Luxembourg's Strategic Extension of the VAT Reverse Charge Mechanism

Another step in the battle to combat VAT fraud

28. November

As Luxembourg navigates the complexities of tax regulation, a notable development has emerged set to take effect on January 1, 2024. In a decisive move to combat Value Added Tax (VAT) fraud and adhere to international tax standards, Luxembourg is extending the VAT reverse charge mechanism to particular categories of goods. This initiative is in line with the provisions of Article 199a of the EU VAT Directive, which offers member states the latitude to implement the reverse charge mechanism on transactions prone to VAT evasion.

The proposed law envisages that the reverse charge will apply to the following goods:


  1. Mobile Telephones: The obligation to account for VAT will transfer to the buyer unless the transaction is under EUR 10,000, in which case the seller remains liable.

  2. Integrated Circuit Devices: Devices such as microprocessors and CPUs, prior to end-user product integration, will also adhere to this mechanism, with the same financial threshold.

  3. Electronic Devices: The list extends to game consoles, tablet PCs, and laptops, embracing the EUR 10,000 limit for VAT liability transfer.

  4. Raw and Semi-finished Metals: This includes precious metals not already under a special VAT scheme, with the reverse charge mechanism kicking in above the EUR 10,000 threshold.


Under this mechanism, suppliers will not charge VAT at the point of sale for these specified goods; instead, the onus of VAT payment will rest with the recipient, who will account for it in their VAT return. This extension builds on Luxembourg's current application of the reverse charge to emissions trading, as well as gas and electricity supplies.

Although currently in draft form and pending approval, the legislation is expected to pass, remaining effective until December 31, 2026, in accordance with the VAT Directive timelines.


Higher VAT rates

Additionally, in an effort to alleviate inflationary pressures, Luxembourg has initiated a temporary 1% reduction in VAT rates, effective from January to December 2023. This reduction brings the standard VAT rate to 16%, the intermediate rate to 13%, and the lower rate to 7%, while the super-reduced rate of 3% remains unaltered.

In this interim period, consumers can enjoy slight relief in the cost of essentials such as food, medicine, literature, children's apparel, dining, and transportation services. The adjusted rates are a testament to Luxembourg's responsive fiscal strategies, aiming to balance economic stability with tax compliance and fraud prevention measures.

This article offers a comprehensive overview of Luxembourg's evolving VAT landscape, providing stakeholders with critical insights into the forthcoming changes and their implications. Businesses and consumers alike should stay informed of these developments to navigate the tax implications successfully.