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Liaison Office in Austria

Liaison Office in Austria

Foreign companies can establish three types of business forms in Austria. These are the subsidiary, the branch office and the representative or liaison office. While the two types of structures are allowed to carry out commercial activities in the name of the parent companies, the representative office, as its name says, may only represent the parent company in relation to business partners or customers. No matter the type of company one wants to register in Austria, the Commercial Code is the main law providing for each of them. Our company formation agents in Austria can offer full information on the provisions of the Company Act.

 Quick Facts  
Characteristics of a liaison office in Austria The liaison office is a simple business form available in Austria, with the purpose of representing the foreign parent company and facilitating promotional activities in the country.

Permitted activities

– advertising,

– promoting the parent company,

– market research,

– participating in trade fairs,

– networking

 Interdicted activities

– direct sales,

– signing contracts,

– import and export,

– engage in profit-making activities

Minimum share capital  None

Not applicable

Can hire employees (YES/NO)


Costs related to opening a liaison office in Austria

– office rental,

– employees salaries,

– maintenance,

– utilities, etc.


The parent company is liable for the representative office’s actions and obligations.

Physical presence required for opening a liaison office (YES/NO)

NO, our specialists in company formation in Austria can handle the incorporation process on your behalf, through a power of attorney.

Secretary required (YES/NO)  NO
Incorporation time (approx.)

3-4 weeks 

Other available business forms for a foreign company

– subsidiary,

– branch office

Converting into a different business form

Our specialists can help you set up a company in Austria and convert a representative office into a different business form.

Why open a representative office in Austria

– entering the Austrian market,

– researching,

– brand visibility,

– networking,

– easy incorporation process,

– no taxes, etc.

 Assistance Contact our specialists if you are interested in opening a liaison office or starting a business in Austria.

What is an Austrian liaison office?

The liaison office is the simplest business form a foreign company can have in Austria. Like the branch office, the representative office will be fully dependent on the parent company. However, it is not allowed to engage in any type of commercial activity. The only activities a liaison office is allowed to undertake in Austria are:

  • promoting the company through an office in Austria;
  • promoting the company in trade fairs;
  • acting as a contact point between the foreign company’s partners and clients;
  • offering information about the parent company’s services or products;
  • carrying out market or feasibility studies;
  • acting as a marketing agent.

Unlike in other European countries, an Austrian liaison office cannot conclude contracts on behalf of the parent company. An Austrian representative office can be re-registered as any other type of company if the parent firm decides to engage in commercial undertakings in this country.

How to set up a representative office in Austria

The liaison office must be registered with the Trade Register like any other company in Austria, however, it will not be required to register for taxation. There are no minimum share capital requirements to open a liaison office in Austria. Our accountants in Austria offer assistance and guidance for tax-related matters. Foreign companies outside the European Economic Area are also required to appoint a local director for the representative office.  It takes about 4 weeks to register a liaison office in Austria.

Differences between a representative office and branch

A representative office in Austria and a branch are two distinct types of business entities that foreign companies can establish in the country. The main differences between the two are related to their purpose, scope of activities, and legal status. Our specialists in company formation in Austria have highlighted a few important differences between the two.

A liaison office in Austria is typically set up with the primary purpose of conducting non-commercial activities. Its activities are limited to representing the interests of the parent company and gathering information about the local market. A branch office, on the other hand, is established to carry out commercial activities on behalf of the foreign parent company. A branch office conducts business on the foreign market and is considered an extension of the parent company.

There is no taxation for a representative office in Austria. If a foreign company establishes a branch office in Austria, it will generally be subject to income tax or corporate income tax in Austria. The company must inform the relevant tax office in Austria about the start and location of the branch office within a month before beginning its operations.

The ultimate decision to open a liaison office in Austria or a branch depends on your specific business goals, activities, and the level of control you want to maintain. Our team of specialists in company registration in Austria can help you make informed decisions and help with the registration procedures.

We invite you to watch a video about the representative office:

Setting up a representative office vs. subsidiary in Austria

Investors also have the choice to open a subsidiary, but the process is more complex than setting up a liaison office in Austria. There are also several differences between the two entities.

A subsidiary can engage in a wide range of commercial activities, including sales, contracts, and revenue generation. As we mentioned above, a liaison office in Austria cannot conduct these types of activities.

One should know that a subsidiary is a separate legal entity incorporated in Austria. It has its own legal status and is subject to Austrian corporate laws and regulations, unlike representative offices.

A subsidiary has its own legal identity, which means it may have limited liability. The parent company’s liability is often limited to its investments in the subsidiary, protecting the parent company’s assets from the subsidiary’s liabilities. As for the representative office, the parent company is fully liable.

If you want to start a business in Austria, our team can help you decide which is the best solution for you.

Why open a representative office in Austria

Opening a representative office in Austria can be a strategic choice for certain types of foreign businesses.The advantages of opening a representative office in Austria include: conducting market research, building brand awareness, and establishing local contacts. There are no taxes associated with representative offices and the incorporation process is fast and straightforward.

This option is great for investors who want to open a company in Austria, but wish to know more about the market and establish a presence there before starting their commercial operations.

Austria looks like a great opportunity to invest in and expand your business there, especially when looking at these statistics, provided by Statistics Austria:

  • The GDP in 2022 was 447.22 billion euros;
  • The manufacturing sector accounted for 116.75 billion euros in GDP in 2022;
  • The service sector accounted for 277.90 billion euros in GDP in 2022.

For assistance in setting up a representative office or any other type of company, do not hesitate to contact our company registration consultants in Austria.