29 November 2011
ATOZ NEWS: Tax, ATOZ and Taxand Intelligence | November 2011
by: The Atoz Team
In times of reflection, Thanksgiving (for our North American readers) and 2012 planning, we offer you our latest edition of the ATOZ Newsletter: a comprehensive overview of the most recent international tax news and our interpretation of their impact to you.
A significant portion of this issue is dedicated to recent court cases: these affect institutional investors and their rights to claim withholding tax refunds, as well as investors in distressed debt. It also covers the latest double tax treaty (DTT) amendments and an individual EU member state tax legislation update as well as our view on the proposed Financial Transaction Tax. We encourage you to pay close attention to these technical articles and of course, contact us should you need additional information.
As promised in the last issue, we continue on with the PERE market highlight by sharing interviews with clients, trade representatives, industry influencers and how they plan to deal with capital gains, distressed assets, FATCA, beneficial ownership, and the challenges and opportunities presented to PERE investors in 2012. Alas, we pick up where we left off with our “Introduction to Luxembourg” earlier in the year to highlight a different side of Luxembourg. We hope that you will find those of interest.
Enjoy your reading,
Olivier Remacle, Partner ATOZ
A recent European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) case confirmed opportunities for foreign investors to recover German withholding taxes on investment income, principally dividends. The present ECJ case adopts a clear position on the dividends’ taxation regime aggrieving recipients of dividends from other EU/EEA Member States, but remains silent on whether or not third countries would be entitled to benefit from this decision. Its logic applies to non-European investors. Investors are advised to examine closely the opportunities for refunds and consider filing protective claims.
On 20 October 2011, the ECJ rendered its decision in the case of European Commission v. Federal Republic of Germany (C-284/09) following a reasoned opinion (under Article 226 EC treaty) brought by the European Commission on 23 July 2009, requesting Germany to amend its tax rules concerning outbound dividend payments to companies established in other EU/EEA Member States.
The ECJ held that Germany failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 63 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union “TFEU” (ex-Article 56 the European Community Treaty “EC Treaty”) and Article 40 of the European Economic Area Agreement “EEA Agreement” (with regards to the Republic of Iceland and The Kingdom of Norway) for taxing outbound dividends, paid to a company registered in other EU/EEA Member States, at a higher rate than dividends paid to domestic companies.
The free movement of capital guaranteed by the TFEU and the EEA agreement prohibits any fiscal discrimination between domestic recipients of dividends and those of other EU/EEA countries. The advantages granted to a domestic recipient of dividends should thus be extended to recipients of dividends from other EU/EEA Member States.
An exemption of 95% on dividends distributed is granted to domestic corporate shareholders (100% of the dividends are exempt, with 5% treated as a non-deductible business expense) and so, domestic companies benefit from a tax credit or a refund of withholding taxes, which is not the case for non-domestic corporate dividend recipients. The ECJ found that practice provided preferential treatment to resident companies and requested that Germany ensures equal conduct.
Arguments rejected by the ECJ
The ECJ did not accept the multiple arguments brought forward by Germany such as the need to maintain the coherence of the German tax system and public interest.
Germany also argued unsuccessfully that it was critical to maintain a balanced allocation of the power to tax between Member States linked to the principle of territoriality, according to which each Member State is entitled to tax profits generated in its territory.
In addition, Germany argued that resident companies are subject to municipal business tax while companies established in other Member States are not liable to this tax. The ECJ found the fact that the companies established in other Member States are not obliged to pay business tax, as they do not carry on an economic activity in a German municipality, did not constitute a tax advantage that would compensate the unfavourable tax treatment.
