Accountant

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In order to operate as a accountant, business managers must have a business permit.

The business permit is granted to the business (either the business manager operating under his own name, or the company he runs) provided that:

  • the business manager meets the legal requirements in terms of qualification and professional integrity;
  • the business has a fixed physical establishment in Luxembourg (no so-called 'letterbox companies').

The fulfillment of the conditions for access to the profession is checked by the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises at the time the business permit application is submitted.

Depending on the legal form chosen, the applicant must proceed with different registrations/affiliations before starting their activity.

Accountants who are legally established abroad (in the Swiss confederation or a country of the European Economic Area) may provide occasional and/or temporary services in Luxembourg without a business permit.

Who is concerned?

The activities of accountants include:

  • setting up accounting services on behalf of third parties;
  • accounting advice;
  • opening, keeping, centralising and closing accounts with regard to the preparation of the financial statements;
  • drawing up the income statement and the annual financial statements in the format required by law;

Accountants cannot provide services that are reserved for chartered accountants. They must therefore be limited to bookkeeping activities, the preparation of balance sheets and tax returns of legal entities and private individuals. Accountants must carry out their activities within the following limits during 2 consecutive financial years:

  • balance sheet total: EUR 2.305 million;
  • net turnover: EUR 4.610 million;

Salaried workers or civil servants do not need a business permit to work as accountants for their employer or their administration.

Prerequisites

In order to justify the qualifications required to work as an accountant, applicants must have:

  • a technical secondary school graduation diploma (diplôme de fin d’études secondaires techniques ou de technicien) in the administrative and commercial division or equivalent;
  • a 3-year practical professional experience in the industry after having obtained the diploma, at least one year of which was spent with an accountant, chartered accountant or auditor legally established in Luxembourg;

Accountants do not need to provide a certificate of successful completion of the professional competence test at the end of the complementary training. The Grand-Ducal regulation to organise this training has not been adopted.

Preliminary steps

Entry into the register of certificates

In order to to be able to decide on professional qualifications, the Minister of the Economy may require the applicant to have their diplomas entered in the register of certificates.

Graduates are therefore requested to check with the competent authorities in the country in which they received their academic qualification if there are any additional conditions that may apply to entering the profession.

Specificities of BENELUX university diplomas

These diplomas are recognised automatically (in terms of their registration in the register of certificates) in all 3 BENELUX countries, provided that they have been issued by an establishment that is recognised in the country in which the diploma was obtained.

These diplomas therefore do not need to be recorded in the register of certificates in Luxembourg.

However, automatic recognition is limited to the following degrees:

  • for the Flemish community of Belgium: the 'graad van bachelor' and the 'graad van master';
  • for the francophone community of Belgium: the 'grade académique de bachelier' and the 'grade académique de master';
  • for the germanophone community of Belgium: the 'Diplom Master' and, if applicable, a master's degree from the germanophone community of Belgium;
  • for the Netherlands: the 'getuigschrift bachelor' and the 'getuigschrift master'.

In the absence of such a diploma the applicant needs to request a confirmation that their diploma is officially recognised in the BENELUX country where it was awarded.

Costs

The stamp duty for the issue of a business permit amounts to EUR 50.

If the establishment is moving to another address, the applicant must notify this, free of charge, to the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. In this case, the applicant will receive a new business permit free of charge.  

How to proceed

Filing an application

The applicant can submit their application for a business permit in 2 ways:

  • by applying in person for a business permit online via MyGuichet.lu, using a Luxtrust product.
    The system determines which supporting documents need to be attached to the application depending on the information entered by the applicant;
  • by sending the business permit application by post or email to the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.

Anyone can get help with their business permit application by:

Supporting documents

Documentary proof of qualification

The applicant must also submit:

  • a copy of their technical secondary school graduation diploma or documentary proof of equivalent certificates;
  • a copy of the ministerial order of registration in the register of certificates, if requested;
  • a copy of the certificate of successful completion of the training course to access the profession of accountant (not yet mandatory);
  • a certificate (EC certificate of experience or equivalent) delivered by the competent authority or body of the country of origin (generally a professional association) in case of prior professional activity in another EU Member State;
  • a certificate of affiliation with the Joint Social Security Centre, in case of professional practice in Luxembourg.

