Tax consulting: An imposed habit

By Misch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

Why is the tax return so complicated that many taxpayers in Luxembourg have to rely on private assistance to claim their refunds? The Journal talked to the people who fill out the "Form 100" for others and asked them: Should your job actually be necessary?

Anita Rola has filled out exactly 5,867 tax returns so far this year. All the tax forms submitted to the OGBL by union members, who need help with the annual tax ritual, end up on her desk. "One form takes me about ten minutes, but I've been doing it since 1992", she explains with a laugh. Add to that about 1,200 taken by one of her colleagues in the north of the country: Every year, the union fills out about 8,000 tax returns for its members this way. And every year there are more.

The tax return is a challenge for most inhabitants of the Grand Duchy – which is usually promptly passed on to a tax consultant, an asset management company or the most competent acquaintance. Because the "Form 100", as the document is officially called, could just as well be written in hieroglyphics, even for most native speakers. Nevertheless, the document must be filled out annually to the best of one's knowledge. Guides such as the Guide des Impôts can run to over 100 pages. "Better to consult an expert", is a common reaction to save time and nerves. Any costs incurred are grudgingly accepted. Not least, because they are often worth it on the bottom line. Nevertheless, this step – and the initial costs often associated with it – is not a matter of course for everyone.

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