ECJ reaffirms the prohibition of restrictions on the free movement of Capital: Article 63 TFEU (ex-Article 56 of the EC Treaty)
The present decision is in line with most of the ECJ decisions, dealing with the principle of free movement of capital. In the case Fokus Bank from 23 November 2004 (E-1/04), the EFTA Court considered that the imputation credit system, applicable to resident shareholders was in breach of Article 40 of the EEA Agreement. The ECJ has reiterated several times the prohibition to confer favourable tax treatment to resident companies compared to residents of other EU Member States (refer to CJCE 03/06/2010 Commission vs Spain C-487/08 ---- CJCE 19/11/2009 Commission vs Italy C540/07 --- CJCE 18/06/2009 Aberdeen C-303/07 --- CJCE 08/11/07 Amurta C-379/08 --- CJCE 14/12/2006 Denkavit C-170/05 --- CJCE 08/11/2004 Manninen C-379/05.)
Implication of the present decision in respect of third countries (i.e. countries outside of the EU/EEA)
The ECJ makes no reference to a possible application in favour of third countries and at this stage, as the point was not raised by the European Commission, it is not clear whether or not this decision applies automatically for claims filed by non-UE investment funds or non-EU tax exempt entities (i.e. pension funds and charitable bodies).
With regards to tax exempt entities, the ECJ will have to rule on the new action brought by the European Commission on 16 December 2010 (C-600/10), whereby it requests Germany to amend its discriminatory tax treatment towards outbound dividends and interest payments to foreign pension funds.
It is worth remembering, however, that on 10 February 2011 the ECJ issued a decision in the joined cases Haribo & Salinen (C-436/08 and C-437/08) whereby it requested an EU Member States to amend its tax legislation and this towards EU Member States and third countries. This strengthens the case for the application of the free movement of capital in favour of third countries.
Based on our experience, it will take several months or maybe even years until the laws are brought in line with the recent ECJ jurisprudence. Until such law becomes effective, the applications for refunds should refer to this decision. We assume that within the next months the German Federal Ministry of Finance will issue a financial decree on how to deal with pending refunds. Hopefully, this decree will also provide guidance in regards to filing refund claims, i.e. the required evidence, term, etc. We expect that the local tax offices will start processing the applications filed so far once the above mentioned decree has become available. We do not expect that the law will be changed within a short time frame. We also do not expect that the local tax offices will deal with the applications in the short term. Nevertheless, there are now more arguments supporting the claims of refund of withholding taxes for EU/EEA investors such as investment funds.
For clarification and additional information, please contact Keith O’Donnell at email@example.com or Mariem Sahraoui at firstname.lastname@example.org
Much has been said or written and more recently proposed and punctually experienced on the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), since Nobel price James Tobin launched the concept back in 1972. Where do we stand on the subject today, what is the status of this tax at the European level (or levels, if we distinguish the Eurozone from the rest of the European Union in this respect) and finally what are the chances of success and in which form, taking a broader view, looking at the US approach in this respect?
1. Formal status at the European level: the proposal of the European Commission
The latest significant formal step took place September 28, 2011, when the European Commission adopted a proposal (the “Proposal”) for the introduction of an EU-wide FTT, which, if adopted, would apply as of 2014.
The main objectives of this tax are to create greater market stability by discouraging risky trading activities, such as high frequency trading, and to make the financial sector contribute to the cost of economic recovery.
According to the Proposal, the tax would be levied on all transactions on financial instruments between financial institutions, if at least one of the financial institutions is established in the European Union. The financial institution is deemed to be established in the Member State if it is authorized, registered, have its permanent address or a branch in such Member State (an economic substance link test is to be carried out). The FTT would be based on the principle of tax residence of the financial institution or trader. The taxation would take place in the Member State in which the establishment of the financial institution involved is located, disregarding where the transaction is realized.
The concept of financial institution is broad and covers in particular investment companies, credit institutions, insurance companies, collective investment undertakings and their managers, alternative investment funds (e.g. hedge funds), financial leasing companies, special purpose entities and any other undertaking such as holding companies, other trader of financial instruments with significant financial transactions. The financial institution can act on its own account, but also for the account of another person or in the name of a party to the transaction.
