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Weekly Tip 7 #Location Austria: Austrian commercial law

© Julius Silver

In Austria a distinction is generally made between regulated and unregulated trades. Please be aware of the fact that some individual trades in Austria may be defined and regulated differently than in your own domestic market. For example, an unregulated trade in Germany may be regulated in Austria. Regulated trades are those which require a certificate of competence, for example carpenters, metal technology and engineering firms.

The “Liste der reglementierten Gewerbe“ (List of Regulated Trades) for trades requiring a certificate of competence provides a complete list, whereas the “Bundeseinheitliche Liste der freien Gewerbe” (National List of Unregulated Trades) contains a comprehensive list of trades for which no certificate of competence is needed.

Check access requirements

The regulations relating to every regulated trade stipulate the precise access requirements. Generally speaking, the pre-requisites needed to justify being granted a business license are Austrian citizenship or citizenship in an EEA/EU member state, legal capacity (minimum age of 18), the lack of any reasons for exclusion (e.g. fiscal law felonies, court conviction) as well as the designation of the site and an operating license.

Clarify your specific form of business activity in Austria in a timely manner

It is important to determine the following in a timely manner before you enter the Austrian market: which trade will I be operating in with my company, and what steps must I take? “By precisely describing the planned business activities, we clarify for interested investors which business license they will need, what pre-requisites have to be fulfilled and what documents are required for submitting the application”, recommends Bernhard Bachleitner, ABA Director Southern Germany.  

Please also note that in contrast to many countries, no trade tax is levied in Austria.


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