Austria is generally regarded as a prosperous and sophisticated business centre, and a traditional trading bridge to Eastern Europe and the Balkans being at the heart of the Eurozone. Austria actively welcomes foreign investors and makes available plenty of office and industrial spaces, both for short and long term let. However, there are important procedural issues to be complied with (please see below). Austria further strictly regulates the professional requirements for businesses incorporations (Gewerberecht).

What is the most common type of company in Austria?

Private companies with limited liability (GmbH) is the most usual form of legal entity. Shareholders are not personally responsible for the liabilities of the company, except for the obligation to pay up their capital contributions and in cases of unlawful redemption of equity.

The minimum required capital is €35,000, of which €17,500 have to be fully paid in upon formation; for a period of 10 years it is possible to use a so-called foundation privilege (Grundungsprivilegierung), whereas only €10,000 are subscribed at first and at least €5,000 must be paid in.

Main requirements for a GmbH

The minimum required capital is €35,000, of which €17,500 have to be fully paid in upon formation; for a period of 10 years it is possible to use a so-called foundation privilege (Grundungsprivilegierung), whereas only €10,000 are subscribed at first and at least €5,000 must be paid in.

  • at least one shareholder required

  • at least one managing director, who does not have to be an Austrian citizen 

Regulatory environment

As Euro participant, Austria as a liberal regulation framework and fosters free movement of both capital and earnings. It has dual taxation agreements with a number of other countries, in particular all members of the European Union, the USA, Canada and Russia. No industries are closed to foreign investment, although in strategic areas an Austrian solution is sometimes preferred. Corporate taxation is relatively low at 25%. 

 

Government incentives:

Austria’s liberal transformation is mostly oriented to foreign investments attractiveness and new technologies promotion, offering strategic incentives for this purpose:

  • investment allowance regarding all purchases for depreciable business properties or software purchases

  • investment incentives regarding general project costs

  • pre-market development

  • research premium for expenditures relating to in-house R&D as well as contract researcher

  • industrial research-incentives for eligible costs dependent on research category and size of the company

Filing requirements:

Filing of annual financial statements is required for all Austrian companies, with the size of the company determining the level of detail required in these statements. Company turnover, assets and the number of employees together determine whether a company is ‘Small’, ‘Medium’ or ‘Large’; a statutory is required for medium or large companies. Annual returns are mandatory for all companies.

Please contact us and we will be pleased to discuss matters in greater detail.