Other organisational measures
Specimen signature sheets and evidence of activity
If a company has a managing director, an authorised representative (Prokurist) or an authorised agent (Handlungsbevollmächtigter), a specimen signature sheet may be required in certain circumstances. Form Verf 26 is used for this purpose. It is available at bmf.gv.at under "Forms".
We know that not every business is reputable. To protect responsible entrepreneurs, and in selected cases, your tax office may request proof of ID (i.e. a passport or national ID card) in addition to Verf 15, Verf 16 or Verf 24 forms, as well as an opening balance and evidence of activity. Your tax office may demand various supporting documents as evidence of activity, for example rental/leasing contracts for business premises, employee registrations, outgoing invoices or cash books.
Allocating a tax number
Once all the necessary documents have been examined, the entrepreneur will be registered with the tax office. The tax office will then issue them with a unique 9-digit tax number and open a new tax file. The entrepreneur will receive confirmation of their tax number (Steuernummer). The number is used to identify them in the tax system, and it should be quoted on all documents (receipts, proof of payment etc.) sent to the tax office. It is not unusual for tax office staff to visit business premises in person as part of this process. Visiting business premises to see how they operate gives the tax authorities a better understanding of the business than they would get sitting behind their desks in an office, and also gives them an opportunity to explain entrepreneurs' rights and responsibilities within the tax system.
Note that the tax number is not the same as the VAT ID Number (UID-Nummer).
Once they are registered, entrepreneurs will have their own accounts with their tax office. The tax office will set up this account under the holder's name and tax number. All tax payments, including VAT, personal income tax, corporate income tax, wage-related taxes and Austria's standardised consumption tax (Normverbrauchsabgabe) should be made to this account.
The tax office's Tax Collection Department ["Abgabensicherung" (Abgabeneinhebung und -einbringung)] is responsible for recording your payments and operating your tax account under Section 213 of the Bundesabgabenordnung (BAO). Tax due is booked to the account as a charge, while payments are recorded as credit to your account. In principle, your tax account works according to the same principle as a bank account; your account can be in arrears or in credit.
If your account is in credit, you can use this credit to pay future tax bills. You can see activity in your tax account on FinanzOnline (under "Other Services" - "Tax Account").
If you are in credit, you can also ask for the credit to be paid back to a nominated bank account or transferred to a different tax account (see Section 239 BAO). Requests for refunds can be made in writing or electronically on FinanzOnline under "Other Services - Refunds" or "Other Services" - "Transfer"). You do not need to fill in any specific form to request a refund or transfer. Credit will be transferred immediately.
Traders registered on the business service portal (USP) are able to make use of FinanzOnline and many other online procedures with a single sign-on to the USP. More detailed information about registering with the USP can be obtained from the online advisor for USP registration.
In exactly the same way as a bank sends regular statements of account, the tax office sends entrepreneurs sequentially numbered booking notifications. These notifications are free of charge and show all your transactions, when your tax payments are due, and the current balance of your tax account.
Each notification will contain the line "new account balance": This allows entrepreneurs to see at a glance whether they are in credit or arrears or whether their account is balanced. You can retrieve additional information about bookings on your tax account in FinanzOnline under "Requests"-"Tax Account".
Annual tax summary
You can also retrieve your annual tax summary from FinanzOnline. The summary includes a list of all your bookings, sorted by type of tax.
- Sections 213 and 239 Bundesabgabenordnung (BAO)
Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance