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Austria VAT country guide

VAT compliance and reporting rules in Austria

Below is summary of the major rules provided under Austrian VAT rules (Mervärdesskattelagen 1994, VAT Act; Regulations and guidelines from the Ministry of Finance), plus adoption of EU VAT Directive provisions. Check our country VAT guides for other jurisdictions.

Our VAT Calculator & VAT Filer products on a single platform, VAT Calc,  are unique in that they come with all of this included out-of-the box for Austria and scores of other countries around the world.

Austria VAT country guide

Highlights Local term Umsatzsteuer (USt) or Mehrwertsteuer
VAT Rates - standard 20%
VAT Rates - reduced 13%; 10%
VAT number format AT U 12345678
Registration threshold €35,000 per annum; nil for non-residents; €10,000 for pan-EU digital services and goods OSS return. Intra-community acquisitions €11,000
VAT Group Yes, voluntary although may be imposed if conditions met
VAT recovery foreign businesses Yes
Fiscal Representative Required of non-EU businesses (the UK and Norway excepted)
Currency Euro €, January 1999
Administration Introduction Introduced in January 1973.  Sweden joined the European Union and its VAT regime in 1995
VAT laws Mervärdesskattelagen 1994, VAT Act; Regulations and guidelines from the Ministry of Finance; Also EU VAT Directive which takes supremacy as part of EU membership
Tax Authorities Federal Ministry of Finance; Finanzämter tax offices (Graz-Stadt for non-residents)
VAT Rates Standard rate 20%   (19% in Jungholz & Mittelberg regions)
Reduced rates 10%: passenger transport; foodstuffs; books (inc e-books), newspapers and journals; residential property rental; tampons. 13%: hotel accommodation; entrance for sport and cultural events
Zero-rated Pharmaceuticals; central bank gold; sea vessels; aircraft fuel; intra-community supplies; exports; import services in certain cases; VAT warehousing and goods under customs control
Exempt Education; financial services; health, hospital,  and social welfare; postal; letting immovable property; betting and gambling; welfare services; transfer of business; pharmaceuticals; art;
Scope of VAT Scope of VAT Provision of domestic taxable goods and services; EU imports; intra-community acquisitions; Distance selling of goods B2C (OSS or IOSS); receipt of services or goods via the reverse charge
Time of supply Goods & Services (general rule) End of the calendar month of provision unless invoice issued within the following month in which case delayed. This applies too if advance or cash payment. Intra-community supplies of goods must be invoiced by 15th of the following month
Reverse Charge As per goods & services, but reverse charge supplies' time of supply cannot be delayed by invoice issued the following month
Continuous  Services Based on invoice or payment dates
Imports At time of clearance into free circulation into Austria
Goods on approval and return Based on date customer formally accepts the goods
Registration VAT registration threshold €35,000 per annum; nil for non-residents; €10,000 for pan-EU digital services and goods OSS return. Intra-community acquisitions €11,000
Voluntary VAT registration Yes, voluntary
VAT number format AT U 12345678
VAT Group Yes (Organschaft), voluntary for two or more businesses with economic, control and/or goals links. Supplies between group members exempt. However, tax authorities may impose it if conditions met. Typically means shareholding exceeding 75%. The central nominated taxpayer, Orantrager, may deduct the VAT on any supplier invoice to the group. Excludes holding companies without taxable actives. Non-residents excluded. Group has single VAT number and must file only one VAT consolidated return.
Non-residents Similar requirements to resident businesses. Except no VAT registration threshold. Many supplies are subject to the reverse charge when provided by non-resident, means registration may not be required (see separate). Fiscal Representative required of most non-EU businesses (see separate).
Fiscal Representative Required for non-EU businesses with their VAT registration if resident in country without mutual assistance agreement. This now includes Norway and the UK. Must be resident qualified accountant, auditor, lawyer or notary. Fiscal representatives are not liable for their clients VAT. EU businesses need a forwarding agent. Not required where all taxpayer's supplies are subject to Austrian Split Payments (see separate)
Digital Services Austria participates in the EU single  One Stop Shop (OSS) VAT return for digital, telecoms and broadcast services. This was formerly the MOSS regime until 30 June 2021
Pre VAT registration costs Permitted through first VAT return. Generally may be no older than 5 years
VAT Invoices Issuance Within six months. By 15th of the following month for intra-community supplies and certain other reverse charge supplies. Electronic receipts obligatory for cash transactions (see separate). Subject to last point, invoices are not required for retail transactions.
Content Date; unique sequential invoice number; name and address of supplier and customer; VAT number of customer if above €10,000; Customer VAT number for intra-community supplies or reverse charge; date of supply or advance payment if different from invoice date; Description, quantity or units etc of supply of goods or services; price per unit; taxable amount; VAT charged; rate (broken out if supplies at different rates); total; explanation if zero-rated supply; fiscal representative's details if applicable
E-invoices Permissible if both sides agree. Should be in accordance with EU Directive on e-invoices, including adequate controls over creation, issuance and storage of e-invoices and any digital signatures
Simplified invoices Where consideration does not exceed €400. No requirement for customer detail
Self-billing Yes, if agreement between both sides
Retention of invoices Seven years. Ten years for invoices related to property. Records may be kept outside of Austria, but must remain readily accessible in a readable form