The FTT applies to a wide variety of financial instruments including spot and derivative transactions on organized exchanges (shares, bonds, securities and derivatives, including trade of futures and options related to stocks, interest rate securities, currencies and commodities) as well as over-the-counter derivatives where the overwhelming majority of trading is taking place (i.e. forwards, futures, swaps). Derivative agreements, resulting in a sale or purchase of a financial instrument (physical settlement) will be subject to tax at both the level of the derivative and the underlying financial instrument. Transactions typically undertaken by retail banks with private households or small businesses (i.e. mortgages, bank loans, insurance contracts) fall outside the scope of the Proposal, except when they relate to the sale or purchase of bonds or shares. Likewise, spot currency exchange transactions and the raising of capital by enterprises or public entities through the issuance of bonds and shares on the primary market would be excluded of the FTT scope. The FTT will cover both transactions between third parties and intra-group transactions.
The tax rate provided for by the Proposal will constitute a minimum, amounting to 0.1% for bonds, shares and other transactions and to 0.01% for derivatives. In the case of financial transactions other than derivatives, the taxable amount will be the consideration, payable between the parties for the transfer of the financial instruments or the market price, determined according to the arm’s length principle, when the consideration is lower than the market price. The taxable amount in relation to derivative transactions is the notional principal amount, specified in the contract at the time the derivative is entered into.
The FTT is collected by financial institutions when the transaction becomes chargeable, if electronic and within three days of chargeability in all other cases. Each party is jointly and severally liable for payment. Subsequent cancellation cannot be considered as a reason to exclude chargeability of tax except in cases of errors.
2. Political status at the European level: remaining divergences
Similar taxes already exist in the European landscape. Indeed, seven EU countries such as the United Kingdom, Belgium, Poland and Greece have already implemented their own domestic tax on financial transactions. In 1986, the UK government implemented a Stamp Duty Reserve Tax of 0.50% on transactions in UK equities.
The European Commission has taken a strong supporting role as to the FTT. Now the issue is reaching the consensus needed in order for it to be adopted.
Despite the discussions before the G20 that have been chaired by France, a strong supporter of the FTT, no agreement has been reached in Cannes on November 3-4. Many countries remain opposed to the idea of introducing the FTT. The main arguments against is the fear that such tax becomes a sales tax on investors, missing the actors who are intended to bear the burden (as we have seen broad consensus of the actors to reflect the according additional costs to the investors). Another point is the possibility of decrease in the exchange volume as a consequence of the FTT (either at the level of the fund management, shifting to an active strategy to long term passive one, or the investors themselves, with reduced fund collection).
At an EU level, many hurdles remain before the FTT becomes a reality, not least an agreement by the individual Member States. While France and Germany together with the European Commission keep on pushing for the implementation of the FTT, other Member States such as United Kingdom and Sweden argue against it due to the potential negative impact on the EU competitiveness bearing a risk of relocation of financial institutions and the cost to final consumers.
Achieving the unanimous agreement amongst the 27 EU Member States, which would be required to introduce the FTT on an EU wide basis, is likely to be difficult in practice. In view of this, a political alternative for France and Germany would be to have the FTT introduced in their countries and to a certain extent across other actors of the euro-zone, on a country by country basis, abandoning the Commission’s Proposal.
3. What are the chances of success taking a broader view?
Could the determination of Germany and France drive to an implementation of the FTT on a country base, even without the support of the UK for the Proposal? Would Germany and France wait for a consensus, fearing for their already heavily battered local financial players? The elections in both countries scheduled to take place in 2012 may drive the current governments to introduce the FTT, as a popular action aimed to replenish the state treasuries, regardless the collateral damages it may cause.
Beyond the opposition views between a group of European countries, headed by the UK on one hand and the ones behind Germany and France on another, one has to look over the Atlantic and consider the position of the US political class and the US government. It seems that with the Republican majority in the congress restricting the chances of success, the US administration is not willing to impose such a tax in the US.. In this context, a proposal from two Democrat representatives (Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Peter DeFazio) would have limited chances of turning to law.
