Corporate forms which are relevant for artists and cultural institutions

In addition to sole proprietorships (Einzelunternehmen) and associations (Vereine), the following corporate forms may be eligible for artists and cultural institutions in given circumstances:


  • Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts GesbR – civil-law partnership 
  • Offene Gesellschaft OGgeneral partnership
  • Kommanditgesellschaft KGlimited partnership
  • Stille Gesellschaft stGes – silent partnership

Company limited by shares

  • Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung GmbH – company with limited liability  
  • Genossenschaft – cooperative 

The Aktiengesellschaft AG (joint stock corporation), Stiftung (foundation), and Mitarbeiterbeteiligungs AG (stock option plan) are not relevant for artists and cultural institutions, or in exceptional cases only.

Corporate forms and the EU

In addition, the corporate forms of other EU countries may be used in Austria. The British private company limited by shares, or Limited, for example, is an attractive alternative to the Austrian GmbH (no minimum capital requirement unlike for the formation of a GmbH).

Conversely, corporate forms established in Austria are recognised in another EU country, if they transfer their registered office to that state (freedom of establishment).

In this manner, foreign corporate forms are established in Austria only via a transfer of registered office, and vice versa. 

Good to know

Individual artists, provided they are self-employed, not employed with a company and do not chose any other corporate form, automatically qualify as sole proprietorships (= new self-employed, one–person company, SUP). 

Good to know

Make sure to seek professional advice before you choose a corporate form that suits your activity and intended purpose.