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Company Formation Austria

Updated on Monday 24th June 2024

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The company formation process in Austria is one that involves several steps and starts with choosing a type of legal entity and a name for the future company. Investors are also required to draw up the Articles of Association, make the needed cash contributions to the share capital and enter the company in the Company Register. 

Investors interested in opening a company in Austria can select the complete services offered by our agents at BridgeWest. Our experts specialize in Austrian laws and regulations and can help with the needed steps to form a company.

Types of companies in Austria

Investors interested in company formation in Austria can choose between several different business forms. The characteristics and differences between them should be carefully considered before deciding on a specific business form because there can be significant differences in terms of startup costs, the minimum share capital, incorporation complexity, and the annual reporting and accounting requirements.
BridgeWest provides formation services for the following types of companies in Austria:
  • Limited liability company (GmbH): the limited liability company is the preferred business form in Austria. It is a corporation with legal personality, separate from its founders (thus the shareholders only have limited liability, up to the extent of capital invested in the company). It requires a nominal capital of EUR 10.000 Euro and half (5.000 Euro) must be paid upon registration. Shares may be transferred only by a notarized deed.
  • Joint-stock company (AG): this is similar to the GmbH in the sense that the founders are also only liable to the extent of their capital contribution, however, this business form is suited for large corporations. It requires a minimum share capital of 70,000 € and at least one-quarter of this amount must be paid upon incorporation. The AG has different requirements for management and, in general, it is considered that its formation is more complex than in the case of the GmbH. The shares can be registered ones or bearer shares.
  • European company (SE): the incorporation of an SE is limited to a certain extent in as that it cannot be formed by companies or individuals that do not already own a business based in the same EU or EEA state; one of our offshore company formation agents can help you if you are a foreign investor interested in knowing more about this specific business form.
  • Partnerships: these are the general partnership and the limited partnership. In the general partnership, there are at least two founders who both share unlimited liability and responsibility for the business. There is no need for a minimum share capital and this business form can be used for all types of commercial, professional and other types of activities. The limited partnership has an advantage over the general one: not all of the partners bear unlimited liability, only those who enter into this partnership as general members (and this is only required of one member).
  • Branches: these are extensions of the parent company and the foreign company abroad bears full liability for the actions of its German counterpart. Branches must also be registered with the Austrian Commercial Register.
Both the GmbH and the AG in Austria can be formed by one shareholder and there are no applicable nationality or residence requirements for the founders of a company. The GmbH is to be managed by at least one managing director (who cannot be part of the supervisory board). The AG has more complex management requirements, for example, the supervisory board must have at least three members (and a maximum of 20) and these members cannot take part in the management board and they cannot be company employees.
All companies in Austria must comply with the applicable accounting, filing and auditing requirements.

Austria company incorporation services 

The general company incorporation process for the GmbH, the most popular type of legal entity in Austria, is the following:
- draw up the Articles of Association and appoint the managing directors;
- make the cash contributions to the share capital and open the bank account for this purpose;
- prepare the documents for the Company Register: the application, form, the notarized shareholder’s agreement, director appointment resolution, specimen signatures for the directors, share capital proof of payment.
- once the company is registered, to proceed with the registration for corporate tax as well as value added tax; this is done by applying for a tax identification number.
- social security registration for the purpose of hiring employees in Austria;
- commencement of business operations.

BridgeWest is a company composed of experienced agents in European and offshore company formation matters, providing company incorporation services in Austria. Our services include:

- drafting the articles of association for company incorporation in Austria. The articles of association of an Austrian company and any other proceedings concluded in front of a public notary must be signed through power of attorney;

- drafting all the documents for company incorporation in Austria: specimen signatures, the application form issued by the Company Registration Office in Austria, copies of the identification papers, a notarized declaration of establishment and a confirmation from the bank that the minimum capital share was deposited;

- arranging public notary procedures (the incorporation process will be done with an Austrian public notary);

- setting up bank accounts (the initial share capital account and a current account);

- recommending accountancy services;

- offering a registered office in Austria that will be made public and used as headquarters for the company.

Key Facts about Austria 

The main taxes applicable to companies in Austria include the following:
- the corporate tax of 23%;
- the municipal tax and the real estate transfer tax, stamp duty and customs and excise duties;
- the value-added tax (VAT) which has a rate of 20% and other reduced rates of 13% (for the sale of goods and services involving accommodation, cultural services, sales of wine from the farm, pet food, wood and others) 10% (foodstuffs, pharmaceutical products, residential rent,) and 0% for selected types of goods and services. Professional services (for example law services) are taxed at a 20% VAT rate.

Tax incentives for research and development purpose can be accessed in Austria. Companies involved in these types of activities can claim a subsidy (as a cash tax premium) of 15% of the qualifying R&D expenses.

Company formation in Austria is a process that involves several steps and specialized assistance may be useful especially for foreign investors and first-time investors in the country. BridgeWest offers you ready-made companies and VAT registration in Austria. 

Please contact our specialists in European and offshore company setup matters for more information and prices. Our agents can help you incorporate the desired legal entity in a number of jurisdictions in Europe but also around the world.


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