Finally, the above political issues aside, in August 2011 the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF issued a Working Paper, which examines the administrative feasibility of levying a FTT on a broad range of financial instruments. According to this study, taxing measures other than FTT would be better suited for revenue-raising and mitigating the risk of financial market failure. As an alternative, the IMF notably suggests the implementation of a Financial Stability Contribution (FSC), aimed at reducing excessive risk-taking or a Financial Activities Tax (FAT) to offset tax distortions and pay for the cost of future failures . The report also draws attention to the legislative and administrative difficulties that the implementation of such tax may generate, in particular the collection of an FTT on instruments that are traded over-the-counter and not centrally cleared.
In any case, it will be exciting to see whether the FTT as designed in the Proposal will someday enter into force on an European level, seen the political and technical arguments against it. Local implementation, as it has been the case to date, may be the only concrete outcome of the current project.
For additional details, please visit www.atoz.lu or contact Frederic Dupont at email@example.com and Emilie Le Gallais at Emilie.firstname.lastname@example.org
On 21 November of this year, Russia and Luxembourg signed a Protocol, which amends the Double Tax Treaty (DTT) they concluded on 28 June 1993. Most of the amendments are positive and improve the competitive position of Luxembourg towards other European jurisdictions that are used in practice as a platform to hold investments in Russia.
Taxation of dividends reduced
The Protocol introduces a reduction from 10% to 5% of the maximum withholding tax (WHT) rate applied to dividend distributions. The maximum 5% WHT rate will now apply if the beneficial owner holds a direct shareholding of 10% AND (both criteria are required) has invested at least EUR 80.000 in the subsidiary located in the other state.
This change is positive as it makes Luxembourg as attractive as the Netherlands or Cyprus, which were thus far often used as the holding jurisdiction for Russian investments. Indeed, the Luxembourg-Russia DTT now provides the same WHT rate of 5%, as in the DTTs between the Netherlands and Russia and between Cyprus and Russia.
The Netherlands-Russia DTT currently requires a level of shareholding of 25% and an investment of EUR 75.000 in order for the beneficial owner to benefit from the reduced 5% WHT rate so that the Luxembourg-Russia DTT is even more beneficial in certain situations.
The DTT with Cyprus currently requires an investment of USD 100.000 (EUR 100.000 is provided in the Cyprus-Russia Protocol not yet in force). No minimum shareholding is foreseen, thus the DTT with Cyprus appears as more beneficial than the Luxembourg DTT. However, since the new Protocol to the DTT between Russia and Cyprus has not yet been ratified and since this ratification is required to remove Cyprus companies from the Russian blacklist of low-tax jurisdictions, the Russia-Luxembourg Protocol should encourage investors to consider relocating their Cyprus holding companies to Luxembourg.
Definition of dividend income amended
The dividend definition is amended by the Protocol. It will now also include payments made in the form of interest to the extent the interest is treated as a dividend ("revenus d’actions") for tax purposes in the source country.
The aim of this amendment is most probably to deal with situations where an interest payment has been re-qualified into a hidden dividend distribution in the source country. If the interest is re-qualified as dividend, it means that the income is no longer tax deductible and may even be subject to withholding tax in the source country. Nevertheless, the recipient country could still treat the income as interest, and thus as fully taxable income. As a result, we would encounter an economic double taxation of the same income. With the change introduced, the recipient country will follow the tax treatment applied in the source country. As a result, the beneficial owner may benefit from an exemption of the income received (based on the so-called participation exemption regime applicable to dividends received).
The change may also impact in certain cases the use of hybrid instruments, i.e. financial instruments, which have both equity and debt features and thus, the qualification of the income arising from such instrument (as interest in the case of debt or as dividend in the case of equity).
Real estate investment structures
Tax treatment of capital gains on the sale of shares in real estate companies amended
A new paragraph is introduced in the capital gain article regarding real estate companies: the sale of shares in real estate companies will now be taxable in the country, in which the real estate is situated. This change will impact structures that involve a Luxembourg Company which holds Russian real estate via a Russian real estate company. The sale of the shares in the Russian real estate Company will now be taxable in Russia. Thus far, it was taxable in Luxembourg, but Luxembourg exempted the capital gain under certain conditions based on the participation exemption regime. Real estate structures involving Russia should thus be carefully reviewed.
