Challenging a decision by the Luxembourg Inland Revenue

Last updated more than 5 years ago

If you wish to dispute a tax assessment from the Luxembourg Inland Revenue (l'Administration des contributions directes - ACD) or an individual administrative decision (such as a negative response to an application for a tax refund), there are several ways for resident or non-resident taxpayers to do so depending on the nature of the grievance.

To be considered, appeals must meet strict formal requirements and be submitted within the prescribed time limits.

Before commencing an appeal, taxpayers may contact the agent who processed their file directly to be kept abreast of any decisions affecting them and obtain any necessary adjustments. If the matter cannot be settled amicably, taxpayers can avail themselves of the legal remedies available to them to settle their tax dispute.

Filing an appeal does not exempt the taxpayer from the obligation to pay the disputed taxes within the required time limit. Consequently, a taxpayer who files a claim must still pay the taxes requested by the tax authorities. The tax will be adjusted subsequently depending on the outcome of the claim.

Who is concerned

All resident or non-resident taxpayers who disagree with a decision or tax assessment issued by the Luxembourg tax authorities.

How to proceed

Filing a claim

The amount of tax payable may be challenged by filing a claim. Taxpayers may file a claim with Luxembourg Inland Revenue in respect of the following assessments or decisions:

  • assessments for taxes due, or for advances on taxes;
  • separate business report assessments;
  • separate and joint business report assessments;
  • business or property tax base assessments;
  • certain administrative decisions of an individual nature, such as a negative response to an application for a tax refund or to an application for tax-exempt status, etc.

Tax assessments contain detailed instructions for appeals on the reverse side of the form. For claims to be admissible, they must be made in the form and within the time limits described below.

Formal requirements

Claims must be filed in writing. They must be addressed directly to the Director of the Luxembourg Inland Revenue—see Disputes Department (Division contentieux)—or to the agent of the appropriate tax office, who will forward the claim to the Director. Verbal challenges are valid if recorded in writing. Appeals by telephone or e-mail are not allowed.

Claims must include the first name, surname, address and tax number of the taxpayer filing the claim. They may be written in French, German or Luxembourgish, at the taxpayer's discretion.

For a claim to be considered admissible, it must clearly identify the contested decision (for example, the income tax assessment for the year in question and the date it was issued) and state the reasons for the claim (facts and legal reasons and the subject matter of the claim).

Taxpayers who file jointly (spouses or civil partners) and wish to file a claim must do so individually in their own names.

Time limits

Claims must be filed within 3 months of the date of the tax assessment or decision issued by the Luxembourg Inland Revenue. If the tax assessment is delivered in Luxembourg, it will be assumed that notice was given on the third working day after the date on the postmark. If the tax assessment is delivered abroad, it will be assumed that notice was given on receipt of the tax assessment.

The Director of the Luxembourg Inland Revenue has 6 months to respond to the taxpayer's appeal.

If during this period the taxpayer receives notice of a decision issued by the Director of the Luxembourg Inland Revenue with which they are not satisfied, the taxpayer has 3 months to lodge an appeal for review with the Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal administratif). If the Administrative Tribunal believes that the appeal is well founded, its decision will overrule the Director's.

If the Director of the Luxembourg Inland Revenue does not respond within 6 months of the filing of the claim, such failure to respond is to be considered as a negative decision. The taxpayer may then lodge an appeal with the Administrative Tribunal. For those proceedings, the taxpayer need not be represented by a lawyer.

Finally, taxpayers can file an appeal against a decision of the Administrative Tribunal with the Administrative Court, provided they do so within 40 days of receiving notice of the decision handed down by the Administrative Tribunal. For those proceedings, the taxpayer must be represented by a lawyer.

Formal hierarchical appeals

In a formal hierarchical appeal, any discretionary decisions taken by the tax office, such as the denial of an extension of a payment deadline, or a decision requiring the payment of additional taxes, can be challenged.

The formal requirements are the same as those for claims. Formal hierarchical appeals must be lodged with the Director of the Luxembourg Inland Revenue (see Disputes Department) within 3 months of the discretionary decision.

An appeal to have the Director's decision revoked may be lodged with the Administrative Tribunal (with or without the assistance of a lawyer) within 3 months. If the judges consider the appeal to be well founded, they will revoke the Director's contested decision and refer the case to the Director of Luxembourg Inland Revenue.

Finally, taxpayers can file an appeal with the Administrative Court against a decision handed down by the Administrative Tribunal, provided they do so within 40 days of receiving notice of the Administrative Tribunal's decision. For those proceedings, the taxpayer must be represented by a lawyer.

Informal appeals for tax rebates or refunds

Informal appeals should be addressed to the Director of the Luxembourg Inland Revenue if the collection of a tax whose legality is not contested would create an unfair burden, either objectively with regard to the case in question, or subjectively for the taxpayer.

Applications for reconsideration are justified only if the personal situation of the taxpayer is such that the payment of the tax jeopardises their economic existence and deprives them of indispensable means of subsistence, or if the application of the tax law objectively leads to a result contrary to the intention of the law.

Informal appeals are lodged when the legal time limit for filing a claim has expired (i.e., more than 3 months after notice of the tax assessment is given). Requests must be submitted no later than 31 December of the year following that in which the assessment was issued.

The Director of the Luxembourg Inland Revenue has 6 months to respond to the informal appeal.

If during this period the taxpayer receives notice of a decision handed down by the Director of the Luxembourg Inland Revenue with which they are not satisfied, the taxpayer has 3 months to lodge an appeal for review with the Administrative Tribunal. If the Administrative Tribunal believes that the appeal is well founded, its decision will overrule the Director's.

If the Director of the Luxembourg Inland Revenue does not respond within 6 months of the filing of the claim, such failure to respond is to be considered as a negative decision. The taxpayer may then lodge an appeal with the Administrative Tribunal. For those proceedings, the taxpayer need not be represented by a lawyer.

Finally, taxpayers can file an appeal with the Administrative Court against a decision of the Administrative Tribunal, provided they do so within 40 days of receiving notice of the decision handed down by the Administrative Tribunal. For those proceedings, the taxpayer must be represented by a lawyer.

Who to contact

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