An entrepreneur who wants to establish a company in Austria has a lot of options to choose from. Each different type of business has certain characteristics which must be fully understood in order to choose the most suitable type. Here, we explain the different types of companies available in Austria and the main features of each type.
Limited Liability Company (GmbH)
This type of business is an independent legal entity, separate from the owners. As a result of this, the owners have limited liability and only the start-up capital invested in the form is affected. This required minimum capital is €35,000. The business can be established by only one person or by a large number of people. The paperwork required includes one which defines the roles and duties of the owner, or each of the owner as the case may be, as well as their rights and benefits. This document will also detail the financial and economic assets of the company. Also, the company must be registered at the Austrian Commercial Register and also at the municipal or district authority of the location of the company. Limited liability company is the most common type of business enterprise in Austria.
Joint-stock Company (AG)
The joint-stock company, known as Aktiengesellschaft (AG) in Austria is more or less the same as the limited liability company. The difference is that AG requires higher start-up capital. It is more appropriate for very big firms.
European Company (SE)
The formation of this type of company has a unique condition; only companies or individuals who already have a business in the same EEA or EU member country can form this type of business.
Basically, two types of partnership businesses exist in Austria. They are a general partnership and limited partnership
- General Partnership (OG): The general partnership is a non-corporate type of company in Austria. This is because, for the most part of the setting-up, formal requirements are not necessary. The only essential document needed to establish this type of company is a trading license which is obtained by registering the company at the Austrian Commercial Register. There is no fixed amount of capital required to start-up the business. It requires at least two people who all bear unlimited liability.
- Limited Partnership (KG): This is not very different from the general partnership type of company in terms of the paperwork requirements. The difference is in the rights and responsibilities of the owners of the business, who should not be less than two. In this case, one assumes the directorship and management of the enterprise and bears an unlimited liability while the other has limited liability and is regarded as the silent partner.
The legal entity is the smallest type of business that can be registered in Austria and the legal entity for this type of company is the individual who owns the business. A sole proprietor has the luxury of single-handedly deciding on what he wants to do and how much he wants to invest. On the other hand, he bears an unlimited liability over the business. A sole proprietorship business requires a trade license which must be obtained at the municipal or district authority. Also, the business must be insured with the Austrian Social Insurance Authority for Business.