Tax treatment of capital gains on the sale of units in real estate investment funds
In a similar way, the capital gains realized upon the sale of units in a real estate investment fund (like a Luxembourg FCP) will be considered as real estate income and thus, will be taxed in the country in which the real estate is situated.
Luxembourg SICAVs and SICAFs will get treaty benefits
The article, which excluded Holdings 1929 as well as companies benefiting from a similar tax regime from treaty benefits has been removed so that SICAVs and SICAFs (including SIFs set up as SICAV or SICAF) should now (as soon as the protocol enters into force) be able to benefit from the treaty provisions, which is very good news.
Limitation on benefits
The Protocol introduces a limitation of benefits clause that excludes companies that were mainly set up in order to take advantage of the DTT from the treaty benefits. This provision is rather vague and does introduce a high level of legal uncertainty.
Some criteria have been listed in article 4 of the DTT to define what is to be considered as the place of effective management. This change will make the determination of the effective place of management and thus the determination of the tax residence of a Company easier.
Some changes have been made as well to the Permanent Establishment article.
Finally, the exchange of information article has been amended in order to bring the DTT in line with the OECD standards.
All in all, the changes introduced are rather positive and will make Luxembourg a more attractive investment platform for holding investments in Russia. Some changes introduced will need to be carefully monitored and real estate structures in particular will have to be reviewed carefully. Finally, the limitation of benefit clause will introduce a degree of legal uncertainty that will not contribute to increasing the flows of capital and services between both countries, but only time will tell how aggressive this article will be invoked.
The changes introduced by the Protocol will apply as of the 1st of January of the year following the end of the ratification process by both States. Since both States will most probably not be able to ratify the Protocol before the end of this year, it can be expected that the Protocol will not apply before January 1st 2013.
For clarification and additional information, please contact Samantha Nonnenkamp at email@example.com
Electronic filing obligation
As from January 1, 2013, taxable persons subject to periodical filing (monthly or quarterly) of their VAT returns will be required to file these periodical VAT returns electronically. This electronic filing will have to be performed via the electronic portal eTVA (http://www.aed.public.lu/etva/index.html).
Sale of defaulted debts – Outside the scope of VAT
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently issued a key case-law in relation to the sale of defaulted debts (GFKL Financial Services AG – Case C-93/10).
In 2003, the VAT treatment of the sale of defaulted debts had been analysed by the ECJ in the so-called MKG-Kraftfahrzeuge-Factoring case-law (“MKG case” - C-305/01). The outcome of this case was that a business, which purchases debts, assuming the risk of the debtors’ default, and in return invoices a commission to its clients, performs an economic activity subject to VAT. Debt collection and factoring is indeed excluded from the banking and financial transactions exempt from VAT. The determination of the taxable basis of the transaction when no distinct commission was paid had not been analysed by the ECJ in the MKG case. This resulted in discrepancies between the interpretations by the various EU Member States.
Some VAT Authorities (e.g. Germany) used to take the view that when no specific commission was paid, the taxable basis (subject to VAT) should be equal to the difference between the economic value of the defaulted debts and their purchase price.
In the recent GFKL Financial Services AG (GFKL) case law, the ECJ had to determine the VAT treatment of the purchase of debts relating to loans agreements, where the purchase price is agreed below the face value of the debts and where no specific commission is paid for the recovery of the debts. The ECJ concluded that, an operator who, at his own risk, purchases defaulted debts at a price below their face value does not supply services for consideration from a VAT point of view and the operator does not carry out an economic activity falling within the scope of the VAT Directive.
The decision of the ECJ in this case-law brings clarity and legal certainty in the context of the sale of defaulted debts. In the current financial downturn where the purchase of distressed debts is becoming an alternative for many operators, this case will certainly be applauded by these operators.
