POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Ironing out fiscal kinks in teleworking project



Étienne Schneider, the minister for the economy, pictured in this archive picture, is in talks about sharing the fiscal revenues of cross-border employees who work from home Christophe Olinger

Étienne Schneider, the minister for the economy, pictured in this archive picture, is in talks about sharing the fiscal revenues of cross-border employees who work from home Christophe Olinger

Luxembourg hopes to create a tax-sharing scheme for cross-border commuters who work from home as part of a wider goal to reduce congestion on the country’s already saturated roads.

Teleworking, as the practice is known, enables staff to carry out their work duties from a station other than their normal office space, be it at home or a satellite office.

According to Paperjam, Luxembourg economy minister Étienne Schneider wants to encourage the practice in Luxembourg, however, workers are constrained by the fiscal regimes of Greater Region countries they live in.

In most cases, they are limited by the number of days per year which they are permitted to work outside of Luxembourg. If they exceed the threshold, they face further taxation.

In a bid to get Greater Region countries on board, minister Schneider has begun and wishes to continue discussions with the countries concerned about sharing revenues from income tax, Paperjam reported.

“Thanks to new technologies, more and more people will be able to do their work from home,” explained Schneider on the sidelines of Thursday’s conference-debate on the Third Industrial Revolution. If all cross-border workers worked from home one day a week, traffic would be reduced by 20%, he calculated.

While a strategy of sharing revenues would mean less money in the tax pot, Schneider said it was worth in order to bring other benefits such as improving the quality of life of cross-border workers, reducing carbon emissions and reducing the investment required on infrastructure.

Schneider was realistic saying a solution would not be found before the October 2018 legislative elections. However, he has already met with officials from Saarland and the German federal government and will soon hold discussions with counterparts in Belgium and France.

A 2015 survey found that 6.1% of people polled in Luxembourg had done teleworking. A number of firms in Luxembourg, including Société Générale Bank & Trust, have introduced teleworking schemes for staff as Delano reported in its summer 2017 edition. Meanwhile, the Luxembourg City introduced a work from home option among some departments in 2014 and since autumn 2017, some civil servants working for the government were also given the option to telework.