A holding company registered in Austria is usually a company which owns shares in another company. The quantity of shares owned in another firm determines the powers the holding company has in its management . The companies may be in Austria or abroad.
The Austrian holding companies are constituted as Gesellschaft mit beschraenkter Haftung (private limited company - GmbH) or Aktiengesellschaft (joint stock company - AG).
The limited liability company can be formed with one shareholder and one director with a minimum share capital of EUR 35.000 in cash or kind. The joint stock company can be incorporated by at least one shareholder with a minimum capital of at least EUR 70.000. This capital is divided into shares and each share has to value at least EUR 1.
The advantages of opening a holding company are numerous:
- exemptions granted for the corporate tax of 25% (usually the tax payable is EUR 1,750 for a Gmbh and EUR 3,500 for an AG),
- a vast network of double tax treaties that can be applied to this companies (which are granting exemptions from withholding taxes on dividends, interests and royalties and exemptions from paying corporate and income taxes),
- various treaties such as the EC Interest and Royalties Directive, EC Parent/Subsidiary Directive and the EC Merger Directive,
- the mergers, demergers and contributions of qualifying asset can be effected in a tax-free manner,
- Austria has no formal thin-capitalization rules.
The registration of a holding company in Austria as a limited liability company or a joint stock company takes around 25 days if all the documents are in order and deposited on time.
In the beginning, the minimum share capital must be deposited in a bank account and a certificate of deposit has to be requested.
The articles of association or the declaration of establishment must be notarized before registration in the local court. An announcement regarding the incorporation is published in the Wiener Zeitung followed by the registration at the Tax Office.
The following step is the registration made at the authority in the Trade Register. If the company will have employees, they must be registered for social security.
The last step of incorporation is the registration with the municipality. The registration in the Register Trade, for social security and with the municipality is made in the same time with the registration at the Tax Office.
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