Glossary


A1 Form

The A1 Form certifies which national labour and social security law provisions apply to a given person (e.g. for postings or activities in several countries). Applications for the issue of Form A1 must be filed with the health insurer providing insurance (posting).

Acceptance age

Acceptance age is the age of a policyholder at the start of insurance. Some forms of insurance can be taken out only up to a given age, which is called the maximum acceptance age.

Accident insurance

Statutory accident insurance generally covers the medical costs of an occupational accident and, in addition, accident-related costs such as patient transport and/or long-term sequelae such as compensation for permanent physical impairment, social aids such as transition payments during the first phase after an accident, nursing needs or retraining in the event of occupational disability, including a disability pension. The scope of the benefits provided depends on the insurance contracts. Generally, a distinction is made between occupational accidents and recreational accidents.

Accommodation

An accommodation is an establishment which makes overnight lodging available to persons at a fee.

Accounting, Financial Reporting Requirement

Accounting is the documentation of operational activities for external purposes, in particular for the commercial balance sheet and the tax balance sheet, but also for internal cost accounting. The obligation to keep accounts for fiscal purposes may arise in particular under the Commercial Code (sections 189 et seq. Unternehmensgesetzbuch, UGB), since an obligation under company law (obligation to keep accounts) may also trigger an obligation under tax law (determination of profit by a comparison of assets and liabilities, double-entry bookkeeping) (section 124 Fiscal Code, Bundesabgabenordnung, BAO).

Additional earnings

Recipients of unemployment benefits are allowed to earn additional amounts within the scope of marginal employment. In 2017, the marginal earnings threshold is EUR 425.70 per month. A difference must be made whether the activity is an employed or self-employed form of work, as the marginal earnings threshold is assessed differently. With additional earnings by employed work, the remuneration received is relevant. With self-employed additional work, revenue and turnover are relevant. According to the AMS, self-employed work may be continuous or temporary.

Additional earnings from self-employed and from employed activities must not be aggregated, meaning that, if you receive unemployment benefits, unemployment assistance or educational leave allowance, you are allowed additional earnings both in a self-employed and in an employed form up to the monthly marginal earnings threshold, in other words the double marginal earnings threshold as a maximum.

Aid fund of the Artists’ Social Insurance

An aid fund for artists in social, family, health or financial difficulties and/or to cover extraordinary expenses has been established by amendment of the Law on Social Insurance for Artists.

This hardship or aid fund serves to cover the necessary livelihood on a temporary basis. The volume of funding is currently EUR 500,000 per year. Artists having their main residence in Austria are entitled to file an application. An advisory board will then decide on whether funding will be granted. There is, however, no legal entitlement to a grant.

Amount insured

The amount insured is a financial payment made by an insurer if the insured person sustains damage of an insured object. See also: cover amount

Articles of Association

Articles of Association are agreements in which shareholders lay down the legal bases when setting up a company. Generally, the Articles of Association govern the relations of the shareholders amongst themselves, such as management and representation, profit and loss participation, majority requirements for major decisions, or rules on death, retirement, liquidation of the company. The Articles of Association of an association are called the Statutes.

Artist

The Law on the Social Insurance Fund for Artists defines an artist as follows: 

Section 2(1) For the purposes of this Federal Act, an artist is anyone who, in the course of performing his/her artistic activity, creates works of art in the fields of visual arts, performing arts, music, literature, cinematics or their contemporary forms.

Artists’ Social Insurance Fund

In 2011, the Artists’ Social Insurance Fund (KSVF) was established in the wake of the re-organisation of the Austrian social insurance system, the aim being to support self-employed artists. Self-employed artists may apply for a grant towards their health, accident and pension insurance. 

Künstler-Sozialversicherungsfonds (http://www.ksvf.at/)

Acceptance by the KSVF requires a personal application which provides evidence on artistic activity and qualifications.

Association Register, Central Association Register

The Central Association Register (ZVR) is a public register maintained with the Federal Ministry of the Interior which records all Austrian associations. The data stored include e.g. the date of foundation of an association, the registered office, its official address, the names of the legal representatives etc. A specific number, the ZVR number, is assigned to every association.

Authorisation for posting

The law differentiates between posting of foreign staff from another member state of the European Economic Area and posting from a third country. Authorisation for posting must be applied for the posting of staff from companies having their registered seat in a third country. In general, such authorisation will only be granted if the work does not take longer than six months altogether and if the individual worker is not seconded for more than four months. Foreign workers who are seconded by a company having its headquarters in another member state of the European Economic Area in order to provide work in Austria on a temporary basis generally do not need authorisation for posting.

Bonus payments (holiday and Christmas bonus)

Under the Austrian system of employed work, twelve monthly salaries are disbursed per year plus two bonus payment in the equivalent of a monthly salary (holiday and Christmas bonus). These bonus payments are usually disbursed in June and November and benefit from a lower tax rate. With employment for a limited term, bonus payments are pro-rated.

