The corporate form defines the statutory framework which governs a company and allows an individual, or several persons together, to pursue gainful as well as non-lucrative objectives with legal effect.
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Even though an artistic activity is largely funded through subsidies, artists engage in a business activity and therefore have to choose a corporate form.
The lawmaker has provided for an exhaustive catalogue of corporate forms (coercion of form). However, there is leeway in designing the general structures prescribed by law to individual needs (e.g. special individual rules in Statutes, Articles of Association etc.). Once chosen, a corporate form need not be retained forever, but may be changed as required.
The choice of the corporate form depends on matters such as membership, liability and taxes.
The corporate forms which exist differ, inter alia, as to
- whether one person takes up an activity or whether several persons join for such an activity
- which objectives can be pursued under the corporate form
- whether formation must be entered in the companies register or the association register
- whether this results in an entity having legal capacity (legal personality = legal person)
- who is liable for what and in what amount
- who represents the company vis-à-vis third parties and who is responsible for internal management
- which taxes become due and who is liable for their payment.
Of the corporate forms existing in Austria, some are preferred by artists and cultural institutions.