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TAX

Everything you need to know about paying tax in Austria

What are the differences between being employed or working for yourself? When does the tax year start? And how much will you actually have to pay? Here's what you need to know.

man holding euros
ATTA KENARE / AFP

Income tax

In Austria you will be taxed progressively on your income, whether you are self employed or employed by a firm. Some future changes to taxation are being planned for upcoming years. Income is only taxed when it exceeds €11,000 per year.

Income from

Income until

Tax rate (current)

Tax rate (new)

€ 0,- 

€ 11.000,-  

0%

0%

€ 11.000,- 

€ 18.000,-  

 

20%

20%

€ 18.000,-  

€ 31.000,-  

35%

30%

€ 31.000,-  

€ 60.000,-  

42%

40%

€ 60.000,-  

€ 90.000,-  

48%

48%

€ 90.000,-  

€ 1.000.000,-  

50%

50%

€ 1.000.000,-  

 

55%

55%

The tax year

The tax year in Austria starts 1st January, unlike in some other countries such as the UK, where it runs from 1st April.

Tax returns should be filed by the end of June for the previous year if you are filing tax online. 

However, if you employ a tax adviser the deadline for tax returns can be extended to February. 

A one-time meeting with a tax advisor to create a tax declaration usually costs between €120 and €200, but obviously if your business is more complicated it may cost more. 

Most self-employed people in Austria do employ a tax advisor, as there are many complicated rules and exceptions. 

SVS

If you are self-employed in Austria, once your income exceeds €5,710.32 annually, you must also pay compulsory health and social insurance SVS (also known as SVA).

Social security contributions are tax-deductible in Austria.

Being employed in Austria

Taxes in Austria may seem high at first. For example, a person earning around €18,000 per year could probably expect to pay €1,400 of tax on €7,000 of taxable income.

However, there are many benefits to working in Austria. Excellent healthcare and also two months of extra “bonus payments” per year, normally before Christmas and in May.

These payments are taxed at 6 per cent. 

There are also many tax deductible benefits depending on your employer. 

If you are employed by a company, they will take care of your social and health insurance through the Österreichische Gesundheitskasse (ÖGK). 

Becoming self-employed in Austria

Identifying the right type of self-employment is the first step to becoming a freelancer in Austria, and there are four different categories:

  • New self-employed (Neue Selbständige)
  • Liberal professional (Freiberufler)
  • Self-employed with a free or regulated business licence (Freie/ Reglementierte Gewerbe)
  • Independent contractors (Freie Dienstnehmer).

Business registration can be done at the Wirtschaftskammer Österreich (WKÖ), or the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. This is also somewhere you may be able to get help with someone who speaks English. 

There is an annual WKÖ fee of €100, plus annual business fees and tourism tax to pay as a freelancer.

Essential websites

Social insurance: sozialversicherung.at

ÖGK: gesundheitskasse.at

WKO: wko.at

SVS (for self-employed insurance): svs.at

NOTE: This article is only a guide to some of the more common rules and procedures associated with paying tax in Austria. It is not intended to serve as legal advice. Have we gotten something wrong? Get in touch at [email protected].

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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about recycling in Austria

Austria is keen on recycling, but the many different types of waste cans are sometimes confusing to newcomers and foreigners. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about recycling in Austria

Recycling is very much a part of Austrian culture. You will also find different bins for different waste items in almost every household in the country.

Every year, in Vienna alone, about 100,000 tons of recyclable organic material is collected in over 80,000 containers and processed into compost. This, in turn, can be collected by citizens in household quantities – so you can use your own trash to grow your plants.

Glass is also collected in separate containers, at over 2,500 public locations and at the dung places in the city. However, as they can be noisy, people should only dispose of glass waste between 6am and 10pm, according to the City of Vienna.

READ ALSO: How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

There are several containers throughout the cities where you can dispose of your waste. Still, it is crucial to do it right – and your neighbour will knock on your door if the things you are putting your paper together with your “common” trash.

Here are the main types of waste cans you will find in Austria – it is worth pointing out that these are based in the capital Vienna and might look a bit different depending on your region.

Waste paper

The Altpapier Karton, a red-coloured waste carton, is where you should dump your newspapers, magazines, catalogues, brochures, books, writing paper, letters, copybooks and telephone directories, as well as clean frozen food boxes, paper bags, and cardboard boxes (folded or filled with paper).

This is not a place to drop any composite materials, such as milk and beverage cartons, carbon paper, dirty papers, or receipts.

Organic waste

Also known as Biomüll, it usually has a brown colour. This is where you should throw away your lawn, tree and hedge cuttings. Weeds, shrubs, windfall, leaves, water plants, unseasoned and uncooked fruit and vegetable scraps, stale bread, coffee grounds, or tea leaves.

Organic waste disposal is no place for plastic, eco plastic bags, or eco plastic products. You should also not throw away meat, bones, food leftovers, large branches, eggs, dairy products, content from vacuum cleaner bags, cat litter, varnished or laminated wood, hazardous waste, composite materials such as nappies or milk cartons, or soil.

READ ALSO: Why does Vienna’s waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?

Clear glass

The clear glass (Weissglass) container, a grey one, will hold clear non-returnable glass bottles and pickle jars (they should be empty but not necessarily cleaned). You can also drop clear, condensed milk and soft drinks and any clear glass containers and transparent wine and liquor bottles.

Do not throw in any coloured glass, bottle caps, corks, lead seals (such as champagne bottles), screw tops, plastic bottles, mirrors, window glass, flat or wired glass, light bulbs, china, crystal glass or drinking glasses.

Coloured glass

The green container is reserved for Buntglass or coloured glass. This is where you should throw your coloured non-returnable glass bottles, such as slightly coloured glass, wine, soft drinks, and liquor bottles.

Brown and green glass can go in here together, along with other non-clear glasses. 

READ ALSO: Austria to challenge EU nuclear green label in court

Just as with the clear glass, it is essential not to throw bottle caps, corks, lead seals (such as the ones from champagne bottles), screw tops, plastic bottles, mirrors, window glass, flat or wired glass, light bulbs, china, ceramics, crystal glass or drinking glasses.

Plastic bottles, drink cartons, cans

The yellow collection container will receive any plastic bottles, drink cartons and cans (Plastikflaschen, Getränkekartons, Dosen). This includes all plastic bottles for drinks (PET bottles), for supplies such as vinegar and dairy products, detergents and household cleaners, and plastic containers for cosmetics and toiletries.

READ ALSO: Hasta la mista, baby? How to vote for your favourite Vienna trash can joke

You may also add other plastic bottles, beverage cans, food cans, metal foil, metal tubes, metal tops of jars, and bottles.

Do not turn in any plastic bottles, engine oil bottles, lubricant and adhesive bottles, plastic cups, plastic foil, plastic bags, meat trays, styrofoam, rubber foam, wood, textiles, canisters, buckets, cookware, tools, cables, wires, bathroom or kitchen taps, pipes, steel straps, paint, varnish, and spray cans, etc.

Other waste

The black box will receive all your other waste (Restmüll) and any other residual waste that shouldn’t be thrown in the recycle bins and is not hazardous or bulky.

Hazardous waste or bulky trash

It is illegal to dispose of hazardous or bulky waste in these containers. Instead, there are several collection points in Vienna and other cities where you can leave them. City services will also collect bulky waste for a small fee.

Do you have any more questions about recycling and waste separation in Austria? Get in touoch at [email protected] and we will find the answers for you.

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