Child benefit

Child benefit in Austria is granted as a monthly allowance to parents for their child/children, regardless of whether and in which form the parents are employed. Child benefit is granted until the age of 24. In exceptional cases, family allowance is granted up to 25 years of age, for instance if there is an overlap with the time spent on alternative civilian service. Parents with a disabled child are entitled to higher child benefit and for a longer period of time.

Childcare allowance

After the birth of a child, parents in Austria are generally entitled to benefits that may be dependent on income or not. Childcare allowance is a separate benefit provided by the state and granted on application. New legal provisions apply as of 1 March 2017 to all children born after that date.

Collecting society

A collecting society is an institution which collectively exercises copyrights and related right on behalf of a large number of copyright holders or holders of related rights with a view to joint exploitation.

Collective agreement

A collective agreement is an agreement concluded between employer and employee representatives in a given industry or occupational group. This agreement governs the framework of contracts and defines applicable minimum standards. Specific employment agreements between employers and employees must comply with the negotiated terms (e.g. collective-agreement minimum wage).

Collective exercise

Collective exercise (of rights) refers to the fact that an institution (here: collecting society) exercises the rights of its members (here: creators) collectively, so that not every individual has to exercise their rights individually.

Commitment letter

In a commitment letter, the inviter confirms that they will defray all expenses a public authority may incur for an artist. Non-EU citizens who wish to work in Austria, but cannot prove a secure livelihood, need a commitment letter.

Companies register

The companies register is a public register maintained by the regional courts (in Vienna by the Vienna commercial court, in Graz by the regional court for civil matters). The companies register retains and discloses facts which must be recorded. The companies register consists of a main ledger (the companies register proper), which contains all the company register entries, and a compilation of documents (this is a collection of those documents which underlie the company register entries, such as the Articles of Association or the balance sheet). Each legal entity is assigned a number in the companies register, the so-called company register number, which consists of numbers and a check letter.

Compulsory insurance under the Act on Social Insurance for Commerce and Trade

The Act on Social Insurance for Commerce and Trade (Gewerbliches Sozialversicherungsgesetz, GSVG) governs compulsory insurance of all persons qualifying as “self-employed“.

The following groups of persons are such insured under the GSVG:

Self-employed persons
New self-employed

Natural persons who are members of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
- Sole traders with a trade licence
- Persons working under a contract for work/services with a trade licence
- Partners of a general partnership (OG) if the partnership is a member of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
- Limited partners of a limited partnership (KG) if they are a member of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
- Partners or managing directors of a limited company (GesmbH) if the company is a member of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

Compulsory insurance under the General Social Insurance Act

In general, the following groups of persons are (fully or partially) insured on a compulsory basis under the General Social Insurance Act (Allgemeines Sozialversicherungsgesetz, ASVG):

- Employed persons
- Marginally employed persons (accident insurance only)
- Free service providers
- Homeworkers
- Children employed in the business of their parents (grandparents, adoptive of stepparents), even if they receive no remuneration for their work
- Managing board members and managing shareholders of a company limited by shares (AG)
- Managing partners of a limited liability company (GesmbH)

Concession

A concession (licence) is an official authorisation (to exercise an activity).

Confirmation of guaranteed work

The confirmation of guaranteed work is designed to recruit foreign workers who are to be employed in Austria for a limited period of time. It is an assurance given by the Public Employment Service (AMS) to the employer that an employment permit will be issued to a foreign national who has been recruited and lawfully entered the country. Moreover, the confirmation of guarantee work is to be submitted to the competent representation abroad where the foreign artist files an application for issuance of a visa or residence title.

Continued pay

See also sickness benefits.

In the event of sickness or accident, employed persons are entitled to continued pay for the duration of six weeks if they did not cause the sickness or accident by intent or gross negligence.
The entitlement to continued pay increases up to twelve weeks depending on the duration of employment. After that, employees are entitled to 50% of their pay for another four weeks.

Contract for work/services

Pursuant to the General Civil Code (ABGB) a contract for work/services exists if someone accepts remuneration for the production of a work. Unlike under an employment contract, the actual product is relevant. A work (specific service) or a defined output needs to be delivered.

Copyright notice

A copyright notice informs about the copyright to a work. It is advisable to add such a copyright notice. A copyright notice does not, however, affect the protection of a work, since copyright arises on creation of a work. A copyright notice is merely a means to prove the existence of a copyright.

Copyright term

The copyright term describes the “lifespan” of a copyright or ancillary right. At the end of the copyright term, the copyright expires and the work can be used by everyone.

Deductible

A deductible of 20% applies with the Social Insurance Institution for Commerce and Trade (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der gewerblichen Wirtschaft, SVA) and the Social Insurance Institution for Public-Sector Employees (Versicherung für Beamte, BVA) for medical services. This means that 20% of the medical service provided must be borne by the insured persons themselves. There is no deductible for children insured under dependent coverage and for stays in hospital.

Dependent coverage

In Austria, family members often have a right of dependent coverage with the statutory health insurance provider and of being included in their benefit regime. This applies to spouses, civil partners and, under certain conditions, cohabiting partners and children. 
Children may be covered free of charge. The same applies to spouses, civil partners and cohabiting partners if children under the age of 18 live in the same household, or nursing obligations were assumed to a certain extent for children in the past or nursing obligations are assumed. In all other cases, a surcharge of 3.4% of the assessment basis applies for dependent coverage.

