New Year, New Fees: Important Changes in 2023

hallgrímskirkja reykjavík

With the new year, several new regulations, taxes, and fees are coming into effect. Here, we break down the most significant changes for the nation and capital region in 2023.

New Fees on Fuel, Alcohol

In line with the 2023 budget, the alcohol tariff is set to rise some 7.7.%. The price hike will also disproportionately affect alcohol sold in Duty Free, which was taxed at 10% last year, but will now be taxed at 25%.

Fuel is likewise increasing in price. In order to fund infrastructure, the general cost of car ownership is rising significantly. A litre of petrol is set to increase by ISK 16 (0.11 USD, 0.11 EUR), and import duties on electric vehicles are also increasing.

Schools and Pools

In line with the expected 4.9% cost of living increase throughout Reykjavík, the price for admission to the city’s pools will also be increasing, from ISK 1,150 (8.10 USD, 7.58 EUR) to ISK 1,1210 (8.52 USD, 7.98 EUR). Children’s prices are increasing by similar amounts, although residents can still save significantly with pool passes.

The cost of preschool registration will also be rising on average from ISK 33,570 (236 USD, 221 EUR) to ISK 35,215 (248 USD, 232 EUR).

Changes in Recycling

Changes are also coming to waste management and recycling in the capital area.

Icelanders will now need to sort their trash into four bins, and recyclables will no longer be tolerated in the black bin (for trash). Bins will now be sorted into paper, plastic, organic waste, and mixed waste.

Alongside these changes come increases in cost, with garbage removal fees in Reykjavík increasing by 20%.

Read more about coming changes in the 2023 budget here.

 

“Like a Big Carnival:” First Child of the New Year

Landspítali national hospital

The first child of the new year was born some 21 minutes after midnight to Karlotta Guðjónsdóttir and partner Gunnar Ingi Valdimarsson, reports RÚV.

The boy, who is his parent’s second child, measured a healthy 51.5cm (20 inches) and 3.75 kg (8.3 lbs). He was originally expected shortly before the new year, but arrived just after the new year.

“It was our wildest dream to have the first child of the year,” said the boy’s father to RÚV. “The midwife told us that the child would be born sometime before noon and that we wouldn’t see her again after that. After that, there was no turning back!”

The parents noted how special it was to welcome their child during a time of nationwide celebration.

“It was just a great mood,” stated Gunnar. “It was like a big explosion or a carnival!”

When asked if the child bore a particular resemblance to any family members, Karlotta, the child’s mother stated that although he took after his father’s side, he was “one of a kind.”

In an interview with RÚV, the boy’s parents stated that they had decided on a name, but that it remains a secret for the time being.

 

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14 Invested with the Order of the Falcon

president of iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson

President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson awarded 14 individuals with the Order of the Falcon at the presidential residence, Bessastaðir, this New Year’s Day.

The award is the highest public honour in Iceland and is given out twice annually, on New Year’s Day, and June 17, Iceland’s National Day. The Order of the Falcon recognizes contributions to Icelandic society in a number of fields, including charity, scholarship, art, science, and leadership. The award is Iceland’s only order of chivalry and was founded in 1921 by King Christian X of Denmark.

Among the recipients of the order this year include actress Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir for her contributions to drama and television, epidemiologist Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir for her research, and systems engineer Örn S. Kaldalóns for his promotion of the Icelandic language in the tech sector.

A full list of this year’s recipients can be found here, in Icelandic.

 

Haraldur Þorleifsson Sweeps Person of the Year Awards

haraldur þorleifsson

Haraldur Þorleifsson, known as Halli, has garnered multiple Person of the Year Awards from various Icelandic media outlets, including from national broadcaster RÚV, Morgunblaðið, and Vísir.

Halli, a 45 year-old designer, gained nation-wide recognition this year when, after the sale of his tech company Ueno to Twitter, he chose to be paid the sale price as wages. Normally in such large sales, the payment comes in the form of stock or other financial instruments, which categorize the sale as capital gains, meaning it is taxed at a much lower rate. Halli, however, gladly paid the higher tax rate, having spoken publicly on many occasions about the benefits he has received from the Icelandic social system.

Halli was born with muscular dystrophy and came from a working class background. In statements about his decision to pay back into the Icelandic social system, he cited both healthcare and education in Iceland as keys to his success. Notably, he was one of the highest tax payers in the nation after the sale of Ueno.

Since the sale of Ueno, Halli has engaged in numerous philanthropic pursuits, earning a reputation as Iceland’s benevolent tech titan. 

One of his best-known projects is Ramp Up Iceland, which is building ramps throughout the nation to increase accessibility for people in wheelchairs. He has also personally donated to the legal funds of victims of sexual abuse, and has garnered praise for charitable donations to families in need this holiday season.