General tax information - types of securities, deadlines, other market specifics - Austria

15.06.2021

Types of securities

The eligible securities issued in Austria are as follows:

  • Government bonds;
  • Treasury bills;
  • Corporate bonds (including domestic and foreign bonds);
  • Commercial paper (OeKB-eligible only);
  • Bearer equities.

Types of beneficial owner

Residents of Double Taxation Treaty (DTT) countries, which includes foreign governments and international organisations, are the only beneficial owners recognised for tax purposes in Austria.

Residents of Austria cannot reclaim withholding tax on income from Austrian securities.

Resident status is assumed of someone who has a lodging and all circumstances lead to the conclusion that the person may use that lodging at any time. The habitual place of abode is a place where someone stays under circumstances that lead to the conclusion that the person will stay not only temporarily. If the taxpayer stays in Austria for more than six months, that person will always be subject to unlimited tax liability.

Statutory deadline for reclaiming withholding tax

The statutory deadline for reclaiming withholding tax is five years following the year in which the relevant dividend payment, for which tax reclaim is to be made, occurred. This statutory deadline overrides the regulations mentioned in all existing Double Taxation Treaties (DTTs).

Clearstream deadline for standard refund applications

The deadline by which Clearstream Banking must receive the documentation for a standard refund application is at least two months before the statutory deadline. All standard refund applications received after this deadline will be processed by Clearstream Banking on a "best effort" basis. However, in such a case, Clearstream Banking will apply an extra charge and accepts no responsibility for forms that have not reached the Austrian Tax Authorities by the date considered as being the statute of limitations deadline.

Note: Missing documents must be forwarded immediately after the notification by the Austrian Tax Authorities; otherwise, the claim may be rejected.

Notes on tax reclaims

Customers warrant the completeness and accuracy of the information they supply to Clearstream Banking.

It is the customer's responsibility to determine any entitlement to a refund of tax withheld, to complete the forms required correctly and to calculate the amount due. Clearstream Banking is under no obligation to carry out any investigation in respect of such information.

Customers must state, either on their application, whether the application is:

  • Initiated according to §6 (for EU Pension Funds) or §21 (for foreign legal entities/corporate bodies “Körperschaften”) of the Austrian Corporate Income Tax Act (ACITA - "Körperschaftsteuergesetz"); or
  • Submitted in accordance with a Double Taxation Treaty (DTT) between its country of residence and Austria.

With respect to tax reclaims in general, customers are reminded that Clearstream Banking accepts no responsibility for their acceptance or non-acceptance by the tax authorities of the respective country.

Procedure

From 1 January 2019, according to § 240a BAO, Double Taxation Treaty (DTT) tax reclaims can only be started via an obligatory electronic notification to the ATA in advance using a Web-Form. The process is as follows:

  1. The relevant Web-Form “DIAG” must completed and transmitted electronically (Vorausmeldung) via the online portal of the ATA.
  2. The electronically transmitted Web-Form “DIAG” including the acknowledgement of transfer must be printed.  
  3. The transmission reference number must be entered on the printed Web-Form.
  4. The applicant must sign the Web-Form.
  5. The certificate of residence (COR) that is foreseen on the printed Web-Form must be confirmed by the applicant’s tax authority. For residents of the following countries the COR can be provided separately, indicating the year of validity which must match the year of the income payment the refund is requested for: U.S.A., Chile, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, Spain.
  6. After receipt of the COR, the applicant or Clearstream Banking must send the printed and signed Web-Form together with all other necessary documentation to the Finanzamt Bruck Eisenstadt Oberwart, Abzugsteuererstattung, Neusiedlerstraße 46, A-7001 Eisenstadt, Austria. Transmission by fax is not permitted.
  7. If the applicant submits a DTT tax reclaim following the new procedure for the first time, the ATA will allocate an individual Withholding Tax ID number (Identifikationsnummer -ABZ-Nummer). This ABZ Number will be transmitted by ATA directly to the applicant. When the applicant is a Funds Company the ABZ-Number will be transmit by ATA to the representative mentioned in the reclaim form manual in addition. The applicant must indicate a deliverable post address.
  8. For all future tax reclaims, this Withholding Tax ID number must then be completed by applicant in chapter 1 “Information about the person of the applicant”. The applicant must forward its ABZ-Number in the chain, because ATA will reference the payment with the ABZ-Number and the number of the reclaim form. The number of the reclaim form will be mentioned by ATA on the Bescheid (tax office letter) or with notice of payment.

Clearstream Banking recommends to save the first completed Web-Form “DIAG” as an .fsxml file to save the applicant’s data in chapter 1 “Information about the person of the applicant” to avoid a mismatch of the Withholding Tax ID number and the applicant in the next reclaim. With this approach, for each new request only the individual Withholding Tax ID number (issued by the ATA with the first reclaim via the Web-Form) and the data in chapter 6A. “General information” and chapter 7. “Calculation of the repayment claim” must be replaced.

If the applicant does not use the Clearstream Banking tax service, the applicant must forward the reclaim form with all necessary documentation directly to the ATA as described in step 6 above, enter its own account details and must not name any representative in the form. Transmission by fax is not permitted.