Dismemberment schedule

In accident insurance, the dismemberment schedule is a measure for the degree of invalidity. The dismemberment schedule defines percentage rates for limbs (arm, hand, thumb or toes), for organs (e.g. kidney or spleen), and for the sensory organs (e.g. eyes, ears).

The value referred to in the dismemberment schedule always corresponds to a full (functional) loss of the defined part of the body. Significantly more frequent, a partial impairment is stated as a fraction, e.g. one fourth of the value for a leg.

Double Taxation Agreement (DTA)

Intergovernmental agreements, called double taxation agreements (DTAs), exist to prevent double taxation of income from international activities. These agreements lay down which state (state of residence, or state in which income is generated) has a right of taxation, and which state has to fully or partially renounce its right to taxation. The purpose is effective one-off taxation.
Austria has concluded double taxation agreements with most states: 
List of Austrian Double Taxation Agreements (https://english.bmf.gv.at/taxation/Double-Taxation-Agreements.html)

EEA states

The European Economic Area came into being in 1994 by an agreement concluded between the European Union (EU) and the so-called EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The EEA states form a common market.

The EEA contracting parties are the 28 EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom. Plus: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Switzerland is neither a member of the EU nor of the EEA, but associated with the EU by a number of bilateral agreements. In many respects, Swiss nationals are therefore equal to EU citizens 

EHIC

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is generally valid in all countries of the European Union. When visiting a physician or staying in hospital in other EU countries, it is necessary to fill in the corresponding forms. In some cases, the costs of medical appointments or hospital stays are settled directly with the home country and home country insurer where the e-card is registered. In many European countries, the costs of medical appointments and other medical services must be advanced in cash and then handed in for settlement in the home country with the health insurer, as appropriate. The accruing costs are not always fully compensated. Differences in tariffs in the different countries might also restrict a full cost refund.



For stays in countries outside the EU, taking out foreign health insurance is strongly recommended.

Educational leave

In Austria, employees may generally be granted leave by their employer for a period of at least two months and up to one year for further education and training. This leave must be agreed upon by the employer and the employee. There is no legal claim to educational leave. During the period of leave, the Public Employment Service (AMS) may disburse what is called educational leave allowance, the amount of which is more or less equal to unemployment benefits. The granting of educational leave is conditional on uninterrupted employment in a period of six months (three months with seasonal businesses) immediately preceding the leave, with compulsory unemployment insurance.

Employment/ service contract

An employment contract exists if someone commits themselves to perform work for another person. It is mutually binding, as both contracting parties (employer & employee) have rights as well as duties. The employment/service contract governs the rights and duties of employers and employees, unless they have been laid down on a compulsory basis by law or in collective bargaining agreements. 

Employment/service contracts are subject to compulsory social insurance under the General Social Insurance Act (Allgemeines Sozialversicherungsgesetz, ASVG) if the monthly remuneration is higher than the applicable marginal earnings threshold.

European Health Insurance Card

see EHIC.

Exclusive right of use

Exclusive right of use (exclusive license) means that the rights holder can exclude all others from use. The rights holder may, however, allow third parties (usually against compensation) to use the specific work in a given form.

Executive bodies

In a legal sense, executive bodies act for legal entities since the latter cannot act and decide as a natural person. An executive body may comprise one single person (e.g. individual bodies such as sole managing director) or several persons (e.g. boards/collegial bodies such as management boards, supervisory boards, meetings of members).

Exemption from deductible

You may apply to be exempted from the payment of prescription fees and deductibles on doctor’s fees in given family or health circumstances or if your income is low. Deductibles are collected by the Social Insurance Institution for Commerce and Trade (Sozialversicherung der Gewerblichen Wirtschaft, SVA) and also by the Social Insurance Institution for Public-Sector Employees (Beamtenversicherung, BVA). Moreover, SVA has introduced a bonus system for preventive healthcare measures under which the deductible may be lowered from 20% to 10%, regardless of how much you earn.

Extract from the Association Register

An extract from the association register within the terms of the 2002 Law on Associations provides information on the legal status of an association and the current representation. For data privacy reasons, the only personal data of officers authorised to represent the association which are shown are the function and the name.
Through the Central Association Register (ZVR), anyone may retrieve a standard extract from the association register via the internet address http://zvr.bmi.gv.at/ (individual online query).

erweiterter Jahresabschluss

see Financial statements.

Family allowance

Family allowance in Austria is granted as a monthly allowance to parents for their child/children, regardless of whether and in which form the parents are employed. Family allowance is granted until the age of 24. In exceptional cases, family allowance is granted up to 25 years of age, for instance if there is an overlap with the time spent on alternative civilian service. Parents with a disabled child are entitled to higher family allowance and for a longer period of time.

