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Austria.
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One-Stop-Shop for Operating Facilities and Streamlined Trade Law

Chancellor Christian Kern and Vice-Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner © APA / Herbert Neubauer

The reform measures provide relief for companies operating in Austria. The main features of the amendment are:

1. Approval of operating licenses: one-stop-shop principle

Austria’s Operating Permit Law is being extensively updated. In the future, the motto will be, “one procedure, one decision.” With this in mind, companies will receive construction, nature conservation, water and trade permits in the future from a single source. Moreover, operating facilities “with low hazard potential” such as confectioners or restaurants can expect quicker and more simplified approval procedures.

2. Applications for trade licenses at no cost

All applications for trade licenses will be free of charge or exempt from the need to pay federal fees and duties in the future. This measure comprises EUR 10 million in savings for companies based on the most recent figure of 80,000 new applications for trade licenses each year.

3. Abolishment of the Act on Semi-Trades: Greater number of non-regulated trades

The Act on Semi-Trades will be repealed. 19 of the previous 21 semi-trades, for example alteration shops, the making of ice cream or bicycle technology, will be considered as non-regulated or “free” trades in the future. Only two professions will be added to the list of regulated trades.

4. Extension of ancillary rights by up to 30%

In the future, business people may generate more revenue than in the past from business activities carried out “on the side” in addition to their actual trade. This amounts to up to 15% for regulated trades, for example carpenters who also lay tiles. For non-regulated or “free trades“, for example a graphic designer who also programs websites, it will be permitted to generate up to 30% of revenue from other types of work.

5. Shortening of administrative procedures

Decision making periods for public authorities for ruling on authorization and licensing matters with respect to trade regulations are being legally shortened. Official decisions are to be handed down within four months after the application has been submitted (instead of six up until now). The time frame for decisions relating to so-called simplified approval procedures will be reduced from three to two months.

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