Documents attesting to professional integrity

If the applicant has been residing in Luxembourg for more than 10 years, they must demonstrate their professional integrity by:

If the applicant is a non-resident or has been a resident in Luxembourg for less than 10 years, they must demonstrate their professional integrity by providing:

  • a declaration of honour concerning any management positions held in businesses during the 3 years prior to the application;
  • a declaration of non-bankruptcy made before a notary;
  • an extract from the criminal record no. 3 or equivalent issued by the country or countries in which the applicant has resided during the 10 years prior to the application;
  • an extract from the Luxembourg criminal record (record no 3) if the person is already working as a salaried worker or carrying out a self-employed activity in Luxembourg.

This sworn declaration must state that the applicant has not been involved in the bankruptcy of a business in his own name nor in the bankruptcy of a company.

Failing this, an affidavit (sworn statement) must be provided.

All attached documents must be less than 3 months old.

Other documents to be submitted with the application

The applicant must also attach the following documents to the application:

  • for citizens of Luxembourg, the European Union, or the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland): a copy of their ID card or passport;
  • for third-country nationals: a written confirmation from the Minister responsible for Immigration that the applicant meets all the conditions for obtaining the residence permit applied for;
  • proof of payment of stamp duty (droit de chancellerie), in the form of:
    • either a tax stamp, value EUR 50, purchased at the Registration Duties, Estates and VAT Authority (AED) ;
    • or the proof of payment of EUR 50 into the IBAN account LU76 0019 5955 4404 7000, BIC code: BCEELULL of the Diekirch Revenue Office, with the following communication: 'autorisation de commerce'.

In the event of an online application for a business permit via MyGuichet (with a Luxtrust product), the system will automatically generate the list of supporting documents to be attached to the application, which may vary depending on the data entered by the applicant.

Please note that for applications submitted in the context of a business set up in the form of an SARL-S, the applicant must forward the draft constitutional documents of the SARL-S to the Ministry of the Economy.  

Application processing time

Applications will usually be processed within 3 months from the receipt of the complete application. The absence of a response before the end of the 3-month period is equivalent to a tacit authorisation.

Appeal

A negative decision regarding an application for a business permit is an administrative decision against which the usual means of appeal (non-contentious appeal, judicial appeal) can be used, provided the legal deadlines are complied with.

It is also possible to turn to the Ombudsman.

Registrations/affiliations depending on the legal form of the company

Sole proprietorship

After obtaining a business permit, the head of a sole proprietorship must:

Partnerships (SCS, SENC)

After obtaining a business permit, the manager(s) of a partnership (SCS, SENC) must:

Capital companies (SA, SARL, SCA, SE)

After obtaining a business permit, the director(s) of a capital company (SA, SARL, SCA, SE) must:

Simplified limited liability company(SARL-S)

After obtaining a non-definitive copy of the establishment permit, the manager(s) of a simplified limited liability company (SARL-S) must:

It should be noted that managers of an SARL-S do not need to incorporate their company before a notary. A private deed will suffice.

Temporary service provision in Luxembourg

Accountants legally established abroad (in the Swiss confederation or in a country of the European Economic Area) may freely offer their services in Luxembourg. There is no need for a business permit or a specific notification to the Ministry of the Economy.

However, when active in Luxembourg, the service provider is subject to the national rules of professional, regulatory or administrative conduct directly related to their professional qualifications. The service provider is also subject to the disciplinary provisions that apply to Luxembourg professionals.

If the accountant, as a liberal profession:

Obligations of all professionals

Each professional must comply with the following throughout their existence:

  • all requirements with respect to obtaining a business permit;
  • all laws and regulations with respect to business management.

Sanctions

Professionals without a business permit run the risk of criminal sanctions (imprisonment and fines) and the temporary closure of the establishment.

Online services and forms

Who to contact

General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Department for Authorisations of Establishment)

  • Ministry of the Economy General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Department for Authorisations of Establishment)
    Luxembourg
    PO box 535 / L-2937 Luxembourg
    The telephone helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 9.00 to 12.00 and 13.30 to 16.30 (not on public holidays).

Luxembourg Association of Accounting and Tax Consultants

  • Luxembourg Association of Accounting and Tax Consultants
    18, Avenue Marie-Thérèse L-2014 Luxembourg Luxembourg
    B.P. 477 / L-2014

Related procedures and links

Procedures

Application for and modification of a business permit Professional integrity EC certificate of experience - professional experience gained abroad Occasional and temporary provision and notification of services in Luxembourg Extract from the criminal record of a natural person

Links

Legal references

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