STO » Topics » Taxation

This excerpt taken from the STO 20-F filed Mar 24, 2009.

6.6 Taxation

This section describes the material Norwegian tax consequences that apply to shareholders resident in Norway as well as to non-resident shareholders in connection with the acquisition, ownership and disposal of shares and ADSs.

Norwegian tax matters
This section does not provide a complete description of all tax regulations which might be relevant (i.e. for investors to whom special regulations may be applicable). This section is based on current law and practice. Shareholders should consult their professional tax adviser for advice concerning individual tax consequences.
Taxation of dividends
Under the participation exemption model, corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes are exempt from tax on dividends distributed by Norwegian companies. However, effective from 7 October 2008, 3% of net income that is tax free under the participation exemption will be included in the Norwegian corporate shareholder's general taxable income. For individual shareholders, double taxation applies: Dividend income exceeding a "deductible allowance", which is an amount equal to the risk-free interest after tax on the base cost of the shareholding, will be taxable at a flat rate, currently 28%. The average interest on Treasury bills of 3 months' maturity will be applied.

Non-resident shareholders are as a general rule subject to withholding tax at a rate of 25% on dividends distributed by Norwegian companies. This withholding tax does not apply to corporate shareholders that document that they are genuinely resident for tax purposes in a country in the European Economic Agreement area (EEA area) and that it is involved in genuine economic business activity in that country, provided that Norway is entitled to receive information from the state of residency according to a tax treaty or other international treaty. If no such treaty exists with the state of residency, the shareholder may instead present a certification issued by the tax authorities of the state of residency verifying the documentation.

The withholding rate of 25% is often reduced in tax treaties between Norway and other countries. Generally, the treaty rate does not exceed 15% and, in cases where a corporate shareholder holds a qualifying percentage of the shares of the distributing company, the withholding tax rate on dividends may be further reduced. The withholding tax rate in the tax treaty between the United States and Norway is currently 15% in all cases. The treaty is currently being renegotiated, but it is uncertain at what point in time a new treaty will be in place. Shareholders that carry on business activities in Norway and whose shares are effectively connected with such activities are not liable to the withholding tax. In such case, the rules described in the above paragraph regarding corporate shareholders resident in Norway apply. We are obliged by law to deduct any applicable withholding tax when paying dividends to non-resident shareholders.

Under the tax treaty between Norway and the United States, the 15% withholding rate will apply to dividends paid on shares held directly by holders who are able to properly demonstrate to the company that they are entitled to the benefits of the tax treaty.

Dividends paid to the depositary for redistribution to shareholders who hold ADSs will in principle be subject to withholding tax of 25%. The beneficial owners will in this case have to apply to the Central Office of Foreign Tax Affairs (COFTA) for a refund of the excess amount of tax withheld.

An application for a refund of withholding tax must contain the following:

  1. A specification of the distributing company(ies) involved, the exact amount of shares, the date the dividend payments were made, the total dividend payment, the withholding tax deducted in Norway and the amount that is being reclaimed. The withholding tax must be calculated in Norwegian currency and all sums specified accordingly (in NOK).
  2. Documentation that shows that the refund claimant received the dividends and the withholding tax rate that was applied in Norway.
  3. A certificate of residence issued by the tax authorities stating that the refund claimant is resident for tax purposes in that state in the income year in question or at the time the dividends were decided. This documentation must be the original document.
  4. If the refund application is based on an assertion that the shareholder is covered by the participation exemption method, the application must also contain the information necessary to decide whether the refund claimant is an entity covered by the tax exemption model.
  5. The information required to decide whether the refund claimant is the beneficial owner of the dividend payment(s).
  6. If the securities are registered with a foreign custodian/bank/clearing house, the claimant must provide information about which foreign custodian/bank/clearing house the securities are registered with in Norway.

The application must be signed by the applicant. If the application is signed by a proxy, a copy of the letter of authorisation must be enclosed.

However, pursuant to agreements with the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway and the Norwegian Directorate of Taxes, the Bank of New York, acting as depositary, is entitled to receive dividends from us for redistribution to a beneficial owner of shares or ADSs at the applicable treaty withholding rate, if the beneficial holder has provided the Bank of New York with appropriate certification to establish such holder's eligibility for the benefits under the tax treaty with Norway.

Wealth tax. The shares are included in the basis for the computation of wealth tax imposed on individuals who, for tax purposes, are considered to be resident in Norway. Norwegian limited companies and certain similar entities are not subject to wealth tax. Currently, the marginal wealth tax rate is 1.1% of the value assessed. As of 2008, the assessment value of listed shares is 100% of the listed value of such shares on 1 January in the assessment year.

Non-resident shareholders are not subject to wealth tax in Norway for shares in Norwegian limited companies unless the shareholder is an individual and the shareholding is effectively connected with his business activities in Norway.

Inheritance tax and gift tax. When shares or ADSs are transferred, either through inheritance or as a gift, such transfer may give rise to inheritance tax in Norway if the deceased at the time of death, or the donor at the time of the gift, is a resident or citizen of Norway. However, if a Norwegian citizen is not a resident of Norway at the time of his or her death, Norwegian inheritance tax will not be levied if an inheritance tax or a similar tax is levied by the country of residence. Irrespective of citizenship, Norwegian inheritance tax may be levied if the shares or ADSs are effectively connected with the conducting of a trade or business through a permanent establishment in Norway.
Taxation on the realisation of shares
Under the participation exemption model, corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes are exempt from tax on gains on the disposal of shares. However, effective from 7 October 2008 3% of net income that is tax free under the participation exemption will be included in the Norwegian corporate shareholder's general taxable income. Costs directly related to the acquisition and sale of such shares are not deductible for tax purposes. Corporate shareholders will not be allowed a deduction for losses incurred on the sale, swap or redemption of shares if a gain would be exempted from taxation.

For individual shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes, the sale, redemption or other disposal of shares will be considered a taxable realisation of shares. Gains or losses in connection with such realisation are included in or deducted from the individual's general taxable income in the year of disposal. Ordinary income is taxed at a flat rate of 28%. The gain is subject to tax and the loss is deductible irrespective of the length of the ownership and the number of shares disposed of.

The taxable gain or loss is calculated as the sales price adjusted for transaction expenses minus the taxable basis. A shareholder's tax basis is normally equal to the acquisition cost of the shares. Any unused "deductible allowance" from previous years attributable to the individual shares realised may be deducted.

Shareholders not resident in Norway are generally not subject to tax in Norway on capital gains, and losses are not deductible on the sale, redemption or other disposal of shares or ADSs in Norwegian companies, unless the shareholder is carrying on business activities in Norway and such shares or ADSs are or have been effectively connected with such activities. In addition, individual shareholders previously resident in Norway may on certain conditions be liable to tax in Norway for such gains if the realisation takes place within five years of the end of the calendar year in which the shareholder ceased to be a resident of Norway for tax purposes, or, alternatively, within five years of the Norwegian tax residency expiring pursuant to Norwegian domestic law or tax treaty.

Transfer tax. No transfer tax is imposed in Norway in connection with the sale or purchase of shares.
United States tax matters
This section describes the material United States federal income tax consequences for US holders (as defined below) of owning shares or ADSs. It only applies to you if you hold your shares or ADSs as capital assets for tax purposes. This section does not apply to you if you are a member of a special class of holders subject to special rules, including:

  • dealers in securities;
  • traders in securities that elect to use a mark-to-market method of accounting for their securities holdings;
  • tax-exempt organisations;
  • life insurance companies;
  • persons liable to alternative minimum tax;
  • persons that actually or constructively own 10% or more of the voting stock of StatoilHydro;
  • persons that hold shares or ADSs as part of a straddle or a hedging or conversion transaction; or
  • persons whose functional currency is not USD.

