New self-employed and traders perform their activities within the framework of work contracts.

However, new self-employed do not need a Business license. A clear distinction between the activities of new self-employed and a trader can be difficult in individual cases.

A work contract exists if a contractor is obliged to produce a specific piece of work for a client against payment. In contrast to the employment or service contract a specific service or a certain outcome (the work) is owed (for example, an entrepreneur commissions a graphic designer for his website).

This is not an employment contract, so new self-employed and traders have no claims under labour law or collective agreements (holiday, continued payment of wages in the event of illness, severance pay, collectively agreed minimum wage or special payments).
You plan it yourself, use own resources and must be responsible for errors (thus bear the economic risk for the assignments).

The work contract is one of the target obligations that are fulfilled with the provision of the work. The completion of the agreed work or the occurrence of success means the automatic termination of the work contract. This is a significant difference to the free service contract.


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

Traders need a business license.

In principle, they have to report your activity to the Social Insurance Institution for the self-employed (SVS). Irrespective of this, they must notify the trade authority when they start their business. They have health, pension and accident insurance. Contract workers with small income can under certain conditions be exempted from compulsory insurance on request.

More information on traders can be found on our platform.

Newly self-employed are those who, due to a business activity, have income from self-employment under tax law (Section 22 para. 1 to 3 and para. 5 as well as Section 23 Income Tax Act) and who do not need a business license for these activities (e.g. an author, a lecturer, a psychotherapist or an artist). They carry out their operational activities just like tradesmen within the framework of a work contract. Companies can also conclude contracts for work and services with clients as new self-employed persons.

New self-employed persons have to report their activity to the Social Insurance Institution for Self-Employed Persons (SVS) themselves if the annual gross income exceeds the amount of 6.221,28 Euro for the year 2024. A compulsory insurance arises uniformly if the income in the calendar year is 12 times the monthly Austrian General Social Security Act (ASVG) low income threshold.

More information about new self-employed can be found on our pages.

Further links

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2024
Responsible for the content:
  • Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection
  • Federal Ministry of Finance
  • Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy

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