close
Share with your friends

Austria Country Profile - 2020

Austria Country Profile - 2020

Key tax factors for efficient cross-border business and investment involving Austria.

1000

Related content

business people standing in a modern courtyard

EU Member State

Yes.

Double Tax Treaties

With the following countries, territories and jurisdictions:

Albania Estonia Lithuania Saudi Arabia
Algeria Finland Luxembourg Serbia
Armenia France Malaysia Singapore
Australia Georgia Malta Slovakia
Azerbaijan Germany Mexico Slovenia
Bahrain Greece Montenegro South Africa
Barbados Hong Kong SAR Moldova Spain
Belarus Hungary Mongolia Sweden
Belgium Iceland Morocco Switzerland
Belize India Nepal Taiwan
Bosnia & Herzegovina Indonesia Netherlands Tajikistan
Brazil Iran New Zealand Thailand
Bulgaria Ireland North Macedonia Tunisia
Canada Israel Norway Turkey
Chile Italy Pakistan Turkmenistan
China Japan Philippines UAE
Croatia Kazakhstan Poland UK
Cuba Rep. of Korea  Portugal Ukraine
Cyprus Kosovo Qatar US
Czech rep. Kuwait Romania Uzbekistan
Denmark Kyrgyzstan Russia Venezuela
Egypt Latvia San Marino Vietnam
  Liechtenstein    

Most important forms of doing business

Limited Liability Company (GmbH) and Stock Company (AG).

Legal entity capital requirements

The statutory minimum share capital is EUR 35,000 for a GmbH and EUR 70,000 for an AG. At least 50% of the share capital has to be paid in cash before registration. For a GmbH the share capital can be reduced to EUR 10,000 (EUR 5,000 to be paid in cash). This founding privilege exists for a maximum of ten years from registration of the GmbH in the commercial register.

Residence and tax system

A company is resident if either its legal seat or its place of management is in Austria. Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide income. Non-resident companies are taxed only on their Austrian source income.

Compliance requirements for CIT purposes

Deadline for filing tax return is April 30 (in hardcopy) or June 30 (via internet) of the following tax year; exemptions apply if the return is prepared by a professional tax advisory firm.

Corporate income tax rate

The standard corporate income tax rate is 25 percent.

Withholding tax rates

On dividends paid to non-resident companies

25 percent (exemption for payments to certain EU affiliates)

On interest paid to non-resident companies

0 percent 

As of March 1, 2014, interest and royalties paid to foreign related parties are non-deductible if the income derived from the interest and royalty payments is not taxed in the recipient's state or is subject to a tax rate of less than 10 percent.

On patent royalties and certain copyright royalties paid to non-resident companies

20 percent (exemption for payments to certain EU affiliates).

On fees for technical services

20 percent if work is executed in Austria.

On other payments

No.

Branch withholding taxes

No.

Holding rules

Dividend received from resident/non-resident subsidiaries

Full exemption. For foreign participations: no minimum participation or  minimum holding period is required subject to minimum taxation of distributing company (and exchange of information agreement for non-EEA companies). For domestic participations: no minimum participation or holding required.

Capital gains obtained from resident/non-resident subsidiaries

Capital gains on the disposal of shares in non-resident companies may qualify for a participation exemption (under certain conditions). Option for taxable status available. Domestic capital gains are always taxed at 25 percent.

Tax losses

Losses may be carried forward indefinitely. No carry-back is allowed. Losses carried forward may be lost after a substantial change in the commercial identity (three characteristics are taken into account for evaluating whether the commercial identity has changed substantially: change of ownership in the company's share capital, change of economic structure, change of organizational structure) or after a reorganization. Minimum taxation: 75 percent of the annual income can be sheltered by tax loss carry-forward, whereas 25 percent is subject to an immediate tax liability.

Tax consolidation rules/Group relief rules

Group companies (and, under certain circumstances, non-resident companies) can consolidate their profits and losses.
Losses of non-resident members can be offset against a maximum of 75 percent of the profits of resident members (from 2015 onwards), profits of non-resident group members are not consolidated. Applies only to group members from EU Member States and to companies from countries with which Austria has entered into full administrative assistance agreements.

Registration duties

Insignificant.

Transfer duties

On the transfer of shares

None

On the transfer of land and buildings

Real estate transfer tax is triggered when (i) real estate is directly transferred or (ii) at least 95 percent of the company shares are transferred to one shareholder or a group of companies subject to group taxation.

Rate: 3.5 percent of the consideration if real estate is directly transferred; if there is a transfer of 95 percent to one shareholder or a group of companies, the tax base is formed by the real estate value (usually below the fair market value) and a reduced tax rate of 0.5 percent applies. Special provisions apply to transfers of interest in partnerships.

Stamp duties

Yes, the rate depends on the type of contract.

Real estate taxes

Yes, real estate transfer tax of 3.5 percent plus 1.1 percent land registry fee of the consideration and real estate tax of a max of 1 percent on the assessed value (varies between municipalities) .

