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EXPLAINED: What we know so far about Austria's new income tax plan

The Local Austria
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EXPLAINED: What we know so far about Austria's new income tax plan
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer speaks during a joint press conference with Czech Prime Minister in Vienna, Austria, on December 4, 2023, during Fiala's one-day official visit. (Photo by Joe Klamar / AFP)

As the election year heats up, Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer will present a 'speech on the future of the nation' as a new tax plan is expected to be unveiled together with other proposals. Here's what we know about it so far.


As Austria's "super-election year" heats up, the candidates aiming for the chancellery are either launching their campaigns or preparing to.

This includes incumbent Karl Nehammer, whose centre-right party ÖVP has plummeted in voting intention polls and now has only a few months to win back the trust and preference of Austrian citizens. 

He will look to do so starting next Friday, when he will present an "Austrian Plan" and likely also his National Council election campaign. 

Read also: Taxes, benefits and price increases: the money changes in Austria in 2024

In advance, the ÖVP provided the Austria Press Agency with excerpts from the paper, specifically from the chapters "Performance" and "Economy". The document discusses a tax cut "for the working middle class" and a path to reducing non-wage labour costs by 2030.

Austrian tabloids also reported other parts of the speech based on a leaked rough draft they had access to. According to them, the chancellor will also discuss a "ban on gendered language" and the fight against crime.

Here's what we know so far.

Lowering taxes

According to the speech, Nehammer intends to reduce Austria's starting income tax rate (the rate you pay for the first income bracket between €11,693 and €19,134) by a quarter - from the 20 percent it is now to 15 percent. This is part of his "program for the five million", referring to the number of people who "finance our entire system with their taxes".

The planned reduction would be gradual - around 0.5 percent per year until 15 percent is reached.

It's part of an overall goal to reduce Austria's top tax rate to 40 percent. "We need more taxpayers who pay less tax", the ÖVP leader is expected to say.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Austria's income tax brackets change in 2024


Reduction in non-wage labour costs

The ÖVP would also like to see a tax system reform, Die Presse reported, citing the speech draft released to the press. It wants to reduce non-wage labour costs by 0.5 percentage points per year by 2030. 

This would be achieved by reducing unemployment insurance contributions (the ÖVP believes that the financing of unemployment benefits should be restructured) and transferring part of the employer-financed contributions to the Family Allowance Fund (FLAF) to the federal budget.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to understand your Austrian payslip


A ban on gendered language

Nehammer is looking to ban Gendersternchen, or "gender stars", which are asterisks, colons, or underscores used while writing, i.e. Schauspieler:innen (actors), Bauer*innen, (farmers) or Forscher_innen (researchers) for the purpose of more inclusivity, according to a leaked part of the speech, as reported by Heute

The traditional and longer way is to say and write Leserinnen und Leser rather than Leser*innen (readers).

Such a ban would apply to public administration but not to private enterprises.

READ ALSO: Lower Austria to ban gender language in official communications


The fight against crime

The ÖVP is looking to expand the police and its powers by 2030, also according to Heute.

This would include more surveillance powers over telecommunications like texts and phone calls, harsher penalties for repeat offenders and climate protestors who glue themselves to roads, and setting up 32,000 mobile police inspection points instead of stationary police stations.

Nehammer is also proposing all police body cameras be in constant operation.


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