Austria implemented a European Value Added Tax regime in 1973, replacing its sales tax. Locally, it is called Umsatzeteuer.
The Austrian VAT rules are incorporated in the Value Added Tax Act 1994. This was enacted to implement the European Union VAT rules for the following year, when Austria joined the EU. This Act is backed up by secondary legislation and judicial reviews. In addition, the Ministry of Finance, which oversees the running of the VAT system, provided regular notices (Verodnungen) and decrees (Erlässe).
The Austrian VAT system follows the European Union regime, which is laid out in the EU VAT Directives. The covers the obligations for registering foreign companies for VAT, their VAT return obligations and compliance rules.
Should you register for Austrian VAT?
If a foreign company is providing taxable supplies of goods or services in Austria, it may have to contact the tax authorities and register for VAT. There are a number of situations for this obligation to be triggered, which are similar (but with differences) to the other member states of the EU. They include:
- Importing goods into Austria from outside the European Union.
- Intra-community sales (dispatches) or purchases (acquisitions) of goods from another EU country
- Buying and selling goods in Austria.
- Holding goods in Austria on a consignment stock basis. Call off stock arrangements are exempt.
- E-commerce sales of goods to consumers, subject to Austrian VAT registration thresholds.
- Organising live conferences or exhibitions with on the door payments.
- If a company is otherwise a non-VAT trader, but is receiving services in Austria under the reverse charge rule.
- The self supply of goods.
It is uncommon for foreign companies to be required to complete an Austrian VAT registration for the supply of services. This follows the 2010 VAT Package.
Note that providers of electronic, broadcast or telecoms services to consumers in Austria only have to VAT register in one EU country under the MOSS scheme to file a single return covering all 27 member states.
If you do need to VAT register, read our Austrian VAT registration briefing to understand the requirements, including any VAT registration thresholds that may apply.
There may be further exemptions from the requirement to VAT register in Austria that you should consider. Please read our Austrian VAT Reverse Charge briefing.
Need help with your Austrian VAT compliance?
Researching Austrian VAT legislation is the first step to understanding your VAT compliance needs. Avalara has a range of solutions that can help your business depending on where and how you trade.
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