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Austria – Self-Employment

Austria is a beautiful country located in central Europe known for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and thriving economy. For expats looking to start a business or become self-employed in Austria, there are plenty of opportunities and benefits to take advantage of. In this article, we will explore how self-employment works for expats, the process of registering as self-employed, starting a company, and the incentives available for expats in Austria.

How Self-Employment Works for Expats in Austria

For expats who wish to become self-employed in Austria, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, it is important to note that there is no distinction between residents and non-residents when it comes to registering as self-employed. As such, expats are free to register their business and work as self-employed individuals without any restrictions.

Another thing to note is that Austria has a relatively high tax rate for self-employed individuals, with a progressive tax system that ranges from 0% to 50% depending on income levels. This is comparable to other European countries, making Austria an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and freelancers.

How to Register as Self-Employed in Austria

The process of registering as self-employed in Austria is relatively straightforward. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Obtain a residence permit: Before you can register as self-employed, you will need to obtain a residence permit. This involves applying to the Austrian embassy in your home country and providing supporting documents such as proof of income, criminal record, and medical insurance.

  2. Choose a business activity: Once you have obtained your residence permit, you can begin the process of registering as self-employed. The first step is to choose a business activity that you wish to engage in. This can include anything from freelance writing to consulting.

  3. Register for a business license: Once you have chosen your business activity, you will need to register for a business license. This can be done by applying to the municipal government.

  4. Register for social security: As a self-employed individual, you will need to register for social security. This can be done by filling out the necessary forms and submitting them to the National Social Security Administration.

  5. Register for taxes: Finally, you will need to register for taxes by filling out the necessary forms and submitting them to the tax office. As mentioned earlier, the tax rate for self-employed individuals in Austria ranges from 0% to 50% depending on income levels.

Working as a Digital Nomad in Austria

For digital nomads who work online, Austria can be an excellent destination. The country has excellent internet connectivity, a high standard of living, and a rich cultural heritage, making it an attractive option for remote workers.

One thing to keep in mind is that Austria requires all foreign nationals who wish to work in the country to obtain a work visa. However, once you have obtained your work visa, you are free to work as a digital nomad and enjoy all the benefits that Austria has to offer.


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Starting a Company in Austria

For expats who are looking to start a company in Austria, there are several things to keep in mind. Firstly, it is important to note that Austria has a relatively complex process for registering a company.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Austria has a relatively high corporate tax rate, with a standard rate of 25% for companies with a turnover of less than ‚€35,000. Additionally, there are taxes on dividends and capital gains, making it important to carefully consider the tax implications of starting a company in Austria.

How to Set Up a Company in Austria

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you set up a company in Austria

  • Choose a company structure: The first step is to choose the structure of your company. Austria allows for several types of company structures, including a sole proprietorship, a partnership, and a limited liability company (GmbH).

  • Reserve a company name: Once you have chosen your company structure, you will need to reserve a name for your company. This name must be unique and cannot be similar to any other company names already registered in Austria.

  • Draft the company articles: The next step is to draft the company articles. These are the legal documents that define the company’s structure, governance, and activities. This can be done by engaging a lawyer or legal expert.

  • Register your company: To register your company, you will need to submit the company articles and other necessary documents to the Commercial Register. This will include information about your company structure, company name, and business activities.

  • Obtain a business license: Once your company has been registered, you will need to obtain a business license. This can be done by applying to the municipal government.

  • Register for social security: As an employer, you will need to register your employees for social security. This can be done by filling out the necessary forms and submitting them to the National Social Security Administration.

  • Register for taxes: Finally, you will need to register your company for taxes by filling out the necessary forms and submitting them to the tax office. As mentioned earlier, the corporate tax rate in Austria is 25%, with additional taxes on dividends and capital gains.

  • Incentives and Programs for Expats in Austria

    Austria offers several incentives and programs to encourage expats to become self-employed or start a company in the country. These include:

    • Startup Visa: Austria offers a Startup Visa for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to start a business in the country. This visa provides a fast-track route to residency and offers several benefits, including access to funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

    • Tax Incentives: Austria offers several tax incentives for businesses, including a tax credit for research and development activities and a reduced tax rate for innovative startups.

    • Business Incubators: Austria has several business incubators that offer support and resources for startups and small businesses. These incubators provide mentorship, training, and access to financing.

    Austria is a beautiful and prosperous country that offers plenty of opportunities for expats who wish to become self-employed or start a company. With a supportive business environment, strong economy, and excellent quality of life, Austria is an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and freelancers. Whether you are a digital nomad looking to work remotely or an entrepreneur looking to start a company, Austria has plenty to offer. With its favorable tax regime, investment opportunities, and incentives for businesses, Austria is a country that is well worth considering for anyone looking to pursue their business dreams.


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