The newly published annual report of the Ministry of Finance has detailed the finalisation of the first national assessment of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing in 2018.
The annual report set out the financial highlights of the year 2018 across more than 380 pages. At the ministry level, the report has provided an update on the bills passed in 2018m namely the law transposing the Anti Tax Avoidance directive and the DAC5 Directive, giving tax authorities' access to information in the context of the fight against money laundering.
In the context of the diversification of the financial centre, the transposition of the Payment Services Directive into the Internal Market (PSD2) has opened up the payment services market to new players in the field of fintechs. Similarly, 2018 saw the introduction of a new type of pledge on renewable energies, which encourages the development of green finance in Luxembourg.
With regard to the compliance component of the Ministry's activities, the year 2018 was marked by the finalisation of the first national assessment of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. The report highlighted the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing to which Luxembourg is exposed. In this context, since 2018, the Ministry has also participated in the work of the Committee for the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism.
At the level of the administrations under supervision, the report referred in particular to the activities of the Direct Tax Administration ("Administration des contributions directes"), which recruited in 2018 a hundred new employees with the aim of improving its services to taxpayers and to best respond to its international obligations. Another highlight was the significant decrease in the number of advance rulings requested from the Administration (148 requests in 2019, of which 31 were rejected, compared to 260 in 2017.
With regard to the Administration of Registration, Domains and VAT ("Administration de l'enregistrement des domaines et de la TVA), the year 2018 was characterised by the reorganisation of its organic law, which helped modernise the functioning of the administration. Its role has similarly been strengthened in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, for instance with the creation of a new financial crime service.
Finally, for the Customs and Excise Administration ("Administration des douanes et accises"), the year 2018 was the occasion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the European Customs Union. The annual report also reflected on the efforts made within the administration to make its services more efficient through increased automation of its processes and the development of software allowing better control of goods.