Austria Company Formation



Austria is generally regarded as a prosperous and sophisticated business centre, and a traditional trading bridge to Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Austria actively welcomes foreign investors, and is at the heart of the Eurozone and European Union. Setting up a company here is relatively straightforward. There is plenty of office and industrial space available, both for short and long term let and we can provide serviced office facilities. However, there are important procedural issues to be complied with. The company, which may be a partnership or corporation, has to be registered with the commercial register. For corporations (company with limited liability [GmbH] or a stock corporation [AG]) a substantial minimum share capital has to be paid-up at the establishment (please see below). Austria further strictly regulates the professional requirements for businesses (Gewerberecht). For more information – please contact us.

What is the most common type of company in Austria?

A company with limited liability (GmbH) is by far the most usual form of company. A GmbH is a legal entity. Shareholders are not personally responsible for the liabilities of the company, except for the obligation to pay up their capital contributions and in cases of unlawful redemption of equity.

How much share capital is required to establish a GmbH?

The minimum nominal capital is €35,000, of which €17,500 have to be fully paid in upon formation; for a period of 10 years it is possible to use a so-called foundation privilege (Grundungsprivilegierung), whereas only €10,000 are subscribed at first and at least €5,000 must be paid in.

What other requirements are there for a GmbH?

  • at least one shareholder
  • at least one managing director, who does not have to be an Austrian citizen 
  • a local serviced office is advisable, but not a legal necessity, click here for details

What other types of company are there?

  • Stock corporation (AG), minimum share capital €70,000, establishment by only shareholder is permitted
  • General partnership (OG), unlimited liability for all partners, at least two shareholders required
  • Limited partnership (KG), unlimited liability for at least one partner, at least two shareholders required
  • Private corporation (GesbR), at least two shareholders required (no legal personality)
  • Cooperative (Genossenschaft), legal entity with flexible membership, no fixed capital, not primarily for profit
  • Silent partnership (stille Gesellschaft), no special formalities, sensitive in terms of tax implications
  • European stock corporation (Societas Europaea, SE), minimum share capital €120,000
  • Foreign branch, GmbH and AG companies based abroad may establish a branch in Austria

What are the formalities regarding incorporation?

The main formalities include:

  • preparation/drafting of articles of association 
  • articles of association have to be executed by a public notary in the form of a notarial deed (Notariatsakt)
  • entry in the commercial register (via court resolution)
  • shareholder resolution on the appointment of the first managing director(s)
  • managing directors and other board members have to issue specimen signatures
  • mandatory opening of bank account and bank confirmation on payment of the minimum contribution
  • a tax ID has to be obtained at the tax authorities

What is the regulatory environment like?

Austria is a participant in the Euro and there is free movement of both capital and earnings. It has dual taxation agreements with a number of other countries, in particular all members of the European Union, the USA, Canada and Russia. No industries are closed to foreign investment, although in strategic areas an Austrian solution is sometimes preferred. Corporate taxation is relatively low at 25%. 

Are there financial incentives available – and what about banking facilities?

Full banking services are available which offer a complete range of commercial banking facilities, including those related to acquisitions and the raising of capital. We can help you open a bank account in Austria.

Government incentives include the following:

  • investment allowance regarding all purchases for depreciable business properties or software purchases
  • investment incentives regarding general project costs
  • pre-market development – incentive
  • research allowance – research premium for expenditures relating to in-house R&D as well as contract researcher
  • industrial research-incentives for eligible costs dependent on research category and the size of the company can assist you with the following services:

  • Incorporation of a GmbH or AG and arrange Notary and Bank Appointments on your behalf
  • VAT Registration
  • Provision of Company Bank Accounts
  • Accounting/Bookkeeping Services
  • Registered Office / Virtual Office Services

How can I get more information on Austria company formation?

Please contact us and we will be pleased to discuss matters in greater detail, and register a company in Austria for you in the quickest possible timeframe.