Financial statements

The financial statements represent the mathematical closing of a business year. They present the financial position and performance of a company. Pursuant to section §§ 222ff of the Companies Code (Unternehmensgesetzbuch, UGB), the financial statements consist of a balance sheet and an income statement, the financial statements of incorporated companies must also contain notes. If appropriate, the financial statements are complemented by a management report. Small traders and freelancers are not required to prepare financial statements, they generally compile a statement of revenues and expenses.

FinanzOnline

FinanzOnline allows electronic access to the fiscal administration so that most tax matters can be dealt with online. To use FinanzOnline, one-time registration (https://www.bmf.gv.at/egovernment/fon/fuer-buerger/Buerger-Anmeldung.html) is required.

Free service contract

The free service contract is not laid down in law. Pursuant to case law, a free service contract exists if a person commits himself or herself to make available their manpower to a principal for a defined or indefinite period of time against remuneration, without becoming personally dependent.

Free service contractors

Free service contractors carry out their work largely independently. In terms of labour law, they can freely agree on arrangements. In terms of social insurance law, they are more or less equal to employees. Free service contractors are pension, health and accident insured. Since 2008, they have been entitled to monetary benefits from the health insurance provider (maternity allowance, sickness benefits) similar to employees. In 2008, free service contractors were also integrated in the unemployment insurance scheme and they are also protected against losses from insolvency.
However, free service contractors are not entitled to continued pay in the case of sickness, nor to a holiday bonus!

Freelance work

Self-employed persons carry out activities at their own responsibility and as freelance professionals. Freelance professions include tax advisors, chartered accountants, medical doctors lawyers, etc.,...

Frontier worker

If someone works simultaneously or in the course of a year in several Member States of the European Union, because they live in an area close to the borders or realises artistic projects in several countries, the social laws of the state of residence always apply if a “substantial” activity is carried out there. This assessment is made by the social insurance institution of the country of residence.

General clause

Term used in VAT law. Under the general clause, the “place of supply” is determined depending on whether services are supplied to a foreign company or to a private person. From this, it is then derived in which country the supply will be taxed. (see also: place-of-supply principle und place-of-business principle)

General partner

General partners are partners with full liability in a general partnership (Offene Gesellschaft, OG) or a limited partnership (Kommanditgesellschaft, KG), who are liable for losses also to the extent of their private assets.

Genre

Genre refers to a particular type of oeuvre.

Harmonisation

Harmonisation means the alignment of different legal provisions.

Health insurance in Austria

The Austrian health insurance system generally provides for access to medical treatment (doctor’s visit) and hospital stays largely free of cost. 
Prevention and rehabilitation measures as well as curative treatments are also defrayed by the social insurance provider, at least on a pro-rata basis. Prescriptions carry a fee. In 2017 the prescription fee was EUR 5.86 per prescription. Some social insurance institutions (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Gewerblichen Wirtschaft SVA and Beamten Versicherungsanstalt BVA) charge a deductible of 20% on medical services. The scope of services paid by the different insurance providers differs – e.g. dental treatment. Not all physicians have a contract with all health insurance providers. Services provided by doctors without a contract may be claimed and settled retrospectively – although only on a shared basis – with the health insurer. Medical services rendered privately must be paid by the insured persons themselves (unless they have taken out special private insurance).

Patients are required to pay a defined amount for each day of hospitalisation. This amount is determined and collected by the providing entity (e.g. land, local authority) and differs in each land.

Compulsory insurance applies to
- Employed persons whose income exceeds the marginal earnings threshold
- Self-employed persons whose income exceeds the marginal earnings threshold
- Recipients of unemployment benefits
- Recipients of an old-age pension
- Family members of the above groups

Voluntary self-insurance is available for everybody – and highly recommended for marginally employed persons!

IG Network

IG Network was set up in 1991 by IG Freie Theaterarbeit to help independent theatre groups in paying their social insurance contributions with grants. IG Network is administered by IG Freie Theaterarbeit and financed by the Federal Chancellery’s arts department.
Grants by IG Network are given to independent theatre groups/ theatre societies who employ staff. For further information see: IG Freie Theaterarbeit/IG-Netz (http://freietheater.at/en/service/ig-netz/)

Ideal purpose

Term used in association law. An “ideal” association is the most frequent and typical form of an association. A non-profit purpose is not directly aimed at economic activity and therefore not at generating profits. 
Non-profit purposes include:
Common-benefit purposes: serve to promote the public in general, the common good at spiritual, cultural, moral or material level.
Charitable purposes: serve to support/promote persons in need of material or personal help
Ecclesiastic purposes: serve to promote recognised churches and religious communities

Input tax

Businesses are refunded by the tax office for those amounts of VAT which they have to pay to acquire goods or services as what is called input tax. This is done as part of the VAT return sent to the tax office. In this return, businesses are allowed to offset amounts of VAT payable to the tax office against input tax paid (=input tax deduction).

Insurance cover

The cover is the maximum amount which the insurer must pay out under the contract upon the occurrence of an insured event.

