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Starting a business in Austria

05 October 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 18 May 2012

The key laws for establishing companies in Austria are the Austrian Commercial Code (UGB), the Austrian Trade Law 1994 (GewO 1994), the New Companies Promotion Act (NeuFöG) and the Commercial Register Act (FBG) and the Federal Law on Special Assistance for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.


Legal Requirements

Austrian Commercial Code (UGB)

Austrian Trade Law 1994 (GewO 1994)

New Companies Promotion Act (NeuFöG)

Commercial Register Act (FBG)

Federal Law on Special Assistance for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

The New Companies Promotion Act is intended to help reduce the costs associated with setting up and taking over businesses.

New Companies Promotion Act (NeuFöG)

The rights of partners are set out in the Memorandum of Association.

Memorandum of Association

Legal forms for companies

The following legal forms exist for companies: individual enterprises or corporations, individual enterprises, partnerships, corporate bodies - Ltd. companies, associations.

Individual enterprises or corporations

Individual enterprises


Corporate bodies - Ltd. companies, associations

The legal form of a company and the name given to a company are subject to the following legislation.

Company name and trade name

The following legal forms are possible for companies:


  • Non-trading partnership (Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts, GesbR)
  • General partnership (Offene Gesellschaft, OG)
  • Limited partnership (Kommanditgesellschaft, KG)
  • Silent partnership (Stille Gesellschaft, StG)
  • Limited partnership with a limited liability company as general partner (GesmbH & Co. KG)


  • Limited liability company (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, GmbH)
  • Public limited company (Aktiengesellschaft, AG)

A first-rate business strategy and sound financing are prerequisites for founding a business successfully.

Access to finance — Austria

Some standard requirements to be completed when setting up a business are the same as when opening a branch.

Branches — Austria

Administrative procedures

One-stop shops for advice

Business registration is now offered as a one-stop process by the founder service of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. In many cases this allows founders to register their businesses straight after the founder advisory stage, if they have all the necessary documentation.

Electronic processing of business affairs

Setting up a business online — Individual enterprise business

Registering a business

The following steps are necessary when establishing a business in Austria:

A legal form must be selected. For more information, see below:


Choice of legal form

The business must be registered with the relevant business authority (district authorities or magistrate).

Business registration (individual enterprises, regulated trades)

Business registration (individual enterprises, unregulated trades)

Business registration (corporations, regulated trades)

Business registration (corporations, unregulated trades)

Insurance declaration for business operators and partners

Business registration form

Setting up a business online — Individual enterprise business

Procedures under trade law 

The business must be entered in the commercial register.

Entering individual enterprises in the commercial register

General information on entering corporations in the commercial register

The business must be registered with the social security authority for industry (within the first four weeks).

Social security authority (SVA) — registration (individual enterprises)

Social security authority (SVA) — registration (corporations)

The type of business activities to be engaged in must be registered with the fiscal authorities and a tax ID number must be applied for (within the first four weeks).

Fiscal authorities — registration (individual enterprises)

Fiscal authorities — registration (corporations)

Registration of employees

FinanzOnline — online service of the Austrian Fiscal Administration

The Services Directive: Points of single contact

The Services Directive is a European law that aims to make life easier for businesses that wish to provide services in the European Union – in their home country or abroad. The Directive defines the rules that apply to entrepreneurs wishing to establish a business or perform temporary services in the EU/EEA area (the 27 EU member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). It obliges member states to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, simplify formalities for businesses and make public administrations more efficient.

For the implementation of the Directive, each member state had to set up ‘Points of Single Contact (PSC)’, e-government portals which help businesses complete their administrative procedures on-line. The PSCs provide comprehensive information on all administrative matters related to setting up or expanding a services business in a given country. This includes for example:

  • Which licences, notifications or permits do I need to obtain to start a business (at home or abroad)?
  • What do I need to do when I want to offer my services abroad on a temporary basis?
  • What do I need to do to apply for a licence? Which authority is responsible?
  • Are the licences subject to a fee? What kinds of deadlines apply?
  • Which acts and decrees apply in my sector?
  • What do I need to do to establish, for instance, a restaurant or a shop? Or to work as a tour operator in another country without actually setting up a company?
  • Where can I turn for personalised advice and further information?

With the PSCs, you no longer need to approach various authorities one by one!! The PSC allows you to find all relevant information and to send in your online applications to the responsible authority through one single contact point, the PSC. You can complete your administrative formalities electronically through the PSC. Just contact the PSC of the country that you want to do business in.

All PSCs are part of the European EUGO network; through a central website you can easily access all PSCs in Europe. Of course, the services of the PSCs are optional. You may always address yourself directly to the relevant authorities, too.

EUGO network

Points of single contact in Austria


The Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth provides information about establishing businesses.

Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth

Legal information about setting up businesses for people living and working in Austria is available from HELP, the Austrian government help service, or the Business Service Portal USP.

Business Service Portal USP 


Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws) is a governmental body for financing and promoting businesses and innovation in industry. It also offers a range of subsidies for setting up companies including funding for young entrepreneurs, investment loans and capital loans, credit guarantees, equity capital guarantees, assumption of liabilities and double equity guarantee funds.

Founder bonus

Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws)

The Österreichische Hotel- und Tourismusbank provides funding for the tourism sector.

Österreichische Hotel- und Tourismusbank

Personalised help and advice

The enterprise start-up service of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber provides support for founders, successor establishments and franchisees.

Enterprise start-up service of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

The WIFI enterprise service is the coordination centre of the national enterprise network (UNS) of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.

Enterprise service of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

Young Enterprise Austria (Junge Wirtschaft) represents the interests of young entrepreneurs in Austria and its services include successor establishment.

Young Enterprise Austria

Successor establishment service

The Austrian Chamber of Tax Consultants and Certified Accountants (KWT) is the umbrella organisation for tax consultants and business experts in Austria and also advises young entrepreneurs.

Austrian Chamber of Tax Consultants and Certified Accountants

The Enterprise Europe Network provides businesses with information and advice through its local partners.

Enterprise Europe Network – contact points – Austria

Information from Austrian Enterprise Europe Network partners

SOLVIT helps businesses deal with problems that arise when national authorities wrongly apply EU market rules.

SOLVIT – contact points – Austria

Source: Your Europe