How to start a business in Austria and how to fill your tax return as self-employed

There is no unique legal definition of ‘self-employed workers’ in Austria. Once you decide what business start, you may be subject to different tax regime.


Want to start your own business in Austria?  Here’s our advice on how to become an entrepreneur.

Conditions For Self-employment

Everyone who want to be self-employed in Austria must meet the following conditions:

  • Having 18 years of age
  • Being citizenship of an EU Member State or of another state with which a treaty has been signed in this regard, or having a special residence permit which gives the holder the permit to exercise the self-employed activity
  • Residence in Austria (not always required)
  • No criminal record

Trade Permit

The trade authority (district commission, municipal authority) will issue a trade permit for your commercial activity. Hence, you must contact the municipal authority or district commission responsible for this.

As the type of trade permit changes depending on the activity exercised, you must first classify your activity. Here you will find some advices and contact for further information. Not less important, some professions require a certificate of proficiency.

Advice On Self-employment

First of all, anyone wanting to become self-employed may obtain advice and support from the Chamber of Commerce.

With their start-up service, the Chambers of Commerce provide expert advice throughout Austria regarding all queries, starting from the business idea through to the final financing strategy or contributions to the social service. The local Chamber offers for free the following services:

  • Workshops
  • Individual consultations
  • Themed events and expert discussions


Further information and advice on starting a business in Austria can be found directly at the local Chamber of Commerce website.

Furthermore, the Austrian government created a platform for any question about starting a new life in Austria.



Once your business is set up, you will be liable for the payment of the income tax (Einkommensteuer), but not the earning tax (Lohnsteuer). The income tax liability is settled by the self-employed’s annual taxable income. Every income higher than 11.000 Euro must be taxed.

If independent contractors also have other income which is liable to earnings tax (from other allowance or income) in addition to their income as independent contractors, the limit for their annual income which is exempt from taxation is 12.000 Euro.

An independent contractor pays income tax (quarterly in advance based on the net income) with a tax assessment at the end of the calendar year, usually due by the end of April of the following year. To be added that late filing may result in a penalty and interest.

Deal with the Tax Authority and with a foreign language is not easy at all, moreover in the first time of your business. If you need help with your local income tax return, Dendax will help you fix every doubt or problem. Get in touch with us and find a team of professionals ready to help you, speaking your language. Our expert advice has no cost!