If the applicant uses the Clearstream Banking tax service, the applicant must follow steps 1-5 and 7-8 and after receipt of the COR, transmit the printed and signed Web-Form with all other necessary documentation to Clearstream Banking, name Clearstream Banking as the representative and enter the banking information as described below.

Clearstream Banking cannot validate the individual Withholding Tax ID number allocated by the Austrian Tax Authority. The applicant is responsible to enter the correct Withholding Tax ID number in the Web-Form “DIAG” from the second tax reclaim following the new procedure. The applicant must forward its ABZ-Number in the chain, because ATA will reference the payment with the ABZ-Number and the number of the reclaim form. The number of the reclaim form will be mentioned by ATA on the Bescheid (tax office letter) or with notice of payment.

Due to the special account structure, business and requirements for securities admission in Clearstream Banking only tax reclaims via the Web-Form “DIAG” according to §6 (for EU Pension Funds) or §21 (for foreign legal entities/corporate bodies “Körperschaften”) of the Austrian Corporate Income Tax Act (ACITA - "Körperschaftsteuergesetz") or in accordance with a DTT between its country of residence and Austria are possible in Clearstream Banking.

Details regarding the legal basis, type of reclaims and the usage of reclaim forms are available on the ATA website in German and in English.

Note: On the German page of the ATA website, applicants can choose the language of the form (German or English).

Submitting documents to the ATA

The ATA team "Abzugsteuererstattung" responsible for DTT tax reclaims is part of the Tax Office for Large Enterprises (Finanzamt für Großbetriebe) located in Eisenstadt, Austria.

Incoming mail is managed centrally and therefore applications must be sent to the following address:

Finanzamt für Großbetriebe
Postfach 251
A-1000 Wien
Austria

All other correspondence, for example, hold responses, complaints or request for additional information must be sent to the following address:

Finanzamt für Großbetriebe (FAG)
Team: Abzugsteuererstattung
Neusiedler Str. 46
A-7000 Eisenstadt
Austria

The ATA informed Clearstream Banking that there are potential problems with recent restructuring and modernisation because of automated scanning. The ATA team "Abzugsteuererstattung" only receives scanned applications including linked enclosures, but not withholding responses, appeals or other letters. To avoid problems, customers should note the following:

Part 1 Applications: Each application must be fully prepared. It is not possible that documents relevant for more than one application will be put only to the first or one application form. The application, cover letter and supporting documents must be in strict order. The application must be in the first place of the package. The automatic scanning process starts with the application and ends with the next application. All letters in between are scanned to the first application and therefore, if the strict order is not followed, it can happen that the Austrian Tax Authority may have some applications without documents, with the consequence that the processing is delayed due to possible withholding procedures.

The order in one package sent to the Austrian Tax Authority is as follows:

  • Application 1;
  • Cover letter to application 1;
  • Documents to application 1;
  • Application 2;
  • Cover letter to application 2;
  • Documents to application 2 etc.

Note: The ATA also accepts double-sided documents and reclaim forms stapled or clipped. All documents must be on A4 format without resizing before printing to avoid any problems with the QR code. If reclaim forms must be corrected by hand after the document have been filled electronically and printed out, all these documents must be sent as previously described to the Finanzamt für Großbetriebe, Postfach 251, A-1000 Wien.

Part 2 hold responses, complaints or other correspondence: Customers/applicants must include in all written correspondence the ATA team "Abzugsteuererstattung“, and, if available, a reference to the withholding tax number (ABZ-Number), and the reclaim number (and name of person in charge, if available).

If it is not possible to clearly identify that a letter falls under the responsibility of the ATA team "Abzugsteuererstattung”, it may happen that, if the applicant has an Austrian tax number for some reason, the documents are scanned for the tax number and not forwarded by the ATA to the ATA team "Abzugsteuererstattung”. As a result, the ATA team "Abzugsteuererstattung“ may not receive such letters and thus the appeal may not be timely or applications may be rejected because the Austrian Tax Authority team "Abzugsteuererstattung” did not receive the documents.

Note: During the first half of 2021, the ATA grants a transition period and does not reject applications forwarded to the wrong address.

Additional documentation requirements for DTT tax reclaims from financial institutions

The ATA requires the following additional documents from financial institutions, for example, credit institutions and investment firms, but also from all entities that practicing their activity in the financial services sector seeking tax treaty refund on Austrian dividend payments for their proprietary positions:

  • A formal statement issued and signed by the applicant’s board of directors, certifying that the securities on which a tax refund is claimed:
    • are related to proprietary assets.
    • were accounted as such no later than the last day before the ex-date of the dividend distribution, that is, no later than the cum-date.
  • a similar formal statement issued and signed by the custodian bank of the applicant, certifying that the securities on which a tax refund is claimed:
    • were duly accounted on the above-mentioned dates, in a securities account maintained by the applicant at the custodian bank and qualified as segregated own account within the meaning of the regulatory requirements on segregation of assets.

Clearstream Banking is not in the position to evaluate and identify proprietary assets in the multi-level depository chain. Thus, customers are required to provide these two additional documents along with the other refund documentation if the applicant will be a financial institution.

When are refunds received?

The estimated time for receiving a refund is four months from the date of receipt by the Austrian Tax Authorities, although this can vary depending on when the application is filed and the complexity of the information supplied in the reclaim form.

Clearstream Banking has collected information from sources considered reliable but does not guarantee the accuracy of the timings presented.