FX rules Invoices may be provided in other currencies. But the VAT amount due must be stated in € with conversion rate. This may be average monthly rate of Austrian Ministry of Finance, daily rate of European Central Bank or FX rate per bank conversion if supporting documentation
Invoice corrections Via credit note which should reference unique number of original invoice. Should also indicate reason for adjustment. The customer must acknowledge agreement of the adjustment for the credit note to have legal basis
Compliance Right to deduct Excluded: luxuries; entertainment; expenditure with less than 10% business use; expenditure on motor vehicles, including lease and hire
Call-off stock Subsequent to the EU's 2020 Quick Fix harmonisation reforms, stock may be transferred from an EU state to an customer location/warehouse in Austria without triggering a VAT registration and supply for a non-Austrian supplier. Title has not passed until the customer takes the goods for production and sale. At which time a zero-rated transaction may be effected. This must happen within 12 months of the original movement
Reverse Charge - B2B Supplies by non-residents of services are goods to taxable persons with an Austrian VAT number - whether resident or not - should use the reverse charge. This applies even if the foreign supplier has an Austrian VAT number. This means the customer must report the VAT and the supplier can potentially avoid the need to VAT register if not other supplies. The domestic reverse charge applies on following supplies: CO2 emission trading; certain construction works; games consols, chips, laptops, mobile phones; supply of staff; scrap; gas and electricity wholesale; certain metals; investment gold
Cash discounts No corrective credit note or invoice required. Adjustment via VAT return
Bad debt relief Possible via VAT return. There must be some reliable evidence of the debt no longer being recoverable - e.g. court winding-up papers or out of court settlement
Import VAT deferment Yes. This does require an application to the tax office to report the import VAT via the next return and thus avoid a cash payment via the reverse charge. Import VAT exemption if immediate intra-community supply
VAT warehouse No speck scheme. There is suspension of VAT and customs in bonded warehouses for exempt trading prior to clearance 
Supply & install Generally non-residents should use the reverse charge for such transactions, and allow the customer to account for the VAT under the reverse charge
Use and enjoyment services Austria has opted to consider the provision of certain B2C services by non-EU providers as subject to Austrian VAT and a local VAT registration is required. These services include: transport hire; and supply of staff. Renting or lease of goods. Telecom and broadcast services; gambling and betting
Capital goods adjustment period Movable property: five years. Immovable property: 20 years
Non-residents VAT recovery EU non-Austrian businesses may recover any Austrian VAT through an online application to their home tax office (8th Directive reclaim) without supporting invoices. Quarterly claims of >400 or a final annual claim >€50. Any non-EU businesses will have to apply to the Austrian tax office with paper-based claims including supporting invoices. No fiscal representative requirements. Same limits as EU claimant. Austria does not require reciprocity agreement with country of residence of non-EU businesses. Fiscal Representative not required
VAT on Digital Services Austria follows the EU VAT on digital services regime, introduced in 2015. This includes participation in the One-Stop-Shop (OSS) single EU VAT return (formerly MOSS until 30 June 2021)
Live events Generally requires a VAT registration by a non-resident and the reverse charge may not be used for admission charges
Distance selling threshold for goods Nil. Following the EU ecommerce VAT package reforms from 1 July 2021, local Austrian VAT must be charged on all sales by non-Austrian EU e-commerce sellers shipping from within the EU. Imported distance sales not exceeding €150 liable to Austrian sales VAT with IOSS return option
Cash accounting scheme Yes, with threshold of €2million per annum for certain sectors only = freelance professionals and farmers. Small businesses below sales of €110,000 per annum may apply too
VAT registered cash tills Yes, for businesses with sales above €15,000 of which €7,500 or more is in cash
Statute of limitations Five years
Other Austria operates a limited Split Payments regime whereby customers of non-resident suppliers must withhold any VAT due and remit it directly to the Austrian authorities.
VAT Returns Frequency Monthly. Quarterly is annual turnover does not exceed €100,000 - although possible to still file monthly. Annual returns in addition by all taxpayers
Filing method Electronic only
Deadlines (inc payments) 15th of the second month following the reporting period end. Annual VAT return by 30 June of the following year. Same deadlines for payments of any VAT owing.
VAT credits Via VAT return with refund request letter (requested online)
Corrections A single corrective return is permitted. Further changes require written processing.
Non-residents Similar to resident.
Other filings European Sales Listing (ESL) for goods and services follow monthly vs quarterly cycle as VAT returns. They should be filed by the end of the month following the reporting month or quarter.  Intrastat monthly via Statistik Austria for supply of goods above threshold: dispatches: €750k; arrivals: €750k. The filing deadline is the 10th of the month following the reporting month
SAF-T Austria SAF-T rules
Penalties & interest 10% of VAT due as potential fine for missed return. 2% for late payment of VAT.1% fine for unfiled ESL
B2C Distance Selling returns Austria participates in the One-Stop-Shop OSS pan-EU VAT return for distance selling, introduced in July 2021.

 

 

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