The requirements for persons from other EU countries wishing to establish companies in Austria are practically the same as those for Austrian citizens.
The key laws for establishing companies in Austria are:
The New Companies (Special Assistance) Act (NeuFöG) is intended to help reduce the costs associated with establishing and acquiring businesses.
Austrian companies may have the following legal forms:
Many of the requirements and procedures for opening a secondary establishment are the same as for starting up a business.
The following administrative steps should be taken into account when establishing a company in Austria:
A legal form must be selected:
The business must be registered with the relevant business authority (district authorities or magistrate).
The business must be entered in the commercial register.
The business must be registered with the social security authority for industry within the first four weeks after the commencement of business activities.
The type of business activities to be engaged in must be registered with the fiscal authorities and a tax ID number must be applied for within the first four weeks after the commencement of business activities.
If an additional branch is opened, this must be reported to the respective business authority. The business licence must be issued in Austria. The opening of a new branch must be reported before the commencement of business activities.
EU citizens wishing to carry out business activities in Austria must have their qualifications recognised. Further information is given below:
Austrian nationals wishing to establish a company abroad can apply for EEA certificates:
Many of the requirements for opening a branch are the same as for setting up a new business.
Services Directive: Point of single contact
The Services Directive is European legislation intended to provide significant relief for companies wishing to provide domestic or cross-border services within the European Union. The Directive establishes the regulations for business operators that wish to establish a business or perform temporary cross-border services in the EU/EEA area (i.e. the 27 EU member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). It requires all member states to eliminate all unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles for businesses and to simplify the formalities involving them. It also causes public authorities to be more efficient.
To implement the Directive, each member state must designate a “Point of Single Contact“ (PSC) and set up an e-government portal that can help businesses complete all the administrative formalities online. The PSCs provide substantial information on all administrative conditions associated with the founding or expansion of a service company in a given country. The following questions, may, for example, arise:
- What licences, documents or permits do I need to set up an company (in my own country or abroad)?
- What do I have to do if I wish to temporarily provide my services in other countries?
- What must I do to apply for a licence? Which is the responsible authority?
- Are the licences subject to fees? What deadlines have to be observed?
- What laws and decrees apply to my sector?
- What must I do to open, for example, a restaurant or a shop? Or can a tour operator function in another country without having to found a business there?
- Who can provide me with individual advice and further information?
Thanks to the PSC, you no longer have to worry about contacting several different authorities one by one! The PSC enables you to find all relevant Information and to submit online applications through this service to the responsible authorities. And you can complete your administrative formalities electronically by means of the PSC. For this purpose, you approach the PSC in the country in which you will exercise your business activities.
All PSCs belong to the European EUGO network and are readily accessible by means of a central website. Of course the PSC activities are only to be understood as offered service. You will always have the opportunity of approaching the responsible authorities directly.
The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Organisational Development at the University of Linz provides comprehensive information about establishing businesses.
The Federal Ministry of Economy and Labour provides information about establishing businesses.
Legal information about setting up businesses for people living and working in Austria is available from the Austrian Business Service Portal USP.
Austria Wirtschaftsservice (AWS) is a governmental body for financing and promoting companies. It offers numerous subsidies to start-up businesses.