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Starting a business in Luxembourg

2nd March 2010, Comments0 comments

Starting a business in Luxembourg
Starting a new business can be all the more complex in a foreign country. Here are some pointers on starting a business in Luxembourg.

All businesses require a business permit before they can be set up. You must show evidence of professional qualification and of good standing. It is also necessary to register for income tax, value added tax and social security. 
 
Since August 2004, there is one permit available that covers all commercial activities. To obtain this, you need to show managerial qualifications or at least, managerial experience. 

An application form can be obtained from the Ministry, from the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Information Centre (Espace Enterprises) or downloaded from www.mcm.public.lu. A stamp duty of EUR 24 must be submitted with each application. Any documents necessary for your application must be translated into French or German by a qualified translator. A permit is usually issued after about three months. After completion, business permits may be collected from the Social Security Centre (Centre Commun de la Securité Sociale). Business permits for public companies are sent by post. All permits are in the form of a card which must be shown on request. Once opened, the nature of the business and the governmental authorisation number must be shown on the company’s stationary, their e-mails, websites, estimates, invoices, and in shop fronts and windows of business premises. If the ministry refuses to grant a permit, an appeal must be made to the Administrative Court within one month of the notification of the refusal.
 
Evidence of professional qualification usually comes in the form of a certificate, university degree or other diploma. You must supply an authenticated copy of evidence; this can be done at a town hall or the Centre Emile Hamilius in Luxembourg City. All expats living in Luxembourg for less than 5 years must supply evidence of good standing in the form of a criminal record and a certificate of non-bankruptcy, or a declaration made before a notary/affidavit. Attention will be paid to good standing related to business conduct. This means that only breaches of business conduct will be a cause for concern. Applicants involved in bankruptcy without an effect on their good standing might receive a permit on the condition that they receive training in company management. 
 
There is financial aid available for setting up your business. Small and medium-sized businesses can be rewarded with grants or reduced interest rates by the Ministry of Middle Classes. These can be awarded on the condition that the company invests in fixed assets, participates in exhibitions, makes investments related to the protection of the environment, renovates polluted sites, or invests in innovation and research and development. The main principle of supplying this aid is to encourage competition among businesses. Details about application are available in English on the ministry’s website. Furthermore, the Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement is a bank that specialises in financing investments made by companies. It provides start-up loans for new firms. 
 
New businesses set up in the tourism industry can turn to the Ministry of Tourism. They can be granted financial aid for any investments made in the tourist infrastructure. The Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade provides financial aid to companies for investment or research and development if they promote the economic development of Luxembourg. 
 
There are also specific grants available for those that have been unemployed for a while, and want to set up their own business. The grant is equivalent to the amount of unemployment benefit the jobseeker would receive during six months. Applications should be sent to the Labour Ministry.

The Chamber of Commerce has set up a company for loan guarantees called the Mutualité de Cautionnement et d’Aide aux Commerçants. This guarantees loans from authorised lenders. 

To stay up to date on upcoming legislation that may affect your business look at the Chamber of Commerce website under a section called ‘Avis et Affaires Juridiques’. The information is only available in French.
 
For extra help setting up your business, The Chamber of Commerce supplies brochures, DVDs and other forms of assistance in English. Other sources include www.businessplan.lu, the Portail Entreprises andwww.leguichet.org. The first lists instructions in English and requires a login, the second is a business portal in French and the last has a detailed questionnaire in French. 
 
Business terms (French – German)
Business permit: permis de commerce
Professional qualification: qualification professionnelle – berufliche qualifikation
Good standing: en règle – das gute Ansehen
Financial aid: aide financière – finanzielle unterstützung
Grant: subvention – zuschuss
Interest rate: taux d'intérêt – zinssatz
 
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