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Forms of company

Up-to-date information on forms of company

German text alteredtranslation in progress

Information for newcomers

If several people wish to run a business together, they usually start a company. The most suitable form of company in a specific case depends on many factors, such as the size and capital requirements of the business, the planned form of shareholder participation (active involvement or simply providing capital), the intended type of liability (limited or unlimited) and tax considerations.

Caution

In general, these rules also apply to entrepreneurs from EU Member States in Austria.

Shareholders may be subject to compulsory insurance under the Allgemeines Sozialversicherungsgesetz (ASVG), the Gewerbliches Sozialversicherungsgesetz (GSVG) , the Sozialversicherungsgesetz der freiberuflich selbstständig Erwerbstätigen (FSVG) or the Bauern-Sozialversicherungsgesetz (BSVG).

All natural persons pay income tax, whereas legal entities pay corporation tax on their income. Most partnerships are taxed according to the principle of transparency, in other words the direct attribution of profits or losses to shareholders. However, the principle of separation, which attributes profits and losses to the company, is applied to corporations. Only the distributed profits are attributed to the shareholders. Unlike income tax, corporation tax is not progressive, but is levied at a flat rate of 25 percent. However, it is calculated on the income determined according to income tax rules, which attribute all of the income of corporations to income from industrial or commercial activity. Corporations with unlimited tax liability are taxed at a minimum rate of five percent of the statutory minimum share capital or capital contribution every full calendar quarter; new private limited companies are subject to a reduced minimum tax rate for the first ten years.

Please note

Income from activity as the agent of a body ( e.g. director of a private limited company) and from very individual services must be attributed to the natural persons providing the service, if it is charged to a body under their influence which has no independent business operations separate from this activity. Very individual services are those provided by artists, writers, scientists, sportspersons and public speakers.

Further links

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
last update: 1 January 2021
responsible for content:
  • Federal Ministry of Finance
  • Federal Ministry of Justice

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