Income from employment includes all benefits in cash and in kind received by an individual and is subject to progressive income tax rates (0 to 45.78%).
If an employer provides a house or apartment to an employee, the monthly benefit in kind is valued at 25% of its unitary value, with a minimum of 75% of the rent effectively paid by the employer. If the employer also makes available the furniture contained in the accommodation, the value of the benefit in kind is increased by 10%. If the employer pays electricity and other charges, these must be added to the benefit at their nominal value. If the employee rents a house or an apartment and pays the rent, reimbursement of the rent by the employer is taxed entirely as a benefit.
The monthly benefit in kind arising from the private use of a company car corresponds to private mileage multiplied by the car’s kilometre cost. This evaluation can be replaced by a lump-sum evaluation method, according to which the monthly taxable fringe benefit corresponds to a fixed percentage (0.5% up to 1.8%) of the full purchase price of the new car (including options and VAT).
A number of items are exempt from tax, such as debit-interest savings on a reduced or nil-interest loan granted by the employer (within certain limits) and additional salary for overtime payments under certain conditions.
Non-residents are taxed on salaried income if their occupation is exercised in Luxembourg or if their salary is paid from Luxembourg. Tax treaties generally grant exemption if the non-resident stays for less than 183 days in the calendar year and if the remuneration is neither paid nor borne by a Luxembourg entity.
Tax regime for qualifying international employees
The Circular no. 95/2 (as amended) implements a tax regime for qualifying international employees. Eligible employees are:
- Employees who usually work in a foreign country and are assigned to Luxembourg by their foreign employer in order to temporarily exercise their professional duties in the Luxembourg undertaking.
- Employees directly recruited abroad by a Luxembourg undertaking in order to exercise their professional activities in that company.
If some conditions are met, qualifying international employees can benefit from a favourable tax regime. Allowances that the employee receives to cover expenses relating to one’s temporary employment in Luxembourg (which represent normally a taxable benefit in kind) may be tax exempted in the hands of the employees within certain limits (these allowances/reimbursements remain tax deductible for the company).
Capital gains derived from the disposal of movable properties are subject to Luxembourg progressive income tax rates (0% to 45.78%), provided the holding period is less than six months and to the extent that the total capital gains exceed EUR 500. If movable properties are disposed of more than six months following their acquisition, capital gains are not taxed unless the individual holds an important participation (material interest).
Capital gains derived from the disposal of material interest after the six-month period are taxed as extraordinary income at half the average combined tax rate (maximum 22.89%).
An interest qualifies as material when the individual taxpayer (together with their household) holds or has held, directly or indirectly, more than 10% of the corporate capital during the five years prior to the date on which the shares are disposed of.
Capital gains on the sale of the taxpayer’s main residence are tax-exempt. Capital gains on the other real estate property are subject to the following:
- Progressive income tax rates if the disposal takes place within two years of the acquisition.
- Reduced tax rate if the disposal takes place more than two years after acquisition. The reduced rate is effectively a quarter of the marginal tax rate if the gain is realised between 1 July 2016 and 31 December 2018. A tax deduction of up to EUR 50,000 (double for married taxpayers and civil partners filling) valid every ten years may be claimed on the capital gain. In addition, a deduction up to EUR 75,000 for inherited property (through the direct line of descendance) may apply.
- Under specific conditions, taxation of capital gains from the disposal of property can be deferred if it is used to fund the acquisition of a new property located in Luxembourg that the owner intends to rent out.
For long-term capital gains (holding period of more than six months for movable property and two years for immovable property), the acquisition price is adjusted by taking account of inflation coefficients.
Investment income is subject to a dual tax regime.
Whereas some interest payments are subject to a 20% WHT in full discharge of personal income tax, other incomes (interest not qualifying for the 20% WHT, dividends) are taxed pursuant to progressive rates after a deduction of EUR 1,500.
The above mentioned deduction is doubled in the case of collectively taxed spouses/civil partners. In addition, half of the dividend income received is tax exempt if paid by a qualifying company.
Income from real estate located in Luxembourg is subject to progressive income tax rates (maximum 45.78%).
Income from real estate located abroad is generally not taxed in Luxembourg under double tax treaty (DTT) provisions. For residents, said income is taken into account to determine the global tax rate applying to their income taxable in Luxembourg.
Very little income is exempt from Luxembourg tax; however, some examples of exempt income include:
- Lottery winnings.
- Gifts made by the employer based on the employee's seniority (up to certain limits).
- Redundancy payments (under conditions and limits).