Your guide to doing business in Luxembourg
Luxembourg lies at the heart of Western Europe, sharing land borders with Germany, France and Belgium. Although one of the smallest countries in Europe by population and size, Luxembourg is nonetheless one of the world’s most advanced economies and offers high standards of living, healthcare, and education. Natural iron-ore deposits fuelled Luxembourg’s industrialisation throughout the 20th century but more recently the country has become a global financial centre boasting one of the world’s highest GDPs per capita. The country’s growth has been supported by a stable and consistent democratic political system that emphasises free-trade and a low regulation business environment for foreign investment interests. With high industrial output and a strong services sector, Luxembourg’s economy is diverse and important contributors in the 21st century include the finance, technology, communications, and international banking industries. In 2019, Luxembourg’s nominal GDP reached an estimated $69.45 billion, with a growth rate of 2.3%. Luxembourg is a member of the EU, the OECD, the United Nations, and Benelux: in 2019, the World Bank ranked Luxembourg 72 on its Ease of Doing Business Survey.
Investors targeting Luxembourg will find a variety of reasons to do business in the country:
The Government welcomes foreign investors in Luxembourg. The Government can provide capital grants for the funding of specific projects in order to complement Government policy, including small and medium-sized companies; companies located in development areas and research and development for new products, services or processes. Furthermore, medium and long-term loans are available from the National Credit and Investment Corporation (SNCI).
The employer may be a legal entity or a private person, established in Luxembourg or abroad, and must register for social security. It is worth noting that there may be a requirement to obtain a business license. If a business license is required and all substantiating documents are available, it can take less than two weeks to get all registrations in place.
It is not mandatory in Luxembourg to make payments to either employees or authorities from an in-country bank account, however it is mandatory if you wish to proceed with automatic payment. Both salary and third-party payments can be made on behalf of a client. Only bank transfers are used for making payments to both employees and local authorities. Usually, bank transfers can be made within 72 hours.
Germany is a central European country and the continent’s largest economy. Bordered to the west by Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands, to the north by Denmark, and to the east by Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria, Germany has become a significant global economic power and a popular location for foreign investment. Rich in natural resources, Germany experienced a period of significant economic growth in the latter half of the 20th century: in 2019, Germany’s GDP reached an estimated $3.9 trillion with a growth rate of 0.6%. Modern Germany offers a highly developed and diverse business landscape: significant industries include healthcare, IT, electrical equipment manufacturing, aerospace, and automotive engineering, with the service sector contributing around 70% of GDP. With a large, well-educated population, high living standards, low unemployment, and a geographic location at the heart of Europe, Germany is an attractive place to set-up a business, offering organisations from around the world the resources, skills and innovation to succeed and grow. In 2019, over 22,000 enterprise organisations maintained a presence in Germany, taking advantage of road, rail, and air links to the rest of Europe and the world. Germany is a member of the UN, NATO, the G7, and the OECD, and was ranked 22 on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey 2019.
Germany is ranked 17 on the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ survey, and its growing economy offers plenty of opportunities for investment:
The German government has been a driver, innovator, and beneficiary of an ever more globalised economy. Germany is amongst the three largest exporters in the world, with exports accounting for over one third of GDP. Foreign and local investors are treated equally and are both eligible for investment incentives. Any entrepreneur who wishes to start a business in Germany may do so, there are generally no restrictions limiting the establishment of new companies.
In the establishment phase of a company and prior to assumption of commercial activities, a company only has to be registered in the public commercial register (Handelsregister) and the local trade office (Gewerbe-/Ordnungsamt).
For companies that are looking to process payroll in Germany, the company registrations to the tax and social security authorities include:
The timeline for processing depends on the registering authority. According to experience, this can take up to six weeks.
The key legislative authority in Germany varies depending on where the employer is located and the purpose of the business:
It is not mandatory to pay employees from an in-country bank account. Salary and third-party payments can be made on behalf of the client. Bank transfers are used to pay both employees and the local authorities in Germany. Any transfers that are made between banks in Germany are usually complete within a day. International bank transfers can take at least three working days.
The working week in Luxembourg is Monday to Friday. There are no specific rules concerning the daily hours in Luxembourg. Office hours are typically 0800 – 1700 (one-hour lunchtime included) or 0900 – 1800 (one-hour lunchtime included).