This section is based on the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, its legislative history, existing and proposed regulations, published rulings and court decisions, and the Convention between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Norway for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and Property (the ''Treaty''). These laws are subject to change, possibly on a retroactive basis. In addition, this section is based in part upon the representations of the depositary and the assumption that each obligation in the deposit agreement and any related agreement will be performed in accordance with its terms. For United States federal income tax purposes, if you hold ADRs evidencing ADSs, you will generally be treated as the owner of the ordinary shares represented by those ADRs. Exchanges of shares for ADRs, and ADRs for shares will not generally be subject to United States federal income tax.

You are a ''US holder'' if you are a beneficial owner of shares or ADSs and you are for United States federal income tax purposes:

  • an individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States;
  • a United States domestic corporation;
  • an estate whose income is subject to United States federal income tax regardless of its source; or
  • a trust if a United States court can exercise primary supervision over the trust's administration and one or more United States persons are authorised to control all substantial decisions of the trust.

You should consult your own tax advisor regarding the United States federal, state and local and other tax consequences of owning and disposing of shares and ADSs in your particular circumstances.

Taxation of dividends. Subject to the passive foreign investment, or PFIC, rules discussed below, if you are a US holder, the gross amount of any dividend paid by StatoilHydro of its current or accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for United States federal income tax purposes) is subject to United States federal income taxation. If you are a non-corporate US holder, dividends paid to you in taxable years beginning before 1 January 2011 that constitute qualified dividend income will be taxable at a maximum tax rate of 15% if you hold the shares or ADSs for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date and meet other holding-period requirements. Dividends we pay with respect to shares or ADSs will generally be qualified dividend income.

You must include any Norwegian tax withheld from the dividend payment in this gross amount even though you do not in fact receive the amount withheld as tax. The dividend is taxable to you when you, in the case of shares, or the depositary, in the case of ADSs, receive the dividend, actually or constructively. The dividend will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction generally allowed to United States corporations in respect of dividends received from other United States corporations.

The amount of the dividend distribution that you must include in your income as a US holder will be the value in US dollars (USD) of the payments made in Norwegian kroner (NOK) determined at the spot NOK/USD rate on the date the dividend distribution is included in your income, regardless of whether or not the payment is in fact converted into US dollars. Distributions in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits, as determined for United States federal income tax purposes, will be treated as a non-taxable return of capital to the extent of your tax basis in the shares or ADSs and, to an extent in excess of your tax basis, will be treated as capital gain.

Subject to certain limitations, the 15% Norwegian tax withheld in accordance with the Treaty and paid to Norway will be creditable against your United States federal income tax liability. Special rules apply when determining the foreign tax credit with respect to dividends that are subject to the maximum 15% rate. Dividends will be income from sources outside the United States. Dividends paid in taxable years beginning before 1 January 2007 will generally be ''passive income'' or ''financial services income'', and dividends paid in taxable years beginning after 31 December 2006 will, depending on your circumstances, be ''passive'' or ''general'' income, which, in either case, is treated separately from other types of income for purposes of computing the foreign tax credit allowable to you.

Any gain or loss resulting from currency exchange rate fluctuations during the period from the date you include the dividend payment in income until the date you convert the payment into US dollars will generally be treated as ordinary income or loss and will not be eligible for the special tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income. Such gain or loss will generally be income or loss from sources within the United States for foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

Taxation of capital gains. Subject to the PFIC rules discussed below, if you are a US holder and you sell or otherwise dispose of your shares or ADSs, you will generally recognise a capital gain or loss for United States federal income tax purposes equal to the difference between the value in US dollars of the amount that you realise and your tax basis, determined in US dollars, in your shares or ADSs. A capital gain by a non-corporate US holder that is recognised before 1 January 2011 is generally taxed at a maximum rate of 15% if the holding period of the holder is longer than one year. The gain or loss will generally be income or loss from sources within the United States for foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

If you receive any foreign currency on the sale of shares or ADSs, you may recognise ordinary income or loss from sources within the United States as a result of currency fluctuations between the date of the sale of the shares or ADSs and the date the sales proceeds are converted into US dollars.

PFIC Rules. We believe that the shares and ADSs should not be treated as stock of a PFIC for United States federal income tax purposes, but this conclusion is a factual determination that is made annually and thus may be subject to change. If we were to be treated as a PFIC, unless a US holder elects to be taxed annually on a mark-to-market basis with respect to the shares or ADSs, a gain realised on the sale or other disposition of the shares or ADSs would in general not be treated as a capital gain. Instead, if you are a US holder, you would be treated as if you had realised such gain and certain "excess distributions" ratably over your holding period for the shares or ADSs and would be taxed at the highest tax rate in effect for each such year to which the gain was allocated, together with an interest charge in respect of the tax attributable to each such year. With certain exceptions, the shares or ADSs will be treated as stock in a PFIC if we were a PFIC at any time during the period you held the shares or ADSs. Dividends that you receive from us will not be eligible for the special tax rates applicable to qualified dividend income if we are treated as a PFIC with respect to you, either in the taxable year of the distribution or the preceding taxable year, but will instead be taxable at rates applicable to ordinary income.

This excerpt taken from the STO 20-F filed Mar 20, 2007.

Taxation

Norwegian Tax Matters
This section describes the material Norwegian tax consequences that apply to shareholders resident in Norway as well as non-resident shareholders in connection with the acquisition, ownership, and disposal of the shares and ADSs. This section does not provide a complete description of all tax regulations which might be relevant (i.e., for investors for whom special regulations may be applicable). This section is based on current law and practice. Shareholders should consult their professional tax advisor for advice concerning individual tax consequences.

On December 10, 2004 the Norwegian tax reform was approved by the Storting. The reform is fully in force with effect for 2006.

Taxation of Dividends
Corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes are exempt from tax on dividends decided by the shareholders meeting of Norwegian companies.

For individual shareholders, a classical system with partial double taxation applies: Dividend income exceeding a “shield interest deduction”, which is an amount equal to the risk-free interest after tax on the base cost of the shareholding, will be taxable at a flat rate, currently 28 per cent. The average interest on Treasury bills of 3 months’ maturity will be applied.

Non-resident shareholders are as a general rule subject to a withholding tax at a rate of 25 per cent on dividends distributed by Norwegian companies. This withholding tax does not apply to corporate shareholders resident for tax purposes in European Economic Area (EEA) countries. The withholding rate of 25 per cent is often reduced in tax treaties between Norway and the country in which the shareholder is resident. Generally, the treaty rate does not exceed 15 per cent and in cases where a corporate shareholder holds a qualifying percentage of the shares of the distributing company, the withholding tax rate on dividends may be further reduced. The withholding tax rate in the tax treaty between the United States and Norway is currently 15 per cent in all cases. However, the treaty is in the process of being renegotiated. Current signals indicate that a new treaty may come into effect from 2008 onwards. The withholding tax does not apply to shareholders that carry on business activities in Norway and whose shares are effectively connected with such activities. In that case, the rules described in the paragraph above regarding corporate shareholders resident in Norway apply. We are obligated by law to deduct any applicable withholding tax when paying dividends to non-resident shareholders except individual and corporate shareholders within the EEA.