There are two types of insurance: household insurance, legal expenses insurance and similar (= indemnity insurance) specify an insurance cover up to which the insurance must indemnify the insured person for an insured damage or loss. With life insurance and similar (= fixed-sum insurance), the insurance company will pay out an insured amount that was agreed previously.

Intellectual property law

Intellectual property law is that sphere of law which serves the protection of intellectual property: It includes:

- Copyright
- Trademark law
- Patent law
- Utility model law ("small patent")
- Semiconductor protection (typographies of microchips)
- Variety protection (plant breeding)
- Protection certificates (drugs patents)
- Registered design law

Law on the Promotion of new businesses

The Law on the Promotion of new businesses (Neugründungsförderungsgesetz, NeuFöG) was adopted to help start-ups save costs during formation and takeovers. 

The start-up or transfer declaration must be submitted before or on claiming funding (e.g. upon registration of a trade). Later submission of the form bars the applicant from being reimbursed for taxes, charges and levies already paid. The mere change of the corporate form of a company is not eligible for funding.

Legal person

There are two types of entities in a legal sense: natural persons (=private persons) and legal persons.

A characteristic of both natural and legal persons is that they enjoy capacity to act, i.e. they themselves exercise rights and duties and can therefore sue (and be sued) in court.
Legal persons are bodies corporate which include companies limited by shares, partnerships limited by shares, limited companies, cooperatives, associations, foundations.
Partnerships (simple partnerships, limited and general partnerships) are no legal entities of their own. As a consequence, not the company but the individual shareholders are taxed.

Legal personality

Legal personality means you can acquire rights, enter into obligations, sue and be sued.

Liability

Liability refers to the fact that a party other than the person directly affected takes on responsibility for a loss or damage, in other means an obligation to compensate for damages (third-party liability).

Limited partner

The limited partner is a partner in a limited partnership (Kommanditgesellschaft, KG) whose liability is limited.

Limited tax liability

Persons who do not have a place of residence or habitual residence in Austria (= that place where you spend more than six months /183 days a year) are subject to limited tax liability in Austria. Nationality is not relevant in this assessment. If a person subject to limited tax liability generates earnings in Austria, the state may, in defined cases, tax these earnings.

Marginal earnings threshold

The marginal earnings threshold is the amount which must not be exceeded in marginal employment. The marginal earnings threshold is indexed annually. In 2017, the marginal earnings threshold was EUR 425.70 a month.

Marginal employment

Marginally employed persons are persons who generate earnings under an employment/ service contract which do not exceed the marginal earnings threshold. Up to that level, income from employment/ service contracts is not subject to compulsory insurance, unless another employment exists.

Maternity allowance

The following applies to employees: Pursuant to the provisions of the Maternity Act (Mutterschutzgesetz) expecting mothers must not be employed starting from the beginning of the eighth week prior to the estimated day of childbirth. To make sure that they do not suffer any financial disadvantage during this time period, they receive maternity allowance from their social insurance institution which, in principle, replaces their full net income. Self-insured persons in marginal employment receive a fixed amount of maternity allowance.

Means-tested minimum income

The means-tested minimum income is a social welfare benefit in Austria that is used by the federal states to fight poverty. It replaced the different social welfare benefit regimes that used to exist in the different federal states. The means-tested minimum income consists of a cash benefit and free health insurance.

Minimum limit

If a non-national recipient of a fee receives not more than EUR 1,000 per calendar year in Austria from an organiser and if he/she does not earn more than EUR 2,000 in that year in Austria, he/she is not liable for the payment of tax for non-nationals. Travel allowances and other outlays may be received in addition to the minimum amount. To benefit from this provision, fee recipients must specify their place of living (address) and prove their identity by submitting a copy of their passport.

Minimum pension/ Compensatory allowance

Persons receiving a very small pension are entitled to a compensatory allowance from the state up to the amount of the minimum pension. A compensatory allowance is granted to persons living in Austria whose monthly income as a single person in 2017 was less than EUR 889.84. The income limit for spouses and partners living in a joint household is EUR 1,334.17 for their joint income (assessment base 2017). Since 2017 persons having acquired 360 months of contributions to the compulsory insurance based on gainful activity are entitled to a higher compensatory allowance of EUR 1,000. The compensatory allowance is a welfare benefit by the state. All additional income/earnings are directly offset against the compensatory allowance as appropriate.

Minimum period of insurance

The minimum period of insurance is the number of months insured which are necessary to acquire an entitlement to a later pension. Persons born as of 1955 in Austria may retire if they have acquired 180 months of insurance (15 years) by the cut-off date. Of this, at least 83 months of insurance (7 years) must have been acquired through gainful activity.

Monopoly

= Market dominance.

A monopoly is a market position in which there is only one supplier for an economic commodity.

Multiple insurance

Owing to the way in which the Austrian social insurance system is organised, it may be necessary to register for concurrent insurance with different social insurance providers, when different activities are carried out.

Natural person

A natural person is a person in his/her function as a legal entity, i.e. as someone who has rights and duties.

New self-employed

Persons who generate taxable income from a self-employed business activity and who do not need a trade licence for that activity (e.g. artists, lecturers, psychotherapists) are called new self-employed persons. They carry out their business activity within the framework of a contract for work/services.