It must however be noted that, as always, the facts surrounding a transaction are key. The deemed divergent results of the MKG and GFKL cases constitute a very good example of the importance of these facts. The operators acting in the distressed debts “industry” should therefore keep that in mind before the transactions occurs.
For additional details, please contact Christophe Plainchamp at firstname.lastname@example.org and Mireille Rodius at email@example.com
As reported in our previous newsletter, the Dutch government published on 20 September its 2012 budget proposals. The proposals included some new rules regarding interest deduction at the level of leveraged acquisition holding companies. On November 17, 2011, an amended version of the 2012 changes to Dutch tax legislation has been approved by the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament. The Bill needs to be approved by the Upper House of Dutch Parliament. No further amendments are expected and, in principle, the legislation will enter into force on January 1, 2012. The changes regarding interest deductions, as they should enter into force next year, are presented below:
Restrictions are proposed on interest deductions in leveraged acquisition structures involving Dutch target companies. In addition to the existing Dutch anti-base erosion and thin-cap regimes, the leveraged acquisition holding regime will also apply to third-party acquisition debts.
Based on this new regime, interest may not be deducted if:
1. the annual interest expenses (on acquisition debt) exceed the amount of the own profits of the holding company on stand-alone basis;
2. the interest is related to excessive acquisition debt ("excessive interest"); and
3. the excessive interest exceeds an amount of € 1,000,000
The definition of excessive acquisition debt has been changed in the amended proposal. Excessive acquisition debt is, in principle, defined as the amount of the acquisition debt which exceeds 60% of the acquisition price. Subsequently, for a seven year period, the maximum debt percentage of 60% annually decreases by 5%, until a 25% residual debt remains. As a result the taxpayer is encouraged to gradually repay the acquisition debt.
While it was expected that a grandfathering rule would apply to acquisitions prior to December 31, 2011, that date was amended to November 15, 2011. Furthermore, it has been announced that potential new legislation with respect to interest deduction restrictions in relation to foreign shareholdings will be published in the course of 2012.
This update is developed with the help of our Dutch colleague, Marc Sanders, VMW Taxand.
In the last issue of the ATOZ Newsletter we shared a portion of the PERE market interviews with clients and trade representatives. For additional thoughts on how industry influencers plan to deal with capital gains, distressed assets, FATCA, beneficial ownership, and the challenges and opportunities presented to investors in 2012, please read onwards.
Do you walk away from an asset if the structure gives rise to an effective tax rate above or beyond certain rate or is it just another expense line?
While Tax is not the driver behind an investment decision it certainly is a significant factor. Industry influencers agreed across the board that while they have not yet walked away from an asset because of a structure that gives rise to an effective rate above and beyond a certain rate they have backed off assets when the after tax returns are below the targeted IRR. "When it comes to structures, simple is better,” said Demetri Rackos, Managing Director of Tax, LaSalle Investment Management, the US based global real estate investment giant. An industry veteran, Rackos reminded us of the importance of employing a cost benefit analysis in evaluating complex structures and the fiduciary duties to the investors. “A simple deal, even if it does not produce the lowest possible effective tax rate is still acceptable, so long as it produces good after-tax returns,” added Rackos. While tax would not drive the decision for investments, it’s an important factor and all parties involved (i.e. deal, financing and operations teams) understand the value of smart tax planning in this difficult environment.
What is your approach to tax litigation: do you handle each case on its own principled merits or take a portfolio approach and seek to settle cases based on probabilities regardless of merits regardless of merits. Who drives the decisions: a centralized tax function or the individual asset managers? Do you sense a drift in any of the jurisdictions you are active that goes against RE investors and is it particularly focused on foreign as opposed to local investors. Which jurisdictions do you regard as being especially worrisome in this regard?
The contributors to this piece found this point tough to explain as “that’s not always black on white and usually needs a case by case approach.” ”We have to look with sunglasses in a dark room and figure out the shade of grey,” added one of them. Most of the firms are pragmatic and would look at the merit of the case and the impact of the fund or the asset: they would fight for big amounts and settle if small ones.