The 15 per cent withholding rate under the tax treaty between Norway and the United States will apply to dividends paid on shares held directly by holders properly demonstrating to the company that they are entitled to the benefits of the tax treaty.

Dividends paid to the depositary for redistribution to shareholders holding ADSs will at the outset be subject to a withholding tax of 25 per cent. The beneficial owners will in this case have to apply to the Central Office for Foreign Tax Affairs (COFTA) for refund of the excess amount of tax withheld. As yet there is no standardized application form to obtain a refund of Norwegian withholding tax. An application must contain the following:

1. A specification of the distributing company(ies) involved, the exact amount of shares, the date the dividend payments were made, the total dividend payment, the withholding tax drawn in Norway and what amount is being reclaimed. The withholding tax must be calculated in Norwegian currency and all sums specified accordingly (in NOK).
2. Documentation that shows that the refund claimant received the dividends and which withholding tax rate was used in Norway.
3. A certificate of residence issued by the tax authorities stating that the refund claimant is resident for tax purposes in that state in the income year in question or at the time the dividends were decided. This documentation must be in original.
4. The information necessary to decide whether the refund claimant is an entity comprised by the tax exemption model.
5. The information necessary to decide whether the refund claimant is the beneficial owner of the dividend payment(s).
6. If the securities are registered with a foreign custodian/bank/clearing central the claimant must submit information on which foreign custodian/bank/clearing central the securities are registered with in Norway.

The application must be signed by the applicant. If the application is signed by proxy, a copy of the letter of authorization must be enclosed.

However, pursuant to agreements with The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway and the Norwegian Directorate of Taxes, The Bank of New York, acting as depositary, is entitled to receive dividends from us for redistribution to a beneficial owner of shares or ADSs at the applicable treaty withholding rate, provided the beneficial holder has furnished The Bank of New York appropriate certification to establish such holder’s eligibility for the benefits under an applicable tax treaty with Norway.

Wealth Tax. The shares are included when computing the wealth tax imposed on individuals who for tax purposes are considered resident in Norway. Norwegian joint stock companies and certain similar entities are not subject to wealth tax. Currently, the marginal wealth tax rate is 1.1 per cent of the value assessed. The value for assessment purposes for shares listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange is 65 per cent of the listed value of such shares as of January 1 in the year of assessment.

Non-resident shareholders are not subject to wealth tax in Norway for shares in Norwegian joint stock companies unless the shareholder is an individual and the shareholding is effectively connected with his business activities in Norway.

Inheritance Tax and Gift Tax. When shares or ADSs are transferred, either through inheritance or as a gift, such transfer may give rise to inheritance tax in Norway if the deceased, at the time of death, or the donor, at the time of the gift, is a resident or citizen of Norway. If a Norwegian citizen at the time of death, however, is not a resident of Norway, Norwegian inheritance tax will not be levied if an inheritance tax or a similar tax is levied by the country of residence. Irrespective of citizenship, Norwegian inheritance tax may be levied if the shares or ADSs are effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business through a permanent establishment in Norway.

Taxation upon Disposition of Shares
Corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes are exempt from tax on gains on the disposal of shares. Costs directly related to the acquisition and sale of such shares are not deductible for tax purposes. Corporate shareholders will not be allowed a deduction for losses upon sale, swap and redemption of shares if a gain would be exempt.

Individual shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes realize a taxable gain or loss upon a sale, redemption or other disposal of shares. Such capital gain or loss is included in or deducted upon computation of general income in the year of disposal. General income is taxed at a flat rate of 28 per cent. The gain is subject to tax and the loss is deductible irrespective of the length of the ownership and the number of shares disposed of.

The taxable gain or loss is computed as the sales price adjusted for transactional expenses less the taxable basis. A shareholder’s tax basis is normally equal to the acquisition cost of the shares. Any unused “shield interest deduction” from earlier years attributable to the individual shares realized may be deducted.

Shareholders not resident in Norway are generally not subject to tax in Norway on capital gains, and losses are not deductible upon sale, redemption or other disposition of shares or ADSs in Norwegian companies, unless the shareholder has been resident for tax purposes in Norway and the disposal takes place within five years after the end of the calendar year in which the shareholder ceased to be a resident of Norway for tax purposes or, alternatively, the shareholder is carrying on business activities in Norway and such shares or ADSs are or have been effectively connected with such activities.

Transfer Tax. There is no transfer tax imposed in Norway in connection with the sale or purchase of shares.

United States Tax Matters
This section describes the material United States federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders (as defined below) of owning shares or ADSs. It applies to you only if you hold your shares or ADSs as capital assets for tax purposes. This section does not apply to you if you are a member of a special class of holders subject to special rules, including:

• dealers in securities;
• traders in securities that elect to use a mark-to-market method of accounting for their securities holdings;
• tax-exempt organizations;
• life insurance companies;
• persons liable for alternative minimum tax;
• persons that actually or constructively own 10 per cent or more of the voting stock of Statoil;
• persons that hold shares or ADSs as part of a straddle or a hedging or conversion transaction; or
• persons whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar.

This section is based on the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, its legislative history, existing and proposed regulations, published rulings and court decisions, and the Convention between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Norway for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and Property (the ‘‘Treaty’’). These laws are subject to change, possibly on a retroactive basis. In addition, this section is based in part upon the representations of the depositary and the assumption that each obligation in the deposit agreement and any related agreement will be performed in accordance with its terms. For United States federal income tax purposes, if you hold ADRs evidencing ADSs, you generally will be treated as the owner of the ordinary shares represented by those ADRs. Exchanges of shares for ADRs, and ADRs for shares generally will not be subject to United States federal income tax.

You are a ‘‘U.S. holder’’ if you are a beneficial owner of shares or ADSs and you are for United States federal income tax purposes:

• an individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States;
• a United States domestic corporation;
• an estate whose income is subject to United States federal income tax regardless of its source; or
• a trust if a United States court can exercise primary supervision over the trust’s administration and one or more United States persons are authorized to control all substantial decisions of the trust.

You should consult your own tax advisor regarding the United States federal, state and local and other tax consequences of owning and disposing of shares and ADSs in your particular circumstances.


Taxation of Dividends. If you are a U.S. holder, the gross amount of any dividend paid by Statoil out of its current or accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for United States federal income tax purposes) is subject to United States federal income taxation. If you are a non-corporate U.S. holder, dividends paid to you in taxable years beginning before January 1, 2011 that constitute qualified dividend income will be taxable to you at a maximum tax rate of 15 per cent if you hold the shares or ADSs for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date and meet other holding-period requirements. Dividends we pay with respect to shares or ADSs generally will be qualified dividend income.

You must include any Norwegian tax withheld from the dividend payment in this gross amount even though you do not in fact receive the amount withheld as tax. The dividend is taxable to you when you, in the case of shares, or the depositary, in the case of ADSs, receive the dividend, actually or constructively. The dividend will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction generally allowed to United States corporations in respect of dividends received from other United States corporations.

The amount of the dividend distribution that you must include in your income as a U.S. holder will be the U.S. dollar value of the Norwegian kroner payments made, determined at the spot Norwegian kroner/U.S. dollar rate on the date the dividend distribution is included in your income, regardless of whether the payment is in fact converted into U.S. dollars. Distributions in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits, as determined for United States federal income tax purposes, will be treated as a non-taxable return of capital to the extent of your tax basis in the shares or ADSs and, to the extent in excess of your tax basis, will be treated as capital gain.