Opting In

Opting In” refers to voluntary self-insurance with the Social Insurance Institution for Commerce and Trade (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der gewerblichen Wirtschaft, SVA) if income from self-employed work in any given year fell short of the compulsory insurance limit of EUR 5,108.40 (value for 2017). SVA offers the possibility of enrolling in voluntary health and accident insurance even if the insurance limits were not reached. However, no pension insurance contributions are paid.

Penalty in social insurance for self-employed persons

The tax office transmits to the social insurance institution the relevant data of the income tax notices, so that the Social Insurance Institution for Commerce and Trade (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Gewerblichen Wirtschaft, SVA) has a full picture of the earnings from self-employed work that is relevant for social insurance. If it is found only after an income tax notice has been issued that a person has a duty of compulsory social insurance, the SVA imposes a penalty in the amount of 9.3%. The surcharge is not applicable if the social insurance institution was notified within eight weeks after the issue of the tax notice that the insurance threshold has been exceeded.

Pension entitlement

The pension amount is calculated based on the length of insurance and the amount of contributions paid. In Austria, entitlement to a pension arises after 15 contribution years.

Pension types

There is a distinction between pensions in the insured’s own right and survivors’ pension.

Pension’s in the insured’s own right:
Old-age pension, Corridor pension, Pensions for persons in physically demanding jobs, Early retirement on the grounds of long insurance periods, Sickness-related pension, Pension for survivors continuing the deceased’s business (for self-employed persons only)

Survivor’s pension:
Widow’s/widower’s pension, Pension for surviving civil partners , Orphan’s pension

Place of business principle

Term used in VAT law: If services are supplied across national borders by an Austrian business to a private person residing abroad (B2C – business to consumer), they are deemed according to the general clause to have been made at the place where the domestic entrepreneur has his or her place of business (= place of business principle).

Similar to when invoicing domestic customers, the Austrian business must charge VAT and transmit it to the tax office. 

Place-of-supply principle

This term is used in VAT law. If services are supplied by an Austrian business (B2B – business to business) across national borders, they are deemed to have been supplied at the place where the recipient operates his or her business (place-of-supply principle) under the general clause

In such a case, the Austrian VAT Act does not apply, Austrian VAT is not charged, but the Reverse Charge Method (transfer of tax liability) is applied, according to which liability for the payment of VAT is transferred to the foreign business partner.

Posting

The following applies to persons who want to work within the EU: the country of origin remains responsible for social insurance for temporary work up to 24 months in another EU Member State. The underlying principle is that of a temporary posting abroad.

The E-Form A1 must be completed in advance.
People may also be posted to countries outside of the European Union. Specific forms exist in many cases as well. Employed persons may be posted by their employer, self-employed persons may post themselves.

Prevailing opinion

In a legal sense, the “prevailing opinion” is the position predominantly held in a specific matter in dispute.

Protective right

Protective rights grant the rights holder a right of use and to exclude others from use.

Pseudonymous works

Pseudonymous works are works whose authors chose a fictitious name as their creator.

Publication of a judgment

The purpose of publishing a judgment is to inform the public about an infringement of the law. Publication may be in different media, e.g. the papers, on TV, but also on Internet. It depends on the individual case how and where a judgment must be published.

Recourse

In civil law, recourse means that a person liable to pay compensation for damages (e.g. an insurance company) falls back on a third party (e.g. person causing a damage) who is liable vis-à-vis the former.

Examples: A third-party liability insurer is liable for the payment of damages and demands re-payment from the person causing the damage.
A fire insurance provider pays a compensation to the owner of a building who sustained damage and takes recourse on the person causing the fire.

Registration with the social insurance provider

Anyone who engages in a business activity as a new self-employed person and expects income from self-employed activity in the current year above the applicable insurance limit of EUR 5,108.40 must register with the Social Insurance Institution for Commerce and Trade (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Gewerblichen Wirtschaft, SVA). Insurance cover starts upon submission of the registration. The contributions are provisionally assessed by SVA on a quarterly basis in the amount of the minimum contribution. Failing to register for compulsory social insurance with SVA in good time carries a penalty of 9.3% on the assessed contributions. The surcharge will not be levied if a report that you have exceeded the insurance limit is made within eight weeks after the relevant tax notice has been issued.

Representation by the executive bodies

Representation by the executive bodies refers to the representation of legal entities who are not natural persons by their executive bodies. A person who is not a natural person can act through its representatives and be a party to legal transactions. Non-natural persons are in particular legal persons (e.g. registered associations, companies limited by shares, specifically their managing) but also groups of persons who have partial legal capacity (e.g. general partnership).

As a legal person, a company with limited liability (GmbH) has legal capacity in legal transactions through its managing director who acts on its behalf.

Requirement of a trade licence

Unlike in other countries of the European Union, many professions and occupations in Austria require a trade licence, such as translators. Being a holder of a trade licence has consequences on social insurance and triggers membership in the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.

