Reverse Charge System
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VAT is usually paid by the company delivering the goods or providing the service. It has to pay the VAT to the tax office. However, under the "reverse charge system" it is not the company providing the service but the company receiving the service that is liable to pay the VAT. In this case, the recipient company is responsible for paying the VAT to the tax office.
In general, these rules also apply to entrepreneurs from EU Member States in Austria.
The reverse charge system may be used, for example, when a foreign company that does not operate within Austria or has no business premises there provides a service or supplies works to an Austrian company and where the service or works are taxable in Austria under the place of performance rules set out in Section 3a, paragraph 6 of the Umsatzsteuergesetz (UStG - Austrian VAT Act). The reverse charge system cannot be applied to permission to use federal highways subject to payment of a fee, to the services set out in Section 3a, paragraph 11a UStG or to the renting of land.
Tax liability may also be transferred in the case of certain domestic deliveries or services. Some examples are transfer of greenhouse gas emission certificates, delivery of mobile phone devices and construction works (see Section 19, paragraphs 1a to 1e UStG, the Austrian regulation on VAT applicable to scrap (Schrott-Umsatzsteuerverordnung) and the Umsatzsteuerbetrugsbekämpfungsverordnung (Austrian anti-VAT-fraud regulation). Tax liability can be transferred in the case of construction works where the recipient themselves was contracted to perform the works or usually performs construction works themselves (Section 19, paragraph 1a UStG).
Reverse charge invoice
When the reverse charge system is applied, the recipient company will be issued an invoice by the company providing the service stating only the net amount (no tax statement) and is responsible for paying the VAT due. This can then be deducted should they be entitled to input tax deduction. The invoice must be issued by the 15th of the calendar month following the month in which the service was provided.
When issuing an invoice under the reverse charge system, the following should be borne in mind (Section 11, paragraph 1a UStG):
- The invoice must provide information on transfer of tax liability to the recipient of the service.
- The VAT Identification (UID) Number of the company providing the service and the VAT Identification Number of the recipient should be indicated.
- The regulations on separate tax statements do not apply.
Competent authority is the tax office (→ BMF).German text
- Section 19 of the Umsatzsteuergesetz 1994
Umsatzsteuerrichtlinien 2000 (UStR 2000)
Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance