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Registering an unregulated business (companies)

General Information

A business governed by the Gewerbeordnung can be performed independently, regularly and to obtain a profit 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 on registering a sole proprietorship can be found under Start-up roadmap - sole proprietorships.

Legal entities and registered partnerships must appoint a professional representative and notify the competent business authority in the place where the business is located.

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

Enterprises Affected

Any company intending to carry on an unregulated business.

Requirements

For the legal entity (limited company, association etc.) or the registered partnership:

  • registration in the companies register or the Central Register of Associations;
  • no grounds for disqualification (e.g. a financial offence, court judgment) of persons with a significant influence;
  • a dispensation may be granted in some circumstances.

For the professional representative:

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).

Deadlines

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 – with or without a printed form – or electronically.

The following details must be provided when registering without a form:

  • precise name of the business
  • precise location where the business will be carried on
  • precise details of the person registering the business:
    • precise company name and companies register number or name of association and Central Register of Associations number, business address
  • 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 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 registrantis 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.

This will be sent to you by post.

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

Required documents

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, companies register entry, entry in the register of associations.

For the legal entity (limited company, association etc.) or the registered partnership:

  • companies register entry or entry in the register of associations (no more than six months old)
  • statement concerning grounds for disqualification of legal entities under section 13 of the Gewerbeordnung 1994
  • statement concerning grounds for disqualification of natural persons, for any natural person appointed to represent the company externally and any majority shareholder under section 13 of the Gewerbeordnung 1994

For the professional representative: also

  • birth certificate and certificate of nationality or passport
    residence permit for nationals of states outside the EU/EEA (except Swiss nationals)
  • confirmation of the registration
  • any academic degree certificates
  • if you have changed your name: marriage certificate or notice of a change of name
  • if you live abroad or have lived in Austria for less than five years: 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 Gewerbeordnung 1994
  • if the professional representative is not appointed to represent the business externally:
    • statement for professional representatives under section 39 of the Gewerbeordnung 1994
    • statement for the registrant of a business or applicant for a licence under section 39 of the Gewerbeordnung 1994
    • confirmation of the social insurance provider for an employee (for regulated businesses: a person who works for at least half of the normal weekly working hours)
    • employer account number

Costs and fees

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

Further information

If you start a business governed by the Gewerbeordnung you must join the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (→ WKO)German text and take out insurance under the Gewerbliches Sozialversicherungsgesetz (GSVG). You must notify the Social Insurance Institution for the Self-Employed (→ SVS)German text.

Legal bases

Sections 13, 39, 339, 340 and following of the Gewerbeordnung 1994 (GewO 1994)

Expert Information

No expert information is available.

Link to form

Online process:

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 18 January 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs

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