Controlled Foreign Company rules

Due to the ATAD, Austria had to introduce Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules. As of tax year 2019/2020 (financial years beginning after December 31, 2018), the CFC rules will apply when

  • a Austrian company either holds a direct or indirect participation of more than 50 percent of the capital or voting rights, or a share in profit of more than 50 percent in a foreign entity or PE and
  • the income of the CFC consists of more than 1/3 of passive income and
  • the effective tax burden of the CFC does not exceed 12.5 percent (foreign tax is compared to CIT that would have been due if it were subject to Austrian tax law).

Exceptions apply for:

  • Entities with substantive economic activity.
  • Entities with less than one third passive income.
  • Financial undertakings with less than one third passive income from related parties.

Other provisions imposing restrictions on subsidiaries in low tax countries may be applicable.

General anti-abuse legislation

Based on Supreme Court rulings, the general anti-abuse provision may also be applied to low-tax foreign subsidiaries. In that case, the profits earned by the foreign subsidiary are attributed to the domestic parent.

Transfer pricing rules

General transfer pricing rules

As of January 1, 2016 new transfer pricing rules apply in Austria. The rules have been laid down in legally binding legislation - the Verrechnungspreisdokumentationsgesetz (VPDG). By way of the VPDG, Austria transposed Council Directive (EU) 2016/881 and BEPS Action 13 into national law.

CbCR: Applies to MNEs with annual consolidated group revenue equal to or exceeding EUR 750,000,000 in the preceding year. Regulations extend to subsidiary entities.

Master File and Local File: under the new legislation, an Austrian entity falls under the Master File and Local File documentation requirement if it had a turnover exceeding EUR 50,000,000 in each of the two preceding years. For entities not exceeding this threshold, the documentation rules would remain unchanged, i.e., these entities would have to prepare transfer pricing documentation based on the administrative guidelines which were issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance in 2010 and refer to the OECD Guidelines, the  OECD approach and various court decisions. Although not legally binding, they serve as a guideline for tax audits.

Documentation requirement

Country-by-Country Report, Master File and Local File according to the VPDG (see above).

The non-binding transfer pricing guidelines also include detailed documentation requirements. An implicit obligation relating to detailed documentation on transfer prices is also derived from general provisions of the Federal Fiscal Code.

Thin capitalization rules

No specific thin capitalization legislation. According to administrative practice and court rulings, a debt-to-equity ratio of between 3:1 and 4:1 is recommended.

General Anti-Avoidance rules (GAAR)

A general anti-avoidance rule is included in the Federal Fiscal Code implementing a 'substance over form' principle. Amendments have been introduced regarding wording of the definition of "abuse" to be fully compliant with article 6 of ATAD (see new para 2 in section 22 "Bundesabgabenordnung"). The wording combines the main aspects of article 6 of ATAD with the main characteristics of the Austrian GAAR as it is interpreted by the Administrative Court and tax authorities.

Specific Anti-Avoidance rules / Anti Treaty Shopping Provisions / Anti-Hybrid rules

Qualifying Participations (at least 5 percent of the equity of the subsidiary)

Dividends are not tax-exempt (shift from exemption to credit method), if the foreign corporation derives mainly passive income and the effective corporate tax rate is less than 12,5 percent. CFC rules take precedence.

Deductible dividends of foreign subsidiaries

If dividends of a foreign subsidiary can be deducted at the level of the subsidiary, they are not tax-exempt at the level of the receiving parent.

Restrictions on the deductibility of interest and royalties

Interest and royalties paid to foreign related parties are not deductible if the income derived from the interest and royalties is not taxed in the recipient`s state or is subject to a tax rate of less than 10 percent.

Hybrid arrangements

For hybrid arrangements, provisions from the Directive ATAD 2 were transposed to provide measures against hybrid arrangements which results in a double deduction of expenses or a deduction of expenses without taxation of the corresponding income. 

 

Advance Ruling system

Yes, but limited to certain issues (international tax law, reorganization tax matters, tax groups, VAT and the existence of tax abuse).

IP / R&D incentives

R&D tax credit of 14 percent of the qualifying costs incurred for R&D. For economic years starting before January 1, 2018, the R&D tax credit amounts to 12 percent. Special transitional regulation apply in case the financial year differs from the calendar year.

Other incentives

No.

VAT

The standard rate is 20 percent and the reduced rates are 13 and 10 percent.

Other relevant points of attention

No.

 

Source: Austrian tax law and local tax administration guidelines, updated 2020.

Mandatory Disclosure Rules Updates

For country specific information and updates on the EU Mandatory Disclosure Rules please visit KPMG’s EU Tax Centre’s MDR Updates page.

COVID-19 Resources

An overview of tax developments being reported globally by KPMG member firms in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is available here. For further insight into the potential tax, legal and mobility implications of COVID-19, please refer to the dedicated KPMG page.

Contact us

Ulf Zehetner

KPMG in Austria

T: +43 1 31332 414

E: UZehetner@kpmg.at

 

Christoph Plott

KPMG in Austria

T: +43 1 31332 697

E: CPlott@kpmg.at

 

Michael Petritz

KPMG in Austria

T: +43 1 31332 3304

E: MPetritz@kpmg.at

Connect with us

 

Want to do business with KPMG?

 

loading image Request for proposal