Start-up roadmap - sole proprietorship
Up-to-date information about the foundation of a sole proprietorship, business registration, commercial register, eports to the revenue office, registration of employees ect.
The Business Service Portal has provided an electronic start-up facility since 31 July 2017.
The principle of free movement permits citizens of the EU-/ EEA and Switzerland to reside in any EU-country and establish a business there.
Information for newcomers
Sole proprietors can be defined as follows:
- they are natural persons (rather than legal entities such as private limited companies or public limited companies)
- they are solely responsible for raising capital;
- they bear the full risk of any losses; and
- they are personally liable with their private assets.
Before starting a business, it is advisable to contact the start-up advisory service of the economic chambers.
If you are starting a sole proprietorship you should bear the following in mind:
- The Business Service Portal launched on 31 July 2017 allows you to set up your sole proprietorship quickly and easily online. It offers a one-stop-shop where you can register your business, notify the tax office and social insurance institution and complete other official steps in the process. You can find out more about using e-start-up for your sole proprietorship at USP.gv.at.
- The Austrian Commercial Code defines an entrepreneur as follows: An entrepreneur is a person who runs a business – in other words a permanent organisation engaged in independent economic activity, which does not necessarily pursue financial gain.
- Natural persons who run a business can register it in the companies register at any time. However, they are not required to do so unless the business is obliged to prepare financial statements, because it exceeds certain thresholds, namely:
- a turnover of more than 700,000 Euro in two consecutive financial years;
- a turnover of more than 1,000,000 Euro in a single financial year.
- Once a business has been registered in the companies register, its company name (the name under which it conducts all of its operations) must include the legal form indicator eingetragene Unternehmerin / eingetragener Unternehmer / e.U. (registered entrepreneur).
- You obtain a licence to trade by registering your business with the competent business authority.
Businesses can usually begin to trade from the date on which they are registered with the business authority. However, section 95 businesses and chimney sweeping businesses cannot start trading until the decision granting the licence takes effect. The competent authority must issue the decision within three months.
Other steps you must take to start a business are:
- notifying the tax office (this can be done during e-start-up on USP.gv.at)
- notifying the social insurance institution (this can be done during e-start-up on USP.gv.at)
- registering employees
A business insurance policy (e.g. property, pecuniary loss or personal insurance) is recommended to guard against possible risks. Further information can be found in the Guide for Business Start-ups published by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.
Information about professional activities can be found on the website of the relevant chamber or the relevant professional body.
- Austrian Federal Economic Chamber start-up advisory service (→ Gründerservice WKO)German text
- Guide for business start-ups (→ Gründerservice WKO)German text
- → Your Europe Business (EU) (information about the corresponding rules in other EU Member States)
- Start-ups (→ Your Europe)
- Online guide IT-Sicherheit für Ein-Personen-Unternehmen (IKT-security portal)German text (gives tips for quick and easy ways to increase IT security).
- Unternehmensgesetzbuch (UGB)
Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy