Flash News Introduction of a temporary tax for balancing budget

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1 Flash News Measures relating to the government s social security policy and new personal income tax in March 2015 The first bill relating to what is known as the package for the future (Zukunftspack) were enacted on 19 December The bills amend several pieces of legislation on a variety of topics, some of which were addressed in a previous Flash News, which covered the main tax measures and was issued in late December Below is an overview of the main measures which apply to individual taxpayers, in particular: computation of the new temporary tax (impôt d'équilibrage budgétaire) for which the tax authorities have issued a tax circular on 5 February 2015; abolition of the maternity and education allowances, eligibility for state-funded interest subsidies to improve access to housing, new reference rate of interest subsidies for the year 2015, overhaul of the linguistic leave scheme. Further to the increase of the social minimum wage and of employer s mutuality rates, you will also find the summary of the main social parameters applicable as from 1 January This article also provides information on the expected overhaul of the family benefits scheme, not voted yet. Introduction of a temporary tax for balancing budget As from 1 January 2015, a tax of 0.5% will apply to professional income, replacement income (income which replaces the payment of salary such as maternity compensation ) and income from individual assets and property. The tax will remain in place until a general tax reform is implemented (anticipated in January 2017). The collection/calculation of the tax is the responsibility of the social security Authorities (CCSS) or the Tax authorities depending on the category of income concerned. In principle, the new tax must be paid by resident and non-resident taxpayers who are affiliated to the Luxembourg social security system, i.e. mainly payable by employees and self-employed individuals, with the exception (among others) of pupils and students during school holidays. Under the law, only the income above the minimum

2 wage for unskilled workers will be taxed. For self-employed taxpayers, the income above 75% of the minimum wage for unskilled workers will be taxed. Employers are required to withhold the tax at source. The tax is calculated on the gross income after the deduction of the minimum wage i.e. EUR The Tax is collected by the CCSS in addition to the monthly social security payments due. For individuals assigned to Luxembourg and who remains affiliated to the social security scheme of their home country, the new tax circular dated 5 February 2015 states that such individuals are also liable to pay the tax on their professional /replacement income. The tax authorities will be competent to collect this tax. The employer is responsible to withhold it at source, to declare it via a new tax return form and to pay it back to the tax authorities. This circular stipulates that the abatement of the social minimum wage is not applicable in this case. However, if a double tax treaty exempts in Luxembourg a portion of the salary, this one would be excluded from the taxable basis for the temporary tax for budget balancing. This does not seem to be applicable to people subject to the Luxembourgish social security scheme. As regards self-employed people, the CCSS will show the temporary tax on their social security bill. In this case, the abatement will amount to 75% of the minimum wage for unskilled workers. For the other income, the Direct Tax Authority will levy the tax by assessment. Abolition of the education and maternity allowances The government has decided to abolish the maternity and education allowances as from 1 June Maternity allowance The maternity allowance was a benefit paid by the sickness and maternity insurance system to new and adoptive parents. It was paid to the mother (to be) and to the adoptive parents who were not entitled to a compensated maternity leave or adoption leave or to the mothers (to be) and adoptive parents who received an allowance of which amount was lower than the maternity one. The education allowance The allowance aimed at supporting parents who took time off to raise their children by partly compensating for the income lost during this period of suspension of their professional activity. Over the past 25 years, the use of this allowance has been decreasing slowly but steadily, following the introduction of the parental leave. However, the applications received before the law came into force will be considered and acceded to as before.

