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EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about Austria’s climate bonus payment

Residents in Austria will receive up to €200 to compensate for the increase in energy and fuel prices created by the eco-social tax reform. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about Austria's climate bonus payment
Austrian Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology Leonore Gewessler. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP

The climate bonus, or Klimabonus in German, is an essential part of Austria’s eco-tax reform, a larger project with several measures to incentivise environmental choices such as riding the public transport.

The bonus would offset some of the costs brought by a new CO2 tax in Austria.

READ ALSO: Austrian government unveils ‘eco’ tax reform

“With the Klimabonus, we ensure that climate-friendly behaviour is rewarded and the people in our country are relieved. If you take good care of the climate, you pay less CO2 tax and end up having more of this money left”, Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said on Twitter.

The Austrian government plans to set up a web site with more information on the bonus in June. Until then, here is what you need to know about the new compensation and how to get it.

Who is entitled to the payment?

Anyone who has had their primary residence in Austria for at least 183 days will be entitled to the bonus. Children are also entitled, but if they are younger than 18 years old, they will receive 50 per cent of the respective amount of the climate bonus.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get your €500 Kurzarbeit bonus in Austria

“This is the first time that all people, regardless of age, place of residence, regardless of employment or pension or training status, have received a federal payment,” said Gewessler on Friday in the Ö1 broadcast.

What is this ‘respective amount’?

Not everyone will receive the same amount of money. The value changes depending on where the recipient lives and what is the offer of public transport there. Viennese, then, will receive the lowest amount of money: a one-off € 100 payment.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to claim your €200 voucher for electronics repair in Austria

There are four levels of payment depending on the municipality: €100 for urban centres with the highest-ranking development (which is only Vienna), €233 for urban centres with good development of public transport, €167 in centres and surrounding areas with good basic development of the public system, and € 200 for rural municipalities.

If you live in Austria’s second-largest city, Graz, you fall into the second category and should expect a €133 bonus.

Some exceptions to the geographical rule apply, so people with disabilities who cannot use public transport will receive the total climate bonus (€200) regardless of where they live.

The Federal Government had already stated it estimated that a third of Austria’s population would receive the highest bonus.

How to get the bonus?

The payment is pretty straightforward; there is no need to apply for it, and it will be done directly into your bank account, just make sure that you have it up to date on the FinanzOnline website – the final date to do so is June 30th.

Those who receive a pension and other benefits will receive the bonus in that same bank account.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How freelancers in Austria can pay four times less in social insurance

It is worth mentioning that the bank account doesn’t necessarily need to be from an Austrian bank.

People who don’t have a registered bank account will receive a letter with a voucher that can be redeemed in shops or exchanged for cash at a bank, Gewessler said.

According to the Ministry, payments should start at the beginning of October, and those receiving a transfer will not have to wait for long to see the money in their bank accounts. However, people receiving letters with the vouchers could have to wait a few weeks.

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COST OF LIVING

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

Austria's package to fight the rising cost of living includes several "bonus" payments for residents in Austria. Here is when you can expect them.

When will you get your cost of living 'bonus' payments in Austria?

Austria’s federal government has unveiled a series of measures worth billions of euros to fight the cost of living crisis. New steps include increasing family allowances, cutting taxes and sending out one-off welfare payouts, as The Local has reported.

However, the authorities were not specific on when payments are to be expected, though they mentioned most of the measures would be in place “by October”.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new finance measures could benefit you

On Wednesday, party leaders Sigrid Mauer (Greens) and August Wöginger (ÖVP) presented a roadmap to lay out when each aid could be expected.

Aid payouts

Low-income and vulnerable people in Austria, such as pensioners receiving minimum payments and aid recipients will receive a one-off €300 payment (Teuerungsausgleich) as compensation for inflation. The date is not set yet but should be in August and September.

The most significant payment will be the €500 sum, which consists of €250 as a climate bonus (Klimabonus) and €250 for the “anti-price increase” bonus (Teuerungsbonus). Everyone in Austria will receive that assistance (children receive half of the total amount) in October.

READ ALSO: Austria unveils €6 billion package to fight rising cost of living

An additional one-off payment of the family allowance (Familienbeihilfe) of €180 will be sent for those already on the program in August.

The timeline, according to Mauer, makes it so that the most vulnerable, including low-income people and families, will receive assistance first. Then, in autumn, the payments will go out on a broader scale.

Changes in bonuses and CO2 tax

The anti-inflation package also contains increases in existing family bonuses and payments.

The family bonus (Familienbonus) deduction increases from €1,500 to €2,000, and the increase for additional children payments (Kindermehrbetrags) to €550 is already in force for the fiscal year of 2022, so it will be valid in 2023.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The main Austrian ‘tax traps’ foreigners should be aware of

The CO2 tax was postponed from July to October in time for the climate bonus payments, which were meant to offset the costs of the tax.

Finally, the end of the cold progression, the term used to describe increases in tax burdens which are based on increases in income but do not account for inflation, is set for 2023.

All the changes still need to be officially approved by Parliament and signed into law. For the measures to take place as soon as possible, a special meeting of the National Council was called for this Thursday, June 23rd.

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