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Holding Company in Austria

Holding Company in Austria

Austria is considered one of the most attractive countries for setting up a holding company. Moreover, Austria is considered by many foreign investors “the ideal holding company location” because of the tax advantages this type of structure offers. Among the benefits an Austrian holding company offers refer to taxation.

Our company registration agents in Austria can offer a detailed definition of the holding company and the purposes it is established for.

How to open a holding company in Austria

The holding company falls under the Austrian Commercial Code as it can take one of the following forms:

  • – private limited liability company;
  • – joint stock company.

No matter the type of entity one wants to use, they must have the articles of association prepared and filed together with the certificate of incorporation of the parent company with the Companies Registrar in Austria. The minimum share capital required to register a holding company under the form of a private company is 10,000 euros and half of the amount must be deposited upon the registration of the company. For the public company, the minimum capital required is 70,000 euros. In the case of an Austrian holding company registered as a public company, the whole capital must be deposited when the company is incorporated.

Foreign investors should also know that they can also purchase shelf companies for holding purposes in Austria. Our company registration consultants in Austria can assist you in buying ready-made companies in this country.

Investors opening holding companies in Austria

Setting up an Austrian holding company requires completing the same steps as when registering any other business form and respecting the Company Law. It is also important to note that there are various types of holding companies that can be created. Even if this aspect does not influence the incorporation procedure, it is best to keep it in mind, as in some cases, it can attract various benefits.

Here are the main types of holdings that can operate in Austria:

  1. ultimate companies with full ownership rights in one or more subsidiaries;
  2. intermediate companies that are subsidiaries of other holdings themselves;
  3. financial holdings that are quite popular in European Union member states, as they can operate without special licensing requirements in these countries;
  4. intellectual property holdings that have grown in popularity when more and more countries have started creating IP boxes (special programs through which tax incentives are granted for IP-related activities).

The establishment of a holding company must take into account the legal form it is setup under. The private and public limited liability companies are the types of structures holdings operate under and them main concerns should be related to the minimum number of shareholders and share capital.

Recent changes in the legislation enable startup companies registered as private entities can have a minimum share capital of 10,000 euros and required to reach the maximum amount imposed in its 11th year of activity.

 If you want to open a company in Austria and are considering a holding structure, our local consultants can offer tailored assistance.

Ownership of holding companies over their subsidiaries

As its name states, a holding company has as a main purpose the ownership of various assets in other businesses, called subsidiaries. This means that the latter will be independent in terms of management and internal organization, while respecting various obligations to the main shareholder: the holding company.

From a legal point of view, a holding company in Austria is solely bound to own assets in its subsidiary. These assets can take the form of shares, real estate property and intellectual property rights, such as patents, trademarks, and licenses.

Since we mentioned IP holdings earlier, it is useful to note that Austria rewards companies engaged in research and development (R&D) activities instead of creating a patent box. Holding companies owning subsidiaries undertaking such activities can benefit from deductions on the cost incurred by these undertakings at the moment they accrue. They are granted premiums of 14% for the activities completed in Austria.

In order to obtain such tax benefits, the company must be evaluated by the Austrian Research Promotion Organization. It is also worth noting that the premium is capped at 1 million euros per year.

If you want to create an Austrian holding company, you can rely on our specialists who can handle the incorporation procedure.

Holding company registration steps in Austria

Opening a holding company in Austria implies respecting the same steps as for any other domestic company. The company can have a natural person or corporate entity as a shareholder (it is possible for the business to have a single shareholder), as well as one director who can be a natural or corporate person. However, in the case of private companies, corporate directors are not permitted. Even so, there are no restrictions on the nationality of the manager.

Another requirement is for the company to have a legal address in Austria. A virtual office can be a solution to start, however, the holding must them find a suitable place of business. Also, a local bank account is required.

The entire registration procedure takes between 5 and 7 weeks, depending on the chosen business form.

You can obtain more information on the company registration procedure in Austria from our experts.

The tax compliance requirements for a holding company are easier to understand when working with out team of accountants in Austria. We provide complete accounting and bookkeeping services for corporations, as well as corporate tax filing and compliance. Upon request, we also offer solutions for payroll, invoice issuance and processing, and special balance sheet preparation. 

Why register a holding company in Austria?

As mentioned in the beginning, taxation is the best reason for which one would choose to set up a holding company in Austria. It only suffices to state that Austria has concluded more than 80 agreements for the avoidance of double taxation which can help the foreign owner of a holding company to benefit from numerous tax exemptions when repatriating profits from its subsidiaries in Austria. The corporate tax rate applicable to holding companies in Austria is 23% while dividend payments are exempt from taxation in this country.

From a non-taxation point of view, the holding company has no restrictions on the activities it undertakes in Austria.

Austria, a great location for a holding company

Austria is by far one of the most appealing countries for doing business in Europe. However, when it comes to holding companies, it offers many other benefits. Among these:

  • – the corporate tax which is levied at a flat rate of 23%;
  • – the value added tax for its subsidiaries is levied at a standard rate of 20%;
  • – dividends are taxed at a rate of 25% in the case of companies paying them, and 27.5% in the case of foreign recipients.

Apart from these, an Austrian holding company can pool the profits from its foreign subsidiaries free of any tax. Also, the losses of overseas subsidiaries can be offset against the local profits of the mother company.

For assistance in opening a holding company, please feel free to contact our Austrian company formation representatives.