Luxembourg is officially known as The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and was historically a Roman settlement, which consolidated in 963 AD. By the Middle Ages, the Counts of Luxembourg had expanded their territory considerably and, in the mid-14th century, established the Duchy of Luxembourg, ruling from the city-fortress of Luxembourg itself. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was formalised in the early 19th century as the country began to integrate with its continental neighbours. Modern Luxembourg is a prominent presence on the European political landscape: a parliamentary democracy, it is also a founding member of NATO, the European Union and the United Nations. At the heart of Europe, Luxembourg is landlocked and dominated by hills, mountains and forests, with a temperate, oceanic climate of warm summers and cool winters. A range of historic attractions and landmarks, and centuries of fascinating heritage attract millions of tourists to Luxembourg each year.
General Population: 613,894 (Eurostat, 2019)
Major Languages: French, German and Luxembourgish
Major Religion: Christianity
Monetary unit: 1 Euro = 100 cents
Main Exports: Steel products, chemicals, rubber products
Internet Domain: .lu
International Dialling Code: +352
Good morning Bonjour
Good evening Bonsoir
Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais?
Good bye Au revoir
Thank you Merci
See you later À plus tard
The tax year runs from 1 January to 31 December.
Requirements of the employer:
Requirements of the employee:
Key legislative authorities in Luxembourg include:
Monthly income tax contributions are paid on the 10th of the following month. Late-payment interests related to Luxembourg tax invoices are 0.6 %.
In order to proceed with the registration of a company, a document called “Déclaration d’exploitation” must be forwarded to the Luxembourg social security authorities within 24 hours.
In order to make any tax filing on behalf of a client, the service provider must detail a “business license” delivered by the Ministry of Middle Classes on the basis of professional qualifications.
As of 1 August 2018, there was a statutory indexation per employee in Luxembourg, the increase is fixed at 2.5%. Indexation is a mechanism for keeping earnings in Luxembourg in line with inflation. Each time it occurs, wages and pensions increase by 2.5%.
In order to make any social security filing on behalf of the client, the service provider must detail a “business license” delivered by the Ministry of Middle Classes on the basis of professional qualifications.
In order to be eligible for a pension from the Luxembourg Pension Insurance scheme, you need to have contributed to the Pension Insurance for a period of at least one year in Luxembourg.
Furthermore, you need to have contributed to a pension scheme in Luxembourg and/or another Member State of the EU (including Switzerland) for at least 120 months (or 10 years).
If the retirement age is reached, and the minimum contribution period of 10 years is not met, entitlement to a pension from Luxembourg is refused. Contributions made are reimbursed after adaptation to the Luxembourg cost of living index.
Normal retirement age in Luxembourg is 65. Early retirement is permitted at the age of 60 (57 if contributions were made for at least 480 months (in or out of Luxembourg). From the age of 60 onwards, the years of university studies and military service are also included for the computation of the 40 years period.
For pension contributions paid during 40 years, monthly minimum pension is approx. €1.842 and the maximum pension €8.526.
Payslip: Name of the employee, social security number of employee, name of employer, social security number of employer, tax card information (tax class and deductions), monthly gross salary, social security contributions (employee part), withholding tax.
Monthly Tax Declaration: Tax amount to be declared to the Luxembourg tax authorities.
Monthly Social Security Declaration: Contribution to be declared to the Luxembourg social security authorities.
The payroll provider submits all of the documents mentioned above. The employer does not need to sign the forms.
New starts need to be registered to the Luxembourg social security authorities (CCSS) and need to ask for a Luxembourg tax card (Luxembourg tax card authorities or Municipality). This is to be done within eight days of starting work.
The procedure for expats is the same as for other Luxembourg employees if they are subjected to the Luxembourg social security regime within eight days of starting work.
Payment for leavers must be closed before the end of employment.
Notification of a leaver must be made to Luxembourg social security authorities (“Déclaration de sortie”).
Luxembourg’s payroll system involves withholding obligations on the part of employers - towards their employees’ salaries. In more detail, those obligations require mandatory income tax and social security contributions:
Employers in Luxembourg may choose to provide their employees with online payslips for each pay cycle, and must keep payroll reports for a minimum of 10 years. Given the complexity of Luxembourg’s tax system and its associated payroll regulations, international businesses setting up in the country often engage a global payroll provider to help them deliver compliance quickly and efficiently, and pay their employees accurately.