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Austria: Related Information

Holding Companies

For a country to be an attractive location in which to set up a holding company 4 criteria must be satisfied:

  • Incoming Dividends: Incoming dividends remitted by the subsidiary to the holding company must either be exempted from or subject to low withholding tax rates in the subsidiary's jurisdiction.
  • Dividend Income Received: Dividend income received by the holding company from the subsidiary must either be exempted from or subject to low corporate income tax rates in the holding company's jurisdiction.
  • Capital Gains Tax on Sale of Shares: Profits realized by the holding company on the sale of shares in the subsidiary must either be exempt from or subject to a low rate of capital gains tax in the holding company's jurisdiction.
  • Outgoing Dividends: Outgoing dividends paid by the holding company to the ultimate parent corporation must either be exempt from or subject to low withholding tax rates in the holding company's jurisdiction.

By these criteria Austria, while not having the worst EU holding company regime, is by no means the most attractive country in which to set up a holding company.

A new group taxation regime, brought in along with a reduction in corporate taxation from 34% to 25% in 2005, allows the offsetting profits and losses of group operations (requiring direct or indirect participation of more than 50%, but no other financial, economic or organizational integration) in Austria and abroad. This new group taxation system offers interesting opportunities for foreign investors, in particular joint-venture structures, M&A transactions, headquarter companies and simple holding companies without active business, which can also participate in the tax group.

 

 

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