Who drives the decisions: a centralized tax function or the individual asset managers? Taxanders received a unanimous answer: “it’s a team decision.” The leading tax functions work closely with deal leaders and the CFOs of platforms to identify the best solutions for the particular fund. It’s a system of collaboration and checks and balances across the industry, Taxanders found. In most cases, neither function has the authority to settle on their own.
The participants, who on daily basis act as foreign direct investors, felt as if the tax man was coming after them. Although the process appears to be arbitrary, Korea, Japan, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia (e.g. VAT recovery) and the US were mentioned by the interviewees as some of the jurisdictions where they are experiencing heightened sensitivity.
Have you been engaged with pension funds seeking an individualized structure in order to be able to access tax benefits particular to pension funds, even if it requires specific structuring for that individual investor? Is there a particular level of equity commitment below which you are not prepared to facilitate the pension fund?
Deciding on when to customize a structure to accommodate pension funds for tax benefits would depend on the situation. The industry leaders Taxanders spoke with have both seen and themselves tailored structures for individual groups. The most often quoted were parallel structures for US investors into Japan or the reversed: REITs for non US investors into the US and increasing numbers of European parallel structures for European exempts investing cross border. Germany is another example. "We have been actively involved in these types of solutions both individual funds and fund of funds structures," says Stefan Rockel, Managing Director with Universal-Investment, the largest independent investment company in the German speaking countries. “Furthermore, we are currently involved in industry discussions on adding rules to the German Investment and Investment Tax Act, as the need for regulated, cross border pension pooling structures has been acknowledged by the German authorities."
Evaluating facilitation of an individual pension fund based on a level of equity commitment appears to be another example of a case by case approach. Some of the participants admitted to no stringent threshold requirements, while others quoted specific limits (not considered if below 20 million commitment and certainly if above 100 million) and numbers of investors.
For a full version and a complimentary copy of the PERE 2011 Global Guide to Tax, visit www.atoz.lu or contact Keith O’Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Amidst the current economic turmoil, short of being a peaceful harbor, Luxembourg remains one of the most solid economies and a privileged immigration pole. While this has been true for the last decades, the country’s decision makers constantly strive to maintain and improve the standards of the country in terms of quality of life and attractiveness for skilled workers. Despite the impact of the 2008 crisis on the banking sector, the financial sector overall, has seen a continuous growth of around one percent between 2008 and 2010.
While non-resident workers represent a significant part of the country’s workforce, Luxembourg general politics have had a tendency to favour its resident workers over the last few years. Some have interpreted this slight shift in focus as a defensive reflex, however it cannot possibly express any kind of self centered approach, for (is it necessary to remind it), foreign residents represent over forty-three percent of the country’s population as of 2011. This state of fact has even driven Luxembourg to widen the right to vote at the municipal level not only to EU member state nationals, but to all resident foreigners.
Legal evolution in terms of immigration and integration has also followed the recent changes seen in several European countries with respect to access to nationality. Luxembourg is now one of the few countries in the world where a citizen meeting the appropriate conditions (of residence, language, basic knowledge of the local legal system) can claim a right to obtain a Luxembourg passport and even press said rights in Court, should the application be wrongfully denied.
Most recent governmental efforts have been aimed at improving the quality of the education system and the capacity of its students to be considered highly competitive on the employment market. Some of the actions include improving the already widely successful language programs (in English in particular) and providing more comprehensive orientation choices for students.
Whether from the perspective of quality of life, education, or professional integration, Luxembourg is and remains a place of high value opportunities for skilled migrants.
In preparation for another turbulent year ahead of us, let’s take a moment to review the recent and upcoming tax, legal and regulatory changes and the challenges and opportunities they present. Join us and your professional peers for a half day content rich and networking session, and learn what actions you should consider in order to mitigate risk and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the impending changes.
Date: 12 December 2011 | 10:30 – 16:00
Location: ATOZ | Aerogolf Center| 1B, Heienhaff | Senningerberg L-1736
Note: This event is in German.
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