This GMS Flash Alert reports on the Luxembourg prime minister’s recent State of the Nation speech which included some proposed changes to the Luxembourg tax system to be implemented in 2017 and confirmed some of the proposals previously announced by the government.
Changes to taxpayers’ credits and deductions, abolition of the temporary balanced budget tax, increase in the withholding tax on Luxembourg source interest income, and a 1 percent to 2 percent rise in the marginal income tax rate featured in this year’s State of the Nation speech.
On 26 April 2016, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel delivered his State of the Nation speech1, during which he highlighted some of the proposed changes to the Luxembourg tax system to be implemented in 2017. The speech confirmed some of the proposals previously announced by the government, and also introduced a number of new measures.
These measures will impact the compliance obligations of individuals and their employers – therefore individuals, employers, and their tax service providers should take note.
The modifications to Luxembourg law affecting income tax rates, the temporary balanced budget tax, and the favorable credits and deductions largely aimed at families and home-buyers and property owners mean that international assignees will see some slight changes to their overall tax burdens should these measures come into force. Individuals with high incomes may see their effective tax rate rise, and companies with international assignees subject to Luxembourg tax law may see changes in their international assignment-related (and their employment-related) costs change as a result of these measures.
Cost projections and budgeting for assignments to Luxembourg, and for assignees outside Luxembourg still subject to Luxembourg taxation should reflect these changes once they come into force. Where appropriate, adjustments by payroll administrators to withholdings will also have to be made.
In order to support households’ purchasing power, the tax rate scale would be restructured (see below) and the 0.5-percent temporary budget balancing tax (l’impôt d’équilibrage budgétaire temporaire) would be abolished.2
Also, tax credits benefiting low-income individuals, pensioners, and singe parents would be doubled, for example:
Increase of Marginal Tax Rate to 41 Percent or 42 Percent
High-income taxpayers would contribute more as the marginal tax rate would be increased to 41 percent for an annual income of €150,000, and to 42 percent for an annual income of €200,000 (for taxpayers in tax class 1).
Resident and nonresident married couples will be able to opt for separate or joint taxation of income.
The final withholding tax rate on so-called “in-scope” interest paid out to Luxembourg resident individuals (RELIBI) will be increased from 10 percent to 20 percent. The withholding tax only applies if interest income exceeds an annual amount of EUR 250 per person/account-holder and per paying agent.
Premiums paid for voluntary pension schemes (3rd pillar) will be deductible up to EUR 3,200 per year irrespective of the scheme subscriber’s age.
The purchase of immovable property (principal dwelling) will be facilitated by raising the deductibility of the contributions paid out to qualifying home saving and loan schemes from EUR 672 to EUR 1,344 for individuals up to 40 years of age. The ceiling for mortgage loan interest deductions would increase as follows:
Additional measures would be taken to encourage placing real estate assets either for rent (through authorized agencies), or for sale on the market, such as:
To support sustainable transportation, any purchase of an environmentally-friendly and zero-emission motor vehicle (e.g., electric- or hydrogen-driven) would benefit from a tax allowance of EUR 5,000.
Company vehicles that pollute less (e.g., e-cars, e-bikes) will also be tax-advantaged (i.e., a reduced lump-sum rate would be considered for the valuation of the corresponding salary benefit).
A draft tax bill was published on 3 May 2016, in relation to capital gains tax on real estate, which will be subject to debate and vote in parliament. The government aims to have this legislation enacted before end of June 2016, and applicable as from 1 July 2016.
The other tax measures announced by the government and confirmed by Prime Minister Bettel in his State of the Nation speech have not yet been legislated. We expect the draft legislation to be published later this year and pass through the parliament towards the end of 2016, and new measures to be effective as from 1 January 2017.
Further changes may occur up to the point of final passage by parliament. If any significant amendments take place, we will endeavor to keep Flash Alert readers informed.
1 See https://www.gouvernement.lu/5935612/26-etat-nation-lu (in Luxembourgish).
For further reports on these measures from the KPMG International member firm in Luxembourg, see:
Luxembourg Tax Alert – Issue 2016-06 (“Proposed measures for the 2017 tax reform announced by the Luxembourg Government”) and Luxembourg Tax Alert – Issue 2016-09 (“New tax measures announced for the Luxembourg 2017 tax reform”).
For further information or assistance, please contact your local GMS or People Services professional or one of the following professionals with the KPMG International member firm in Luxembourg:
Frédéric Scholtus, Director
Tel. +352 22 51 51 5333
Marisa Hosnar, Senior Manager
Tel. +352 22 51 51 5425
André Kayser, Manager
Tel. +352 22 51 51 5393
Marie-Eve Garsou, Manager
Tel. +352 22 51 51 5588
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Luxembourg.
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