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EXPLAINED: How to claim your €150 energy discount in Austria

Austria is sending out "energy vouchers" to some four million households, in an effort to cushion rising living costs in the country.

EXPLAINED: How to claim your €150 energy discount in Austria
Energy prices and cost of living are increasing in Austria as the government looks for ways to cushion the effects for the population. Pictured is a powerline. Photo by Fré Sonneveld on Unsplash

By the end of May, around four million households in Austria will receive a voucher worth € 150 to discount their energy bills. 

The one-off payment is part of a larger package by the federal government to assist residents as the country faces soaring energy prices and increasing inflation, as reported. 

Around one million vouchers will be sent each week, and each primary residence should receive a voucher by post by the end of May.

The bonus is directly connected to the electricity supplier. It can be redeemed by single-person households with an annual income of up to € 55,000 or residences with more people and up to € 110,000 yearly income.

voucher for energy costs in austria

The website to redeem the energy voucher can also be found in English.

How do I redeem the voucher?

The € 150 discount voucher will be mailed to households and can be redeemed online. People entitled to the discount can scan the QR code on the voucher or go to the official government page, which also has an English version.

READ ALSO: Is Austria set for a gas price hike – and what can you do to avoid it?

You are then prompted to enter the data of the energy customer and asked to keep the voucher number and check number so you can check the status of the application.  

According to the official page, consumers should receive a credit worth €150 with their energy provider’s annual or final invoice. 

The voucher can also be redeemed by post. You need to confirm your main residence, that you do not go over the income limit (for a single-person household, the limit corresponds to a monthly gross salary of about €5,670 for employees, double that for multi-person homes).

You should also specify your electricity supplier, note down your voucher number and your check digit and complete the fields in the voucher. Finally, you can then send the return envelope back by post.

The voucher must be redeemed, either electronically or by mail, at least until October 31st. 

Who can redeem the voucher?

Every registered person registered in the central office (Zentralen Medleregister) with a primary residence in Austria will receive a voucher by mail, but not everyone can redeem it.

According to the federal government, people must have had their main residence at the registered address for at least one day from March 15th 2022, to June 30th of the same year. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why are fuel prices increasing faster in Austria than elsewhere in the EU?

Additionally, the person who redeems needs to be the paying customer of an energy supplier, so if you have moved abroad and no longer have a contract, you can no longer use the voucher and not go over the income limits. 

People can only redeem one voucher, so if you moved your main residence within this period and received two vouchers, only one can be used. 

What if I haven’t received my voucher?

The government intends to send the vouchers by post until the end of May. Still, it alerts that if you haven’t received one by July 2022, you can use the website to check what happened or call 050 233 798 and request a voucher until August 31st. 

READ ALSO: Will inflation force tax changes in Austria from 2023?

What if the € 150 is higher than the amount due in the electricity bill?

In that case, according to the federal government, the excess amount will be credited by the electricity supplier for later invoices. 

Useful vocabulary

Voucher – Gutschein

Electricity supplier – Stromlieferant

Main place of residence – Hauptwohnsitz

Income Limitation – Einkunftsgrenze

Payslip – Lohnzettel

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MONEY

EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s ‘Tax Freedom Day’?

People in Austria are working longer to finance government spending, leading to calls for a tax reform. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: What is Austria's 'Tax Freedom Day'?

Anyone that lives and works in Austria will be aware that this is a high tax country. But what does Tax Freedom Day actually mean?

Here’s a quick explainer.

READ MORE: Over half of Austrians on financially shaky ground: survey

Tax Freedom Day is not a tax-free day

Tax Freedom Day (otherwise known at Taxpayer Memorial Day) is the date when the Austrian population starts working to fund their own pockets, rather than the government’s.

In 2022, it falls on Monday August 15th – one day later than in 2021.

Martin Gundinger, a Research Fellow at the Austrian Economics Center, said: “This means that the Austrian population works seven and a half months exclusively to finance government spending.”

Among OECD countries, Austria has one of the highest wage and non-wage labour costs at 47.8 percent. Only Belgium (52.6 percent) and Germany (48.1 percent) have higher costs than Austria, reports Kurier.

Non-wage labour costs refer to an employer’s expenditure on personnel, such as social security and insurance contributions.

READ ALSO: Where are energy prices going up (again) in Austria?

Calls to reduce the tax burden in Austria

As the Austrian economy feels the heat from the increased cost of living and rising interest rates, there are calls for the federal government to reduce labour costs in Austria.

Christiane Holzinger, Federal Chair of the Young Economy in the Austrian Economic Chamber, said: “Reducing the cost of labour is an essential factor for the workplace and business location – and right now it is the best recipe for an economic upswing.”

READ ALSO: When will you get your cost of living ‘bonus’ payments in Austria?

Likewise, Barbara Kolm, Director of the Austrian Economics Center, is worried that Tax Freedom Day could arrive later each year, which will further increase the economic burden on businesses and employees.

Kolm said: “Rising interest rates lead to higher burden to repay the debt. If there is no willingness for comprehensive reforms, Tax Freedom Day will be pushed back further.”

READ MORE: Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Gundinger, from the Austrian Economics Center, is also calling for a tax reform in Austria.

He said: “Against the background of the rising inflation rate, a reduction in taxes – along with cuts in government spending – makes sense.”

“Decreasing taxes ensure higher productivity, and if more is produced, this has a price-dampening effect. In this respect, an urgent rethinking of politics is necessary, which is currently trying to counteract this with additional expenditure and special levies.”

Additionally, the New Austria and Liberal Forum (NEOS) is calling for the expansion of state-funded childcare for all children from the age of one to allow more women to enter the workforce on a full time basis.

The NEOS also want to end cold progression (when the tax burden increases but income does not due to inflation) and reduce non-wage labour costs by 6.55 percent.

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