When a foreign investor comes in Austria with a clear thought of investing in a new company, he must be aware of all types of companies that are available. Only after analyzing all the structures, he can decide about setting up a company in Austria.
Our company formation agents in Austria can offer more information on all the types of companies available for incorporation in this country.
Here are the main types of companies that can be incorporated in Austria:
This is the most popular type of business in Austria, especially due to its flexibility. In order to set up a limited liability company in Austria, a minimum share capital of EUR 35,000 has to be provided and 50% of this sum has to be deposited in a bank account prior to company registration in Austria. No requirements regarding nationality or residency are made for shareholders, but their minimum contribution is EUR 7,000 each.
One or more shareholders can establish this type of company in Austria provided that they have at least EUR 70,000 as an initial investment. A stock corporation in Austria must have a supervisory board with at least three members. The company is regarded as a legal entity, therefore it is liable for its obligations.
At least two individuals or legal entities can join and form a partnership in Austria. It is also the case of the general partnership. All members in a general partnership have full liability and are regarded as general partners. However, at least one member must prove his competence in the field of activity that the company has.
This type of partnership can be set up by at least two individuals or legal entities as well. The partners represent the company in all matters. Its main characteristic is that at least one of the partners has to be a general partner, with full liability for the company’s management, rights, and obligations. At the same time, at least one partner has to have limited liability to the extent of his contribution.
Silent partnerships in Austria mean that one member is the proprietor with full liability, while the other partners who signed the agreement are silent and, as a consequence, do not take part in the management of the company. It is important to know that registration of silent partnerships with the Austrian Trade Register is not compulsory.
This type of partnership is not considered a legal entity. For that matter, it is only recommended for individuals or corporations that want to be part of a project only for a limited amount of time. The incorporation procedure is the simplest.
The simplest business form which can be established in Austria is the sole trader. This can be created by one person. Foreign citizens can open sole traders in Austria only after obtaining a residence permit. They will also be personally liable for the business’ debts and obligation, which is why this type of structure is seldom employed in Austria. The sole trader is most suitable for professional activities, such as accounting and medical ones.
The sole proprietorship is also subject to various licensing requirements just like the other types of Austrian companies.
Foreign companies have three options when setting up their business presence in Austria: the subsidiary, the branch office, and the representative or liaison office.
The subsidiary is an independent business form of the foreign company which can undertake various types of activities in Austria. It can also complete activities outside the scope of the foreign company. The subsidiary can be created as a limited liability company in Austria.
The branch office, on the other hand, is an extension of a foreign company in Austria which means it cannot complete other activities than those of the parent company. Also, from a taxation point of view, the branch office will be taxed only on the income earned in Austria.
The representative office is not a legal entity, as it cannot undertake commercial activities in Austria. Foreign companies usually establish liaison offices with the purpose of prospecting the market before opening one of the types of companies mentioned above.
Apart from the sole proprietorship and the representative office, all the other types of companies will need to prepare the following documents for operating in Austria:
All these documents must be filed when registering a company in Austria and our local consultants can help with their preparation and submission with the Companies Registrar