap in Norwegian).

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How to start a sole proprietorship in short

  1. Define your business idea.
  2. Register in “Enhetsregisteret” (or in the Register of Business Enterprises (Foretaksregisteret), see below). You do this electronically via Coordinated register notification in Altinn. (Opens a new tab.)
  3. Sell your goods or services.

Important info about when you have to register

First of all: It is possible to be self-employed without registering an SP in Brønnøysundregistrene.

This applies to you mainly if you are selling services that are not VAT-obliged, and if you do not have any employees. You will then send an invoice with your national identification number (even though it isn’t very tempting, considering privacy). If you need to get into an attached register (the VAT-register or the employer-/employee-register being two examples), you need to register in “Enhetsregisteret”.

Therefore you might as well start a sole proprietorship and register in “Enhetsregisteret“. It’s free, and the SP gets a registration number. This is usually adequate if you are going to sell services and/or self-produced goods.

If the sole proprietorship in Norway resells purchased goods or has at least five employees, it needs to be registered in the Register of Business Enterprises (Foretaksregisteret).

If you register the proprietorship digitally in the Register of Business Enterprises, it costs 2250 NOK (opens a new tab.)

Starting a sole proprietorship in Norway – eight steps

Calculated duration: one hour.

Follow this list when starting an SP:

  1. Find a name and secure the URL BEFORE you start the sole proprietorship

    Norid, Brønnøysundregistrene and Pantestyret have created a service called “Navnesøk“. You can check if the name you want and the URL is available.

    NB! Secure the URL you want before you start the sole proprietorship. If you don’t, you risk others snapping it in front of you and demanding a much higher price for it. Some traders continuously pay attention to which businesses are starting up.

  2. Click into Altinn

    Click here to get into Altinn. (Opens a new tab.)

    Click on the form called Coordinated register notification (the black field). Choose your preferred login method. I often use BankID.

  3. Choose the type of company

    Choose “New entity” (Ny enhet), and then “Sole proprietorship” (Enkeltpersonforetak).

    NB! Select the correct option under the VAT-register (Merverdiavgiftsregisteret). Being newly established, you should select the second option (The amount limit has not passed….).
    Here you will also be asked if the company is to be registered in the Register of Business Enterprises (read about the rules further up in this article).

    Select “Enhetsregisteret” if you are planning on selling services or self-produced goods. This is free.

  4. Fill in an e-mail address or a phone number

    Follow the further instructions in the filling of the form.

    NB! Now all newly-established businesses have to fill in a notifying address (e-mail address or a phone number) via Coordinated register notification. The Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten) emphasizes on the fact that the notifying address will not be publically accessible information.

    Once you get to “Business and branch of trade” (Virksomhet og bransje), you are going to describe what you are planning to do in the business.

    Tip: Make sure to describe the activity thoroughly and make it evident that you have ambitions to run this as a business and not a hobby. I have heard from establishers that have gotten their register in return because the description implied that it should count only as a hobby.

  5. Employees or no employees when starting a sole proprietorship

    Under the point called “Employees” (ansatte): If you assume that only you (and/or spouse) are going to work in the company, you should select “The entity is not going to have employees”. This is because you as a proprietor are never employed in your own sole proprietorship (and neither is your spouse).

    When you get asked if the entity has an authorized accountant: Check it if you have agreed with an authorized accountant to do the accounting for your business. You can also do the accounting yourself, for example by using our partner Fiken (aff.). Think thoroughly through whether you’re ready for that task, or if you should have an authorized accountant do some or all of it.

    Sole proprietorships rarely need an auditor.

    On the page about procuration (authorization to perform on behalf of the entity), for most sole proprietorships it is not necessary to check it. You can change this later.

  6. A different name for marketing?

    You will now get to “Information about the business”.

    If you already know you are going to use a different name for marketing, check that.

    Fill in what’s necessary on the page, and remember to fill in the date for starting the business.

  7. VAT or no VAT

    You will now get to “Registering in the VAT-register”.

    Choose the correct alternative. If you are going to sell VAT-obligated goods and/or services, you need to check this even if the company isn’t registered in the VAT-register yet. You can then apply for registering in advance (if the conditions are met).

    You’ll find a further explanation on the page of registering. If you are going to sell services that aren’t VAT-obligated, you can choose this alternative.

  8. Completion and submission

    Before you submit the registering electronically, it will automatically be controlled. You will get notified if there are lacks or errors in the form, and going back and forth in the form is no problem.

    You can also save the form and wait to submit it.

    Finish!

Check how long you have to wait for your sole proprietorship in Norway

Here you can see how long you need to expect to wait for an answer from Brønnøysundregistrene. (Opens a new tab.)

If you are looking to start a private limited liability company: This is how you start an LLC.

NB! Once you have turned 15 years old, you can apply for permission to start a sole proprietorship

The main rule is that you need to be 18 years old to start a sole proprietorship, but minors over 15 years can in some cases get permission to run a business (but only through a sole proprietorship).

This is regulated in the guardian law’s paragraph 11. (Opens a new tab.)

The guardian (usually a parent) can permit for the minor to run a business but needs approval from the county governor.

In the law, it says that “A minor that has gotten permission to run a business, can by him/herself achieve the dispositions that fall within the field of the business.” There are some exceptions (see the paragraph linked above), and the guardian can, later on, withdraw the permission after approval from the county governor. But there needs to be a good reason.

Contact the county governor in your county (opens a new tab) if this is relevant.

Opprett konto her – og få en kortfattet sammenligning av enkeltpersonforetak og aksjeselskap.

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