3 New: eligibility for interest subsidies will be means-tested The law amends the housing benefits scheme provided by the State by means-testing the eligibility for interest subsidies, which will only be available to households whose taxable income is less than four times the minimum wage for unskilled workers. This will apply to all flats and houses: where the deed was signed after 31 December 2014, where the construction or refurbishment work on the flat or house took place after that date. Interest subsidies for employer-provided loans From 1 January 2015, the reference rate for tax purposes, by operation of article 104 Luxembourg Income Tax Law (LITL) regarding the taxation of benefits in kind, is decreased from 2% to 1.5% for the loans given by employers to their employees. That rate is used to value the benefit in kind when employers offer an interest rate that is lower than the reference rate. That benefit may be exempted if the requirements set out in article 115 LITL are satisfied. Amendment of the legal provisions governing the linguistic leave scheme The numbers of employees who have applied for a language leave have increased significantly over the past few years. As a result, the Ministry of Employment would like to promote a more targeted use of the benefit. From now on, employers will be required to fund 50% of the allowance (including employer s contributions) paid to employees who take the linguistic leave. The allowance and related employer share used to be refunded entirely by the government. New social parameters for 2015 Please find hereunder a summary of the main social parameters applicable on 1st January The social minimum wage has increased by 0.1% (see details in the table below). The rates that have changed are shown in bold in the below table (namely an overall slight increase of the Employer Mutuality rates).

4 Social minimum salaries INDEX 775,17 EUR EUR Non-qualified worker Hourly rate Monthly Gross salary For 18 year old and more From 17 till 18 year old : 80 % From 16 till 17 year old : 75 % Qualified worker for 18 year old and more Maximum basis for social contributions (except dependence insurance not limited to any ceiling) at index Monthly maximum in EUR Annual maximum basis In EUR Employee s rates for Social contributions In % For periodic remuneration For non-periodic remuneration and fringe benefits Illness health expense Illness cash benefits 0.25 Pension 8 8 Dependence (*) (*) Tax allowance equal to one fourth of the non-qualified social minimum salary for minimum 150 hours per month.

5 Employer s rates for social contributions In % For periodic remuneration For non-periodic remuneration and fringe benefits Illness health expense Illness cash benefits 0.25 Pension 8 8 Accident at work Health at work Employer mutuality Class Class Class Class Reform of the family benefits scheme Even though the bill has not been enacted yet, the government is considering making the changes described below during the year The objective is to grant the same allowance per child and to include the child bonus in that allowance for the children born after the law enters into force. The allowance should be 265 per child, per month and should therefore cover the bonus. Current beneficiaries should not be affected by those measures. They will continue to be entitled to the former amounts, except for the additional benefits relating to the child's age, which would be adjusted upwards slightly. Those additional benefits should apply to all recipients of family benefits. We will keep you informed of any development regarding this reform.

6 The table below compares the old and new family benefits scheme for a family with a 7-year-old and a 13-year-old child. Current situation (EUR) Future situation for children born in 2015 before the reform is implemented (EUR) Future situation for children born after the reform is implemented (EUR) Family benefits 440,72 440,72 530,00 Additional benefits per child aged between 6 and 11 16,17 20,00 20,00 Additional benefits per aged 12 and above 48,52 50,00 50,00 Bonus for 2 children 153,76 153,76 Cancelled TOTAL 659,17 664,48 600,00 For more information, please contact us: Vinciane Istace Partner, Payroll Nelly Mazzarol Director, Payroll Céline Nardi Payroll Expert PwC Luxembourg ( is the largest professional services firm in Luxembourg with 2,450 people employed from 55 different countries. It provides audit, tax and advisory services including management consulting, transaction, financing and regulatory advice to a wide variety of clients from local and middle market entrepreneurs to large multinational companies operating from Luxembourg and the Greater Region. It helps its clients create the value they are looking for by giving comfort to the capital markets and providing advice through an industry focused approach. The global PwC network is the largest provider of professional services in audit, tax and advisory. We re a network of independent firms in 157 countries and employ more than 195,000 people. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Société coopérative. All rights reserved.in this document, PwC Luxembourg refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Société coopérative (Luxembourg) which is a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited ( PwC IL ), each member firm of which is a separate and independent legal entity. PwC IL cannot be held liable in any way for the acts or omissions of its member firms.

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