Residence permit

A residence permit is a title allowing a person to legally stay in a certain territory for a defined period of time. A residence permit, however, does not automatically entitle the holder to take up an activity in that territory.

Retirement age/ Statutory retirement age

The statutory retirement age in Austria is currently 65 years for men and 60 years for women. The retirement age for women will be gradually raised in the coming years. All women born after June 1968 will have to work until the age of 65.

Reverse charge

Reverse charging (transfer of tax liability) is a VAT rule applicable to cross-border services between companies according to which, under the general clause, the tax liability passes from the supplying company to the foreign company receiving the supply.

Rome I Regulation

The Rome I Regulation is an EU regulation governing contractual obligations within the European Union. It lays down which national law applies to contracts.

Schengen area

The Schengen agreements were international agreements designed in particular to eliminate stationary border controls at the internal borders of the participating countries. The Schengen area is not congruent with that of the EU Member States.

The Schengen states are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany Italy, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the non-EU members Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Nationals of the EU states, the EEA states and Switzerland do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area. Members of countries for which the visa requirement was lifted based on bilateral or multilateral agreements, do not require a visa if they do not stay longer than 90 days in the Schengen area and do not engage in gainful activities (see positive third-countries).
All others require a visa to enter the Schengen area.

Self-employed pension fund

Like all new self-employed, self-employed artists subject to compulsory insurance must pay 1.53% of the assessment basis as a monthly contribution into a pension fund since 2008. If self-employed work is discontinued or the person retires, these amounts give rise to benefits which are similar to the severance pay/new system for employees.

A claim to a benefit/pay-out exists if contributions were paid for at least three years and the business activity has been discontinued for at least two years or if the person has reached the statutory retirement age. The amount of the benefits depends on the level of contributions paid and on the performance of the pension insurance fund. The pension funds inform the insured persons annually about their current balance of accounts.

Severance pay/new system

Under the new law on severance pay all employees having started a new employment as of 1 January 2003 are entitled to new-system severance pay. The pay-out depends on how the employment contract was terminated. Since 1 January 2008, the new severance pay system applies also to free service contractors and to self-employed persons.

Sickness benefits

In the event of sickness or accident, employed persons are entitled to continued payment for the duration of six weeks, if they did not cause the sickness or accident by intent or gross negligence.
The entitlement to continued pay increases up to twelve weeks depending on the duration of employment. After that, employees are entitled to 50% of their pay for another four weeks.

Simulcasting

Simulcasting is the broadcasting of the same content across several channels at exactly the same time, such as the simultaneous availability of a programme via antenna, satellite and digital on internet.

Small business regime - VAT

Pursuant to section 6(1) subpara 27 VAT Act (Umsatzsteuergesetz, UStG), small businesses may apply to be exempted from VAT if their total turnover does not exceed EUR 30,000 a year. You are allowed to exceed this limit by not more than 15% once within five calendar years. This tax exemption is called ‘small business regime‘.

Small business regime - insurance

Every self-employed person (regardless of whether a sideline activity is pursued as an employee or housewife, etc.) may apply to be exempted from pension and health insurance to the Social Insurance for Commerce and Trade (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Gewerblichen Wirtschaft) if a maximum annual turnover of EUR 30,000 is not exceeded and the maximum surplus of income of over expenditure (according to the tax notice) does not exceed 12 times the amount of the monthly marginal earnings threshold. However, small business operators must at any rate pay accident insurance contributions.

Social insurance in Austria

Anyone living and/or working in Austria whose income is in excess of a defined threshold, is subject to compulsory insurance in the Austrian social insurance scheme. Moreover, there are options for insurance at special terms, such as for students, dependent coverage for relatives and voluntary self-insurance e.g. for low-income earners.
The Austrian social insurance system covers:
- Health insurance
- Accident insurance
- Pension insurance
- Unemployment insurance

Standard taxation

Term used in VAT law: Since small businesses are VAT exempt, they are not entitled to deducting input tax. There is, however, a possibility to opt into the standard taxation regime, meaning to voluntarily opt for VAT liability and thereby acquire the right to deduct input tax.

Statutes

The Statutes are the basis for the organisation of an association. The founders of an organisation are free to design the Statutes within the framework of the law.

Subcontractor

Subcontractors are business operators contracted by other business operators to perform a part of a contract.

Example: A sound engineer rents out to a festival organiser a P.A. system and provides the sound engineer. Since the festival organiser does not have the required equipment and know-how, he must hire a subcontractor. Both remain independent.

Suspension

Since 2011, artists may suspend self-employed artistic work and the concurrent compulsory insurance with SVA. In this way, they are entitled to unemployment benefits during the period of suspension, even if income from self-employed work in the relevant calendar year exceeds the marginal earnings threshold, provided that all other criteria are met.

Under the Act on the Artists’ Social Insurance Fund (KSVFG) only artistic activities within the meaning of section 2 of the Act can be suspended. If non-artistic activities are carried out during the period of suspension, they must be clearly set apart PRIOR to a notification of suspension in consultation with SVA and the person may generate additional earnings from non-artistic work up to the marginal earnings threshold. more

Tax assessment

Filing a tax return with the tax office.