Subject to certain limitations, the 15 per cent Norwegian tax withheld in accordance with the Treaty and paid over to Norway will be creditable against your United States federal income tax liability. Special rules apply in determining the foreign tax credit with respect to dividends that are subject to the maximum 15 per cent rate. Dividends will be income from sources outside the United States. Dividends paid in taxable years beginning before January 1, 2007 generally will be ‘‘passive income’’ or ‘‘financial services income’’, and dividends paid in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2006 will, depending on your circumstances, be ‘‘passive’’ or ‘‘general’’ income, which, in either case, is treated separately from other types of income for purposes of computing the foreign tax credit allowable to you.

Any gain or loss resulting from currency exchange fluctuations during the period from the date you include the dividend payment in income to the date you convert the payment into U.S. dollars generally will be treated as ordinary income or loss and will not be eligible for the special tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income. Such gain or loss generally will be income or loss from sources within the United States for foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

Taxation of Capital Gains. If you are a U.S. holder and you sell or otherwise dispose of your shares or ADSs, you generally will recognize capital gain or loss for United States federal income tax purposes equal to the difference between the U.S. dollar value of the amount that you realize and your tax basis, determined in U.S. dollars, in your shares or ADSs. Capital gain of a non-corporate U.S. holder that is recognized before January 1, 2011 is generally taxed at a maximum rate of 15 per cent where the holder has a holding period greater than one year. The gain or loss will generally be income or loss from sources within the United States for foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

If you receive any foreign currency on the sale of shares or ADSs, you may recognize ordinary income or loss from sources within the United States as a result of currency fluctuations between the date of the sale of the shares or ADSs and the date the sales proceeds are converted into U.S. dollars.


This excerpt taken from the STO 20-F filed Mar 20, 2007.

Taxation

Norwegian Tax Matters
This section describes the material Norwegian tax consequences that apply to shareholders resident in Norway as well as non-resident shareholders in connection with the acquisition, ownership, and disposal of the shares and ADSs. This section does not provide a complete description of all tax regulations which might be relevant (i.e., for investors for whom special regulations may be applicable). This section is based on current law and practice. Shareholders should consult their professional tax advisor for advice concerning individual tax consequences.

On December 10, 2004 the Norwegian tax reform was approved by the Storting. The reform is fully in force with effect for 2006.

Taxation of Dividends
Corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes are exempt from tax on dividends decided by the shareholders meeting of Norwegian companies.

For individual shareholders, a classical system with partial double taxation applies: Dividend income exceeding a “shield interest deduction”, which is an amount equal to the risk-free interest after tax on the base cost of the shareholding, will be taxable at a flat rate, currently 28 per cent. The average interest on Treasury bills of 3 months’ maturity will be applied.

Non-resident shareholders are as a general rule subject to a withholding tax at a rate of 25 per cent on dividends distributed by Norwegian companies. This withholding tax does not apply to corporate shareholders resident for tax purposes in European Economic Area (EEA) countries. The withholding rate of 25 per cent is often reduced in tax treaties between Norway and the country in which the shareholder is resident. Generally, the treaty rate does not exceed 15 per cent and in cases where a corporate shareholder holds a qualifying percentage of the shares of the distributing company, the withholding tax rate on dividends may be further reduced. The withholding tax rate in the tax treaty between the United States and Norway is currently 15 per cent in all cases. However, the treaty is in the process of being renegotiated. Current signals indicate that a new treaty may come into effect from 2008 onwards. The withholding tax does not apply to shareholders that carry on business activities in Norway and whose shares are effectively connected with such activities. In that case, the rules described in the paragraph above regarding corporate shareholders resident in Norway apply. We are obligated by law to deduct any applicable withholding tax when paying dividends to non-resident shareholders except individual and corporate shareholders within the EEA.

The 15 per cent withholding rate under the tax treaty between Norway and the United States will apply to dividends paid on shares held directly by holders properly demonstrating to the company that they are entitled to the benefits of the tax treaty.

Dividends paid to the depositary for redistribution to shareholders holding ADSs will at the outset be subject to a withholding tax of 25 per cent. The beneficial owners will in this case have to apply to the Central Office for Foreign Tax Affairs (COFTA) for refund of the excess amount of tax withheld. As yet there is no standardized application form to obtain a refund of Norwegian withholding tax. An application must contain the following:

1. A specification of the distributing company(ies) involved, the exact amount of shares, the date the dividend payments were made, the total dividend payment, the withholding tax drawn in Norway and what amount is being reclaimed. The withholding tax must be calculated in Norwegian currency and all sums specified accordingly (in NOK).
2. Documentation that shows that the refund claimant received the dividends and which withholding tax rate was used in Norway.
3. A certificate of residence issued by the tax authorities stating that the refund claimant is resident for tax purposes in that state in the income year in question or at the time the dividends were decided. This documentation must be in original.
4. The information necessary to decide whether the refund claimant is an entity comprised by the tax exemption model.
5. The information necessary to decide whether the refund claimant is the beneficial owner of the dividend payment(s).
6. If the securities are registered with a foreign custodian/bank/clearing central the claimant must submit information on which foreign custodian/bank/clearing central the securities are registered with in Norway.

The application must be signed by the applicant. If the application is signed by proxy, a copy of the letter of authorization must be enclosed.

However, pursuant to agreements with The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway and the Norwegian Directorate of Taxes, The Bank of New York, acting as depositary, is entitled to receive dividends from us for redistribution to a beneficial owner of shares or ADSs at the applicable treaty withholding rate, provided the beneficial holder has furnished The Bank of New York appropriate certification to establish such holder’s eligibility for the benefits under an applicable tax treaty with Norway.

Wealth Tax. The shares are included when computing the wealth tax imposed on individuals who for tax purposes are considered resident in Norway. Norwegian joint stock companies and certain similar entities are not subject to wealth tax. Currently, the marginal wealth tax rate is 1.1 per cent of the value assessed. The value for assessment purposes for shares listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange is 65 per cent of the listed value of such shares as of January 1 in the year of assessment.

Non-resident shareholders are not subject to wealth tax in Norway for shares in Norwegian joint stock companies unless the shareholder is an individual and the shareholding is effectively connected with his business activities in Norway.

Inheritance Tax and Gift Tax. When shares or ADSs are transferred, either through inheritance or as a gift, such transfer may give rise to inheritance tax in Norway if the deceased, at the time of death, or the donor, at the time of the gift, is a resident or citizen of Norway. If a Norwegian citizen at the time of death, however, is not a resident of Norway, Norwegian inheritance tax will not be levied if an inheritance tax or a similar tax is levied by the country of residence. Irrespective of citizenship, Norwegian inheritance tax may be levied if the shares or ADSs are effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business through a permanent establishment in Norway.

Taxation upon Disposition of Shares
Corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes are exempt from tax on gains on the disposal of shares. Costs directly related to the acquisition and sale of such shares are not deductible for tax purposes. Corporate shareholders will not be allowed a deduction for losses upon sale, swap and redemption of shares if a gain would be exempt.

Individual shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes realize a taxable gain or loss upon a sale, redemption or other disposal of shares. Such capital gain or loss is included in or deducted upon computation of general income in the year of disposal. General income is taxed at a flat rate of 28 per cent. The gain is subject to tax and the loss is deductible irrespective of the length of the ownership and the number of shares disposed of.

