Austria is one of the richest European countries that is why it attracts foreign investors from all over the world. With a stable political system and economy; Austria also offers a skilled workforce which plays an important role in its development so far.
Among the most sought investment industries are banking, trading and information technology which play an important role in the development of the country's economy. The legislation also favors the opening of new companies and foreign investors can benefit from a transparent and flexible company registration process.
Austria is a member of several international organizations, among which the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development which means that investors can do business here with the guarantee of the best international standards.
The Company Act is the main law which provides for the establishment of a business in Austria. The first step for company formation in Austria is to choose a legal entity from the ones mentioned below:
The sole trader is the simplest form of doing business in Austria and it can be established by natural persons only. There are no share capital requirements for those who want to set up this business form, however, they will need to register their trade name with the Companies Register in Austria and obtain certain licenses with the authorities.
As mentioned above, the limited liability company can take two forms:
2-1- the private company, shortly known as the GmbH, which must be formed by at least one shareholder who cannot trade the company’s shares on the stock exchange and which requires a minimum share capital of 35,000 euros;
2-2- the public company, shortly known as the AG, which also requires at least one shareholder and a minimum share capital of 70,000 euros; compared to the GmbH, the AG can trade its shares on the stock exchange.
The company registration process for both types of companies follow the same steps.
There are four types of partnerships which can be registered by foreign investors interested in company formation in Austria. These are:
3-1- the general partnership;
3-2- the limited partnership;
3-3- the dormant partnership;
3-4- the civil law partnership.
No matter the type of partnership investors wants to set up, at least two founding members are necessary. Also, there are no share capital requirements for this business form.
The branch office is one of the options foreign companies can use to create a presence on the Austrian market. The Austrian company will totally depend on the parent company, which means that all the decisions related to the management of the branch will be taken by the head office. The Austrian branch will complete the activities of the parent company for which it must obtain the necessary licenses and permits.
Among the advantages of the branch office in Austria, we remind the following:
Another business form available for foreign companies is the subsidiary. Compared to the branch office, the subsidiary is an independent entity, usually registered under the form of a limited liability company. As such, it can take its own decisions and will be treated as a local company in the Austrian market.
The Austrian subsidiary offers similar advantages as the branch office.
Foreign and local investors must provide the following set of documents for company formation in Austria:
The business owners must also open a bank account where the initial capital will be deposited.
The documents mentioned above must be filed with the Trade Register in order to obtain the company’s Certificate of Incorporation. Then, the company must register for tax and VAT purpose
Foreign investors seeking to open companies in Austria are usually interested in knowing how much the process takes. Our Austrian company formation consultants have prepared a timeline which estimates the time to consider for each procedure.
This timeline implies: