Austria Branch Office

A branch is one way for a company to conduct business in Austria but it has many drawbacks. The largest drawback is that the foreign parent company carries full liability for the branches operations and this can lead to complicated dealings with the tax authorities.

We recommend incorporating a GmbH in Austria for more flexible business options and less tax liability.

Opening an Austria Branch Office of a Foreign Company

The disadvantages of a branch office are:

  • The parent company is fully liable for the branch
  • The branches representatives may be held jointly and severally liable for tax debts
  • The financial statements of the parent must be lodged at the Austrian Companies Registry
  • The branches obligations are the same as the parent, including filing VAT returns, employees returns and corporation tax returns, so there are few savings in administering a branch
  • Banks and clients may prefer dealing with an Austria company rather than a branch of a foreign company
  • A branch is rarely ideal for substantial projects because the parent company runs the entire risk
  • Upon registration of a branch, evidence has to be provided of the legal existence of the parent
  • Any public act by the branch is likely to need ratification by the board of the foreign parent. A company that signs contracts in front of a notary on a regular basis, should incorporate for administrative ease

Requirements for an Austrian branch office

The foreign parent company will need to supply evidence of its incorporation.

Dealings with courts or public authorities must be in German, documents in other languages that are required by local authorities must also be translated into German.

Austrian accounting rules must be obeyed by a branch office, using the head office’s accounts. The head office would also be expected to pay value added tax (VAT) in Austria.

The branch must have the same name as the parent company.

A branch of a non-resident company must appoint a resident individual or a company to represent it in its dealings with the tax authorities. The representatives may be held jointly and severally liable for the tax debts of the permanent establishments of non-resident entities, which they represent.

To register a branch, evidence has to be provided of the existence of the parent company. Various documents will need to be translated into German, the documents include:

  • Your parent’s registration certificate
  • Your company’s articles of association
  • The names of the company’s directors and secretary

After your branch is registered

All stationery, order forms and similar documents used by your branch are required to show:

  • The place of registration of the parent
  • The number with which it is registered
  • The legal classification of the company
  • The address of its registered office
  • The place of registration of the branch, and its registration number

Also the following particulars must be shown at the branch office:

  • The company name
  • The name of the country in which the company is incorporated
  • The parent of the branch has limited liability
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