The taxable gain or loss is computed as the sales price adjusted for transactional expenses less the taxable basis. A shareholder’s tax basis is normally equal to the acquisition cost of the shares. Any unused “shield interest deduction” from earlier years attributable to the individual shares realized may be deducted.

Shareholders not resident in Norway are generally not subject to tax in Norway on capital gains, and losses are not deductible upon sale, redemption or other disposition of shares or ADSs in Norwegian companies, unless the shareholder has been resident for tax purposes in Norway and the disposal takes place within five years after the end of the calendar year in which the shareholder ceased to be a resident of Norway for tax purposes or, alternatively, the shareholder is carrying on business activities in Norway and such shares or ADSs are or have been effectively connected with such activities.

Transfer Tax. There is no transfer tax imposed in Norway in connection with the sale or purchase of shares.

United States Tax Matters
This section describes the material United States federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders (as defined below) of owning shares or ADSs. It applies to you only if you hold your shares or ADSs as capital assets for tax purposes. This section does not apply to you if you are a member of a special class of holders subject to special rules, including:

• dealers in securities;
• traders in securities that elect to use a mark-to-market method of accounting for their securities holdings;
• tax-exempt organizations;
• life insurance companies;
• persons liable for alternative minimum tax;
• persons that actually or constructively own 10 per cent or more of the voting stock of Statoil;
• persons that hold shares or ADSs as part of a straddle or a hedging or conversion transaction; or
• persons whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar.

This section is based on the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, its legislative history, existing and proposed regulations, published rulings and court decisions, and the Convention between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Norway for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and Property (the ‘‘Treaty’’). These laws are subject to change, possibly on a retroactive basis. In addition, this section is based in part upon the representations of the depositary and the assumption that each obligation in the deposit agreement and any related agreement will be performed in accordance with its terms. For United States federal income tax purposes, if you hold ADRs evidencing ADSs, you generally will be treated as the owner of the ordinary shares represented by those ADRs. Exchanges of shares for ADRs, and ADRs for shares generally will not be subject to United States federal income tax.

You are a ‘‘U.S. holder’’ if you are a beneficial owner of shares or ADSs and you are for United States federal income tax purposes:

• an individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States;
• a United States domestic corporation;
• an estate whose income is subject to United States federal income tax regardless of its source; or
• a trust if a United States court can exercise primary supervision over the trust’s administration and one or more United States persons are authorized to control all substantial decisions of the trust.

You should consult your own tax advisor regarding the United States federal, state and local and other tax consequences of owning and disposing of shares and ADSs in your particular circumstances.


Taxation of Dividends. If you are a U.S. holder, the gross amount of any dividend paid by Statoil out of its current or accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for United States federal income tax purposes) is subject to United States federal income taxation. If you are a non-corporate U.S. holder, dividends paid to you in taxable years beginning before January 1, 2011 that constitute qualified dividend income will be taxable to you at a maximum tax rate of 15 per cent if you hold the shares or ADSs for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date and meet other holding-period requirements. Dividends we pay with respect to shares or ADSs generally will be qualified dividend income.

You must include any Norwegian tax withheld from the dividend payment in this gross amount even though you do not in fact receive the amount withheld as tax. The dividend is taxable to you when you, in the case of shares, or the depositary, in the case of ADSs, receive the dividend, actually or constructively. The dividend will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction generally allowed to United States corporations in respect of dividends received from other United States corporations.

The amount of the dividend distribution that you must include in your income as a U.S. holder will be the U.S. dollar value of the Norwegian kroner payments made, determined at the spot Norwegian kroner/U.S. dollar rate on the date the dividend distribution is included in your income, regardless of whether the payment is in fact converted into U.S. dollars. Distributions in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits, as determined for United States federal income tax purposes, will be treated as a non-taxable return of capital to the extent of your tax basis in the shares or ADSs and, to the extent in excess of your tax basis, will be treated as capital gain.

Subject to certain limitations, the 15 per cent Norwegian tax withheld in accordance with the Treaty and paid over to Norway will be creditable against your United States federal income tax liability. Special rules apply in determining the foreign tax credit with respect to dividends that are subject to the maximum 15 per cent rate. Dividends will be income from sources outside the United States. Dividends paid in taxable years beginning before January 1, 2007 generally will be ‘‘passive income’’ or ‘‘financial services income’’, and dividends paid in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2006 will, depending on your circumstances, be ‘‘passive’’ or ‘‘general’’ income, which, in either case, is treated separately from other types of income for purposes of computing the foreign tax credit allowable to you.

Any gain or loss resulting from currency exchange fluctuations during the period from the date you include the dividend payment in income to the date you convert the payment into U.S. dollars generally will be treated as ordinary income or loss and will not be eligible for the special tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income. Such gain or loss generally will be income or loss from sources within the United States for foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

Taxation of Capital Gains. If you are a U.S. holder and you sell or otherwise dispose of your shares or ADSs, you generally will recognize capital gain or loss for United States federal income tax purposes equal to the difference between the U.S. dollar value of the amount that you realize and your tax basis, determined in U.S. dollars, in your shares or ADSs. Capital gain of a non-corporate U.S. holder that is recognized before January 1, 2011 is generally taxed at a maximum rate of 15 per cent where the holder has a holding period greater than one year. The gain or loss will generally be income or loss from sources within the United States for foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

If you receive any foreign currency on the sale of shares or ADSs, you may recognize ordinary income or loss from sources within the United States as a result of currency fluctuations between the date of the sale of the shares or ADSs and the date the sales proceeds are converted into U.S. dollars.


This excerpt taken from the STO 20-F filed Mar 31, 2006.

Taxation

Norwegian Tax Matters
This section describes the material Norwegian tax consequences that apply to shareholders resident in Norway as well as non-resident shareholders in connection with the acquisition, ownership, and disposition of the shares and ADSs. This section does not provide a complete description of all tax regulations which might be relevant (i.e., for investors for whom special regulations may be applicable). This section is based on current law and practice. Shareholders should consult their professional tax advisor for advice concerning individual tax consequences.

On December 10, 2004 the Norwegian tax reform was approved by the Storting. The reform is fully in force with effect for 2006.


Taxation of Dividends
Corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes are exempt from tax on dividends decided by the shareholders meeting of Norwegian companies after January 1, 2004.

Individual shareholders who are residents of Norway for tax purposes are subject to tax on dividends received as ordinary income at a flat rate, currently 28 per cent. The individual shareholders are entitled to a tax credit against the Norwegian tax levied on dividends distributed from Norwegian companies equal to the tax to be levied on the dividends received, and will effectively not be subject to tax on dividends from Norwegian companies.

For individual shareholders, the current imputation system for dividends will be abolished and replaced with a classical system with partial double taxation as of January 1, 2006. Dividend income exceeding a “shield interest deduction”, which is an amount equal to the risk-free interest after tax on the base cost of the shareholding, will be taxable at a flat rate, currently 28 per cent. The average interest on Government bonds of 5 years’ maturity will be applied.

Non-resident shareholders are as a general rule subject to a withholding tax at a rate of 25 per cent on dividends distributed by Norwegian companies. This withholding tax does not apply to corporate shareholders resident for tax purposes in European Economic Area (EEA) countries. The withholding rate of 25 per cent is often reduced in tax treaties between Norway and the country in which the shareholder is resident. Generally, the treaty rate does not exceed 15 per cent and in cases where a corporate shareholder holds a qualifying percentage of the shares of the distributing company, the withholding tax rate on dividends may be further reduced. The withholding tax rate in the tax treaty between United States and Norway is 15 per cent in all cases. The withholding tax does not apply to shareholders that carry on business activities in Norway and whose shares are effectively connected with such activities. In that case, the rules described in the paragraph above regarding corporate shareholders resident in Norway apply. We are obligated by law to deduct any applicable withholding tax when paying dividends to non-resident shareholders except individual and corporate shareholders within the EEA. The exception for individual shareholders within the EEA only applies to dividends paid in 2005.