Tax assessment period

That period for which a tax return is prepared (normally a calendar year).

Tax liability

Balance between VAT payable and input tax which is refunded by the tax office. Depending on whether the VAT payable or the deductible input tax is higher, this results in either a debit or a credit.

Tax office at the place of residence/ tax office at the place of business

The tax office at the place of residence is that tax office within the remit of which a taxable person has his or her place of residence or habitual residence.
The tax office at the place of business is that tax office within the remit of which a corporate entity (e.g. association, GmbH,..) has its registered seat.

Temporary residence permit - artists

Temporary residence permit - artists The temporary residence permit for artists is a special residence permit which requires additional criteria to be met, while other requirements (e.g. language skills) are waived.

Territoriality principle

The territoriality principle relates to governing law and addresses the issue as to which law is to be applied to which persons, when and where. In general, the territoriality principle states that all persons are subject to sovereign power, i.e. the laws of that country on whose territory they currently are.

Third countries

Countries which are not a member of the EU, the EEA or a contracting party to the EU are called third countries (also third-states). Switzerland can be considered a privileged third country. Owing to the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons concluded between the EU and Switzerland, Swiss nationals enjoy similar rights of free movement as all other Union citizens. Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City are Euro countries but non-EU countries and therefore third countries.
A differentiation is made between positive and negative third countries: citizens from positive countries are allowed to enter the Schengen area without a visa for up to three months. Nationals of negative third countries require a valid visa to enter.

Trade licence

In Austria, trade activities must be notified to the competent authorities. The trade licence serves as evidence of notification and entitles the holder to exercise a trade or occupation.

Traders

Traders are business operators who require a trade licence for their activity under the Austrian Trade Code. The trade authorities or the Federal Economic Chamber will inform you whether you need a trade licence or not. The pertaining legal provisions are laid down in section 1 of the Trade Code (Gewerbeordnung).

Transfer of unemployment benefits in the European Union

A person who receives unemployment benefits in a country must, as a general principle, remain in that country to be available for any new employment. In certain circumstances, unemployment benefits may be transferred for a limited period of three months (possibly six months if certain criteria are met) to another EU country if it can be proven that the likelihood of finding employment is more realistic there.

Unemployment assistance

In Austria, unemployment assistance may be granted if given requirements are met once the claim to unemployment benefits expires.

Unemployment assistance depends on the income of the applicant and the income of his/her spouse or, with unmarried couples, on the income of the life partner if the two persons are cohabitees. 

Note: unemployment assistance does not depend on whether someone lives in their own home or apartment. The assessment basis relates to what they earn, not to what they own.
Unemployment assistance is granted for as long as a financial distress lasts and is therefore not limited in time. After 12 months, the financial emergency is reassessed and a new application must be filed.

Unemployment benefits in Austria

Unemployment benefits are state benefits, which are disbursed by the Austrian Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice Österreich, AMS) in the case of unemployment provided that the insured has acquired a claim on the basis of employed activities or payments to an unemployment fund for self-employed persons.

Unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance is a compulsory statutory insurance covering the risk of unemployment. A claim to unemployment benefits is acquired through periods of employment during which an employed activity that is subject to compulsory insurance was carried out. 

Self-employed persons may also acquire a claim to unemployment benefits by making voluntary payments to an unemployment insurance fund. As the statutory provisions are extremely complex only few people in Austria choose this option. If necessary, make sure to seek personal advice.

Unlimited tax liability

Self-employed persons having a place of residence or habitual residence in Austria (= place where you spend more than six months /183 days a year) are subject to unlimited tax liability in Austria. Unlimited tax liability means that the state of residence has a comprehensive right of taxation of the entire, globally generated income.

VAT identification number

Entrepreneurs who are subject to VAT receive a VAT identification number (UID number). By stating the VAT number, the entrepreneur indicates vis-à-vis his or her business partners that he or she is liable for the payment of VAT.

Visa D

A visa D (Austria) entitles the holder to stay between 91 days and up to six months in the entire Schengen area; it is not, however, a work permit. Only Austrian representations can issue a visa D.

Visa requirement

A visa is a confirmation by a foreign country, usually inserted in a passport, allowing entry, transit or stay. Nationals of defined countries (third countries) require a visa to enter Austria and/or the European Union or the Schengen area.

Voluntary self-insurance

In Austria, voluntary self-insurance is available to provide comprehensive insurance cover to persons who are not covered by compulsory insurance, such as low-income earners. With the regional insurance fund (GKK) and with SVA, voluntary self-insurance covers health insurance, only with the regional insurance fund also pension entitlements are acquired.

Warning

If a copyright is infringed, the copyright holders may issue a warning to the infringers. The warning is usually sent by an attorney at law, but may also be issued by copyright holders themselves. The warning usually contains a request to end the infringement and to make a cease-and-desist declaration. It also asks for compensation for damages and reimbursement of legal costs.

Webcasting

In terms of its purpose, a webcast is similar to a radio or TV programme, but designed for the internet. Live webcasts offer interactivity.