Closing a sole proprietorship
Sole proprietors who terminate their business activities must actively notify the tax office. They must resign their business license or declare it dormant, apply for deletion from the commercial register, notify social security of the termination of their activity and deregister any employees.
These rules also apply to all citizens and entrepreneurs from EU Member States in Austria.
A trade licence for sole traders expires e.g.:
- through surrender of the licence
- death of the natural person
- if insolvency proceedings are not opened due to the lack of sufficient assets
- through withdrawal of the trade licence
If operations may be continued under a special entitlement [Fortbetriebsrecht], the trade licence will expire only upon expiry of this entitlement.
The compulsory (→ oesterreich.gv.at)German text health, pension and accident insurance ends on the last day of the calendar month in which the licence to trade is cancelled. The Social Insurance Institution for the Self-Employed must be notified of all changes that lead to the termination of the compulsory insurance within one month.
In principle, the business authority informs the Social Insurance Institution for the Self-Employed (→ SVS) of the return or withdrawal of the license to trade. In urgent cases, where official notification needs to be done immediately, the agreement of the return or withdrawal of the licence to trade can also be sent to the SVS by email or post. For this purpose, the notification of the return or withdrawal of the licence to trade is necessary.
No fees or charges are payable.
The insured party must always notify the SVS of all important changes, events and facts to protect themselves from the consequences of failing to do so. A breach of the notification obligation may lead to a demand for the return of payments wrongly made.
- Social Insurance Institution for the Self-Employed (→ SVS)German text
- Social security ombudsman SVS (→ SVS)German text
The tax office (→ BMF)German text must be informed if a business activity ceases, regardless of the reason. Notifications to the Tax Office can be made at the same time as submitting the necessary documentation. This can be done in person, by post, by fax or online via FinanzOnline (→ BMF).
Sole proprietorships that are registered in the companies register must apply to the competent court keeping the companies register to have the company name removed. Changes to the information registered in the companies register must be reported immediately.
The competent regional court (→ BMJ)German text of the place where the business has its registered office.
Informal written application with a certified signature, which must state the reason for removal.
If an entrepreneur dies, the heirs can continue the business. A valid legal decision on the transfer of title to the estate must be presented to the companies register to prove the status of the heirs. If the business is continued by heirs, they must sign the application to the companies register.
Costs and fees
Submission fees: 19 Euro or 38 Euro, if the application is not submitted in the Electronic Legal Transactions (ERV). The cost of certifying the signature must be added to this.
Under the Firmenbuchgesetz, fines of up to 3,600 Euro are imposed on those who fail to comply with the reporting obligations.Failure to obey the court order within two months of the date on which the decision to impose the fine takes legal effect will result in a further fine of 3,600 Euro.
- Federal Ministry of Justice
- USP Editorial Staff
- Association of Austrian Social Insurance Institutions