The 15 per cent withholding rate under the tax treaty between Norway and the United States will apply to dividends paid on shares held directly by holders properly demonstrating to the company that they are entitled to the benefits of the tax treaty.

Dividends paid to the depositary for redistribution to shareholders holding ADSs will at the outset be subject to a withholding tax of 25 per cent. The beneficial owners will in this case have to apply to the Central Office for Foreign Tax Affairs (COFTA) for refund of the excess amount of tax withheld. As yet there is no standardized application form to obtain a refund of Norwegian withholding tax. An application must contain the following information:

1. the company from which dividends were received and the date and amount of payment, the exact number of shares, the amount of tax withheld by Norway and the amount claimed for refund from Norway. All amounts are to be stated in Norwegian kroner;

2. confirmation from a central tax authority stating that, in the year the dividends were declared or received, the refund claimant was resident for tax purposes in the country with respect to which such claimant claims the benefits of a tax treaty with Norway, and original documentation that the claimant was the beneficial owner of the shares when the dividends were declared; and

3. evidence that the dividends were actually received by the applicant and the rate at which Norwegian withholding tax was withheld on the dividends.

The application must be signed by the applicant. If the application is signed by proxy, a copy of the letter of authorization must be enclosed.

However, pursuant to agreements with The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway and the Norwegian Directorate of Taxes, The Bank of New York, acting as depositary, is entitled to receive dividends from us for redistribution to a beneficial owner of shares or ADSs at the applicable treaty withholding rate, provided the beneficial holder has furnished The Bank of New York appropriate certification to establish such holder’s eligibility for the benefits under an applicable tax treaty with Norway.

Wealth Tax. The shares are included when computing the wealth tax imposed on individuals who for tax purposes are considered resident in Norway. Norwegian joint stock companies and certain similar entities are not subject to wealth tax. Currently, the marginal wealth tax rate is 1.1 per cent of the value assessed. The value for assessment purposes for shares listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange is 65 per cent of the listed value of such shares as of January 1 in the year of assessment.

Non-resident shareholders are not subject to wealth tax in Norway for shares in Norwegian joint stock companies unless the shareholder is an individual and the shareholding is effectively connected with his business activities in Norway.

Inheritance Tax and Gift Tax. When shares or ADSs are transferred, either through inheritance or as a gift, such transfer may give rise to inheritance tax in Norway if the deceased, at the time of death, or the donor, at the time of the gift, is a resident or citizen of Norway. If a Norwegian citizen at the time of death, however, is not a resident of Norway, Norwegian inheritance tax will not be levied if an inheritance tax or a similar tax is levied by the country of residence. Irrespective of citizenship, Norwegian inheritance tax may be levied if the shares or ADSs are effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business through a permanent establishment in Norway.


Taxation upon Disposition of Shares
Corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes are exempt from tax on gains realized from March 26, 2004. Costs directly related to the acquisition and sale of such shares will not be deductible for tax purposes. Corporate shareholders will not be allowed a deduction for losses upon sale, swap and redemption of shares if a gain would be exempt.

Corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes will realize a taxable gain or loss upon a sale, redemption or other disposition of shares prior to March 26, 2004. Net loss realized in the period from March 26 to December 31, 2004 may be offset against net gains realized before March 26, 2004.

Individual shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes will realize a taxable gain or loss upon a sale, redemption or other disposition of shares at any time.

Both for corporate and individual shareholders resident for tax purposes in Norway who are subject to tax on gains realized according to the rules described above, such capital gain or loss is included in or deducted upon computation of general income in the year of disposal. General income is taxed at a flat rate of 28 per cent. The gain is subject to tax and the loss is deductible irrespective of the length of the ownership and the number of shares disposed of.

The taxable gain or loss is computed as the sales price adjusted for transactional expenses less the taxable basis. A shareholder’s tax basis is normally equal to the acquisition cost of the shares. The tax basis is adjusted according to the so-called RISK-rules which allow an opening value adjustment. RISK is the Norwegian abbreviation for the variation in the company’s retained earnings after tax less dividend distributed during the ownership of the shareholder. The RISK amount is computed at the end of the fiscal year. If the shareholder owns shares acquired at different times, the shares that were acquired first will be regarded as the first to be sold for the purpose of calculating capital gains or losses.

As of January 1, 2006 the opening value adjustment according to the RISK-rules was abolished for individual shareholders. Any unused “shield interest deduction” from earlier years attributable to the individual shares realized may be deducted.

Shareholders not resident in Norway are generally not subject to tax in Norway on capital gains, and losses are not deductible upon sale, redemption or other disposition of shares or ADSs in Norwegian companies, unless the shareholder has been resident for tax purposes in Norway and the disposal takes place within five years after the end of the calendar year in which the shareholder ceased to be a resident of Norway for tax purposes or, alternatively, the shareholder is carrying on business activities in Norway and such shares or ADSs are or have been effectively connected with such activities.

Transfer Tax. There is no transfer tax imposed in Norway in connection with the sale or purchase of shares.

United States Tax Matters
This section describes the material United States federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders (as defined below) of owning shares or ADSs. It applies to you only if you hold your shares or ADSs as capital assets for tax purposes. This section does not apply to you if you are a member of a special class of holders subject to special rules, including:
• dealers in securities;
• traders in securities that elect to use a mark-to-market method of accounting for their securities holdings;
• tax-exempt organizations;
• life insurance companies;
• persons liable for alternative minimum tax;
• persons that actually or constructively own 10 per cent or more of the voting stock of Statoil;
• persons that hold shares or ADSs as part of a straddle or a hedging or conversion transaction; or
• persons whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar.

This section is based on the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, its legislative history, existing and proposed regulations, published rulings and court decisions, and the Convention between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Norway for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and Property (the ‘‘Treaty’’). These laws are subject to change, possibly on a retroactive basis. In addition, this section is based in part upon the representations of the depositary and the assumption that each obligation in the deposit agreement and any related agreement will be performed in accordance with its terms. For United States federal income tax purposes, if you hold ADRs evidencing ADSs, you generally will be treated as the owner of the ordinary shares represented by those ADRs. Exchanges of shares for ADRs, and ADRs for shares generally will not be subject to United States federal income tax.

You are a ‘‘U.S. holder’’ if you are a beneficial owner of shares or ADSs and you are for United States federal income tax purposes:
• an individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States;
• a United States domestic corporation;
• an estate whose income is subject to United States federal income tax regardless of its source; or
• a trust if a United States court can exercise primary supervision over the trust’s administration and one or more United States persons are authorized to control all substantial decisions of the trust.

You should consult your own tax advisor regarding the United States federal, state and local and other tax consequences of owning and disposing of shares and ADSs in your particular circumstances.

Taxation of Dividends. If you are a U.S. holder, the gross amount of any dividend paid by Statoil out of its current or accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for United States federal income tax purposes) is subject to United States federal income taxation. If you are a non-corporate U.S. holder, dividends paid to you in taxable years beginning before January 1, 2009 that constitute qualified dividend income will be taxable to you at a maximum tax rate of 15 per cent if you hold the shares or ADSs for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date and meet other holding-period requirements. Dividends we pay with respect to shares or ADSs generally will be qualified dividend income.

You must include any Norwegian tax withheld from the dividend payment in this gross amount even though you do not in fact receive the amount withheld as tax. The dividend is taxable to you when you, in the case of shares, or the depositary, in the case of ADSs, receive the dividend, actually or constructively. The dividend will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction generally allowed to United States corporations in respect of dividends received from other United States corporations.

The amount of the dividend distribution that you must include in your income as a U.S. holder will be the U.S. dollar value of the Norwegian kroner payments made, determined at the spot Norwegian kroner/U.S. dollar rate on the date the dividend distribution is included in your income, regardless of whether the payment is in fact converted into U.S. dollars. Distributions in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits, as determined for United States federal income tax purposes, will be treated as a non-taxable return of capital to the extent of your tax basis in the shares or ADSs and, to the extent in excess of your tax basis, will be treated as capital gain.

Subject to certain limitations, the 15 per cent Norwegian tax withheld in accordance with the Treaty and paid over to Norway will be creditable against your United States federal income tax liability. Special rules apply in determining the foreign tax credit with respect to dividends that are subject to the maximum 15 per cent rate. Dividends will be income from sources outside the United States. Dividends paid in taxable years beginning before January 1, 2007 generally will be ‘‘passive income’’ or ‘‘financial services income’’, and dividends paid in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2006 will, depending on your circumstances, be ‘‘passive’’ or ‘‘general’’ income, which, in either case, is treated separately from other types of income for purposes of computing the foreign tax credit allowable to you.

Any gain or loss resulting from currency exchange fluctuations during the period from the date you include the dividend payment in income to the date you convert the payment into U.S. dollars generally will be treated as ordinary income or loss and will not be eligible for the special tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income. Such gain or loss generally will be income or loss from sources within the United States for foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

Taxation of Capital Gains. If you are a U.S. holder and you sell or otherwise dispose of your shares or ADSs, you generally will recognize capital gain or loss for United States federal income tax purposes equal to the difference between the U.S. dollar value of the amount that you realize and your tax basis, determined in U.S. dollars, in your shares or ADSs. Capital gain of a non-corporate U.S. holder that is recognized before January 1, 2009 is generally taxed at a maximum rate of 15 per cent where the holder has a holding period greater than one year. The gain or loss will generally be income or loss from sources within the United States for foreign tax credit limitation purposes.

If you receive any foreign currency on the sale of shares or ADSs, you may recognize ordinary income or loss from sources within the United States as a result of currency fluctuations between the date of the sale of the shares or ADSs and the date the sales proceeds are converted into U.S. dollars.


This excerpt taken from the STO 20-F filed Mar 31, 2005.

Taxation


Norwegian Tax Matters

This section describes the material Norwegian tax consequences that apply to shareholders resident in Norway as well as non-resident shareholders in connection with the acquisition, ownership, and disposition of the shares and ADSs. This section does not provide a complete description of all tax regulations, which might be relevant (i.e., for investors for whom special regulations may be applicable). This section is based on current law and practice. Shareholders should consult their professional tax advisor for advice concerning individual tax consequences.


On December 10, 2004 the Norwegian tax reform was approved by the Storting. The reform will come gradually into force during a period from January 1, 2004 to January 1, 2006.


Taxation of Dividends

 

Corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes are exempt from tax on dividends decided by the shareholders meeting of Norwegian companies after January 1, 2004.

 

Individual shareholders who are residents of Norway for tax purposes are subject to tax on dividends received as ordinary income at a flat rate, currently 28 per cent. The individual shareholders are entitled to a tax credit against the Norwegian tax levied on dividends distributed from Norwegian companies equal to the tax to be levied on the dividends received, and will effectively not be subject to tax on dividend from Norwegian companies.


For individual shareholders, the current imputation system for dividends will be abolished and replaced with a classical system with partial double taxation as of January 1, 2006. Dividend income exceeding a "shield interest deduction", which is an amount equal to the risk-free interest after tax on the base cost of the shareholding, will be taxable at a flat rate, currently 28 per cent. The average interest on Government bonds of 5 years'maturity will be applied.


Non-resident shareholders are as a general rule subject to a withholding tax at a rate of 25 per cent on dividends distributed by Norwegian companies. This withholding tax does not apply to corporate shareholders resident for tax purposes in European Economic Area (EEA) countries. The withholding rate of 25 per cent is often reduced in tax treaties between Norway and the country in which the shareholder is resident. Generally, the treaty rate does not exceed 15 per cent and in cases where a corporate shareholder holds a qualifying percentage of the shares of the distributing company, the withholding tax rate on dividends may be further reduced. The withholding tax rate in the tax treaty between United States and Norway is 15 per cent in all cases. The withholding tax does not apply to shareholders that carry on business activities in Norway and whose shares are effectively connected with such activities. In that case, the rules described in the paragraph above regarding corporate shareholders resident in Norway apply. We are obligated by law to deduct any applicable withholding tax when paying dividends to non-resident shareholders except individual and corporate shareholders within the EEA. The exception for individual shareholders within the EEA only applies to dividends paid in 2005.


The 15 per cent withholding rate under the tax treaty between Norway and the United States will apply to dividends paid on shares held directly by holders properly demonstrating to the company that they are entitled to the benefits of the tax treaty.


Dividends paid to the depositary for redistribution to shareholders holding ADSs will at the outset be subject to a withholding tax of 25 per cent. The beneficial owners will in this case have to apply to the Central Office for Foreign Tax Affairs (COFTA) for refund of the excess amount of tax withheld. As yet there is no standardized application form to obtain a refund of Norwegian withholding tax. An application must contain the following information:


1.     the company from which dividends were received and the date and amount of payment, the exact number of shares, the amount of tax withheld by Norway and the amount claimed for refund from Norway. All amounts are to be stated in Norwegian kroner;

2.     confirmation from a central tax authority stating that, in the year the dividends were declared or received, the refund claimant was resident for tax purposes in the country with respect to which such claimant claims the benefits of a tax treaty with Norway, and original documentation that the claimant was the beneficial owner of the shares when the dividends were declared; and

3.     evidence that the dividends were actually received by the applicant and the rate at which Norwegian withholding tax was withheld on the dividends.

The application must be signed by the applicant. If the application is signed by proxy, a copy of the letter of authorization must be enclosed.


However, pursuant to agreements with the Norwegian Banking, Insurance and Securities Commission and the Norwegian Directorate of Taxes, The Bank of New York, acting as depositary, is entitled to receive dividends from us for redistribution to a beneficial owner of shares or ADSs at the applicable treaty withholding rate, provided the beneficial holder has furnished The Bank of New York appropriate certification to establish such holder's eligibility for the benefits under an applicable tax treaty with Norway.


Wealth Tax. The shares are included when computing the wealth tax imposed on individuals who for tax purposes are considered resident in Norway. Norwegian joint stock companies and certain similar entities are not subject to wealth tax. Currently, the marginal wealth tax rate is 1.1 per cent of the value assessed. The value for assessment purposes for shares listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange is 65 per cent of the listed value of such shares as of January 1 in the year of assessment.


Non-resident shareholders are not subject to wealth tax in Norway for shares in Norwegian joint stock companies unless the shareholder is an individual and the shareholding is effectively connected with his business activities in Norway.


Inheritance Tax and Gift Tax. When shares or ADSs are transferred, either through inheritance or as a gift, such transfer may give rise to inheritance tax in Norway if the deceased, at the time of death, or the donor, at the time of the gift, is a resident or citizen of Norway. If a Norwegian citizen at the time of death, however, is not a resident of Norway, Norwegian inheritance tax will not be levied if an inheritance tax or a similar tax is levied by the country of residence. Irrespective of citizenship, Norwegian inheritance tax may be levied if the shares or ADSs are effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business through a permanent establishment in Norway.



Taxation upon Disposition of Shares

Corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes are exempt from tax on gains realized from March 26, 2004. Costs directly related to the acquisition and sale of such shares will not be deductible for tax purposes. Corporate shareholders will not be allowed a deduction for losses upon sale, swap and redemption of shares if a gain would be exempt.


Corporate shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes will realize a taxable gain or loss upon a sale, redemption or other disposition of shares prior to March 26, 2004. Net loss realized in the period from March 26 to December 31, 2004 may be offset against net gains realized before March 26, 2004.


Individual shareholders resident in Norway for tax purposes will realize a taxable gain or loss upon a sale, redemption or other disposition of shares at any time.


Both for corporate and individual shareholders resident for tax purposes in Norway who are subject to tax on gains realized according to the rules described above, such capital gain or loss is included in or deducted upon computation of general income in the year of disposal. General income is taxed at a flat rate of 28 per cent. The gain is subject to tax and the loss is deductible irrespective of the length of the ownership and the number of shares disposed of.


The taxable gain or loss is computed as the sales price adjusted for transactional expenses less the taxable basis. A shareholder's tax basis is normally equal to the acquisition cost of the shares. The tax basis is adjusted according to the so-called RISK-rules which allow an opening value adjustment. RISK is the Norwegian abbreviation for the variation in the company's retained earnings after tax less dividend distributed during the ownership of the shareholder. The RISK amount is computed at the end of the fiscal year. If the shareholder owns shares acquired at different times, the shares that were acquired first will be regarded as the first to be sold for the purpose of calculating capital gains or losses.


As of January 1, 2006 the opening value adjustment according to the RISK-rules will also be abolished for individual shareholders. Any unused "shield interest deduction" from earlier years attributable to the individual shares realized may be deducted.


Shareholders not resident in Norway are generally not subject to tax in Norway on capital gains, and losses are not deductible upon sale, redemption or other disposition of shares or ADSs in Norwegian companies, unless the shareholder has been resident for tax purposes in Norway and the disposal takes place within five years after the end of the calendar year in which the shareholder ceased to be a resident of Norway for tax purposes or, alternatively, the shareholder is carrying on business activities in Norway and such shares or ADSs are or have been effectively connected with such activities.


Transfer Tax. There is no transfer tax imposed in Norway in connection with the sale or purchase of shares.



United States Tax Matters

This section describes the material United States federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders (as defined below) of owning shares or ADSs. It applies to you only if you hold your shares or ADSs as capital assets for tax purposes. This section does not apply to you if you are a member of a special class of holders subject to special rules, including:

  •    dealers in securities;

  •    traders in securities that elect to use a mark-to-market method of accounting for their securities holdings;

  •    tax-exempt organizations;

  •    life insurance companies;

  •    persons liable for alternative minimum tax;

  •    persons that actually or constructively own 10 per cent or more of the voting stock of Statoil;

  •    persons that hold shares or ADSs as part of a straddle or a hedging or conversion transaction; or

  •    persons whose functional currency is not the US dollar.


    This section is based on the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, its legislative history, existing and proposed regulations, published rulings and court decisions, and the Convention between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Norway for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and Property (the ''Treaty''). These laws are subject to change, possibly on a retroactive basis. In addition, this section is based in part upon the representations of the depositary and the assumption that each obligation in the deposit agreement and any related agreement will be performed in accordance with its terms. For United States federal income tax purposes, if you hold ADRs evidencing ADSs, you generally will be treated as the owner of the ordinary shares represented by those ADRs. Exchanges of shares for ADRs, and ADRs for shares generally will not be subject to United States federal income tax.


    You are a ''US holder'' if you are a beneficial owner of shares or ADSs and you are for United States federal income tax purposes:

  •    an individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States;

  •    a United States domestic corporation;

  •    an estate whose income is subject to United States federal income tax regardless of its source; or

  •    a trust if a United States court can exercise primary supervision over the trust's administration and one or more United States persons are authorized to control all substantial decisions of the trust.


    You should consult your own tax advisor regarding the United States federal, state and local and other tax consequences of owning and disposing of shares and ADSs in your particular circumstances.

     

    Taxation of Dividends. If you are a US holder, the gross amount of any dividend paid by Statoil out of its current or accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for United States federal income tax purposes) is subject to United States federal income taxation. If you are a non-corporate US holder, dividends paid to you in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2002 and before January 1, 2009 that constitute qualified dividend income will be taxable to you at a maximum tax rate of 15 per cent if you hold the shares or ADSs for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date and meet other holding-period requirements. Dividends we pay with respect to shares or ADSs generally will be qualified dividend income.


    You must include any Norwegian tax withheld from the dividend payment in this gross amount even though you do not in fact receive the amount withheld as tax. The dividend is taxable to you when you, in the case of shares, or the depositary, in the case of ADSs, receive the dividend, actually or constructively. The dividend will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction generally allowed to United States corporations in respect of dividends received from other United States corporations.


    The amount of the dividend distribution that you must include in your income as a US holder will be the US dollar value of the Norwegian kroner payments made, determined at the spot Norwegian kroner/US dollar rate on the date the dividend distribution is included in your income, regardless of whether the payment is in fact converted into US dollars. Distributions in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits, as determined for United States federal income tax purposes, will be treated as a non-taxable return of capital to the extent of your tax basis in the shares or ADSs and, to the extent in excess of your tax basis, will be treated as capital gain.


    Subject to certain limitations, the 15 per cent Norwegian tax withheld in accordance with the Treaty and paid over to Norway will be creditable against your United States federal income tax liability. Special rules apply in determining the foreign tax credit with respect to dividends that are subject to the maximum 15 per cent rate. Dividends will be income from sources outside the United States, and generally will be ''passive income'' or ''financial services income'', which is treated separately from other types of income for purposes of computing the foreign tax credit allowable to you.


    Any gain or loss resulting from currency exchange fluctuations during the period from the date you include the dividend payment in income to the date you convert the payment into US dollars generally will be treated as ordinary income or loss and will not be eligible for the special tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income. Such gain or loss generally will be income or loss from sources within the United States for foreign tax credit limitation purposes.


     

    Taxation of Capital Gains. If you are a US holder and you sell or otherwise dispose of your shares or ADSs, you generally will recognize capital gain or loss for United States federal income tax purposes equal to the difference between the US dollar value of the amount that you realize and your tax basis, determined in US dollars, in your shares or ADSs. Capital gain of a non-corporate US holder that is recognized on or after May 6, 2003 and before January 1, 2009 is generally taxed at a maximum rate of 15 per cent where the holder has a holding period greater than one year. The gain or loss will generally be income or loss from sources within the United States for foreign tax credit limitation purposes.


    If you receive any foreign currency on the sale of shares or ADSs, you may recognize ordinary income or loss from sources within the United States as a result of currency fluctuations between the date of the sale of the shares or ADSs and the date the sales proceeds are converted into US dollars.



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