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Registering an unregulated business (sole proprietorship)

General Information

Please note

The Business Service Portal has provided an electronic start-up facility since 31 July 2017.

A business governed by the Gewerbeordnung (GewO) can be performed independently, regularly and to obtain an income or economic advantage, if it has been registered with the competent business authority in the place where it is located.

Sole proprietors, legal entities (corporations, associations etc.) and registered partnerships require a licence to trade to carry on a business.

Information about registering legal entities and registered partnerships can be found in the section "Start-up roadmap - companies.

Unregulated businesses must also appoint a professional representative the sole proprietor is not resident in Austria. EEA nationals or Swiss nationals who are resident in a state of the EEA or in Switzerland are not required to appoint a professional representative.

Information for sole proprietors registering a regulated businesses can be found in the relevant chapter.

USP.gv.at also provides detailed information about registering a business in English.

Enterprises Affected

Any sole proprietorship intending to carry on an unregulated business.

Requirements

For the sole proprietor:

  • legal capacity: 18 years and over;
  • no grounds for disqualification from trading (e.g. a financial offence, court judgment)
    A dispensation may be granted in some circumstances.

For the professional representative:

  • nationality:
  • residence in Austria, a state in the EEA or Switzerland
  • legal capacity: 18 years and over;
  • no grounds for disqualification from trading (e.g.A dispensation may be granted in some circumstances a financial offence, court judgment)

Caution

In some cases a business requires a plant operating licence (particularly if the plant could be a source of hazards or nuisance or other harmful effects).

Deadline

There are no specific deadlines.

Competent Authority

The competent business authority in the place where the business is located:

Procedure

The business must be registered with the business authority. This can be done in person or in writing – on a printed form – or electronically during e-start-up on the Business Service Portal.

The following details must be provided:

  • precise name of the business;
  • precise location where the business will be carried on;
  • precise details of the person registering the business:
    • forename and surname, address, date and place of birth, nationality, social insurance number;
  • when appointing a professional representative at the same time:
    • forename and surname, address, date and place of birth and nationality of the professional representative;
    • if the professional representative is an employee:
      • social insurance number;
      • employer account number.

Tip

Your competent economic chamber (→ WKO)German text will help you to register your business free of charge.

The business registration takes effect immediately if all the conditions have been met and all the required documents are attached to the application. The business can trade from the date of registration.

Entry in the Austrian Business Licence Information System (GISA)

Once the conditions have been met, the registrant is entered in GISA within three months of the date on which registration takes effect (i.e. when the authority has received all of the documents).

If all of the conditions have not yet been met or all of the documents received when the business is registered, and if an application for a disqualification dispensation is submitted on or before the date of registration, the authority must take a decision issued within the three-month period into account.

Example

A dispensation legally granted to the registrant after registration can be taken into account by the business authority if it was requested on or before the date of registration.

The date of legal registration of the business is the date on which the business authority has received all of the required documentation, and any dispensation has been legally granted.

The authority will send you a copy of the entry in GISA by post.

If the conditions for running a business have not be met, the business authority will refuse your request.

Documents Required

Identity documents do not have to be submitted for anyone already registered in GISA. If the authority can search registers for the data required, the following documents need not be submitted: birth certificate and certificate of nationality or passport, confirmation of the registration.

For the sole proprietor:

If appointing a professional representative: also

  • birth certificate and certificate of citizenship or passport of the registrant;
  • residence permit  for nationals of states outside the EU/EEA
  • (except for Swiss nationals);
  • confirmation of the registration;
  • any academic degree certificates;
  • if you have changed your name: also
  • if you live abroad or have lived in Austria for less than five years: also
    • criminal record certificate from the country of origin (no more than three months old);
  • if the professional representative is appointed to represent the business externally: statement concerning grounds for disqualification of natural persons under section 13 of the GewO 1994;
  • if the professional representative is not appointed to represent the business externally:
    • statement for professional representatives under section 39 of the GewO 1994;
    • statement for the registrant of a business or applicant for a licence under section 39 of the GewO 1994;
    • confirmation of the social insurance provider for an employee;
    • employer account number.

Expenses

There are no stamp duties or administrative fees to be paid (see section 333a of the GewO 1994).

Additional Information

If you start a business governed by the Gewerbeordnung (GewO) you must join the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (→ WKO)German text and take out insurance under the Trade Social Insurance Act. You can register your activity with the the Social Insurance Institution for the Self-Employed (→ SVS)German text during
e-start-up on the Business Service Portal.

Tip

Further information about notifying the Social Insurance Institution for the Self-Employed of entrepreneurial activityGerman text can also be found at USP.gv.at.

Legal Basis

Expert Information

No expert information is available.

To Form

Online procedure

Translated by the European Commission
last update: 18 January 2021

responsible for content: Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs

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