With Federal Law Gazette 1, 28/1999 the Austrian legislator intended to prevent the execution of contracts outside Austria for tax saving purposes by the way of the amendment of the Stamp Duties Act (Gebührengesetz) which became effective on January 1 2000. The execution of a contract outside Austria with at least one Austrian party concerning assets located in Austria triggered stamp duties, regardless of whether the contract documentation remained outside Austria or not.

With the most recent amendment of the Austrian Stamp Duty Act published in the Austrian Federal Law Gazette 1, 29/2000, which became effective on May 31 2000, the Austrian legislator went back to the law prior to December 31 1999. Pursuant to these rules any agreement (with the exception of those concerning loans and credits) to which at least one non-Austrian is a party and which is signed outside Austria will not trigger any stamp duty, provided that neither an original or a certified copy is brought into Austria.

Moreover since July 1 1999 stamp duty in relation ot lease contracts with a fixed period are calculated at a rate of 1% on the aggregate amount of the yearly payments multiplied with the number of years equal to the contract period, whereby a maximum multiplier of 18 shall apply. Lease contracts with an indefinite period are calculated on the aggregate amount of three years' payments. The crucial and most important feature is that the duty to assess and to pay the stamp duties is conferred to the lessor.

For further information on this topic please contact Louis Foramitti at Ortner Pöch Foramitti Rechtsanwälte OEG by telephone (+431 535 3721) or by fax (+431 533 1555) or by e-mail ([email protected]).

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