Since 1 January 2019, the refund of Austrian withholding taxes requires a mandatory electronic pre-application to be filed. On 25 January 2019, the Austrian Ministry of Finance issued a decree which describes the procedural details for such pre-application.

Austria levies withholding tax, inter alia, on dividends, income from technical and commercial consultation, fees for the lease of personnel or as wage tax withheld on income from employment. In case the taxation right of Austria is restricted due to an applicable double taxation treaty and relief from tax at source is not possible, the taxpayers can apply for a refund.

Pursuant to sec. 240a of the Federal Fiscal Procedures Act (Bundesabgabenordnung) prior to filing an application for refund of withholding tax, taxpayers have to file an electronic pre-application using the forms available (also in English) on the website of the Austrian Ministry of Finance. The submitted pre-application and the respective confirmation of receipt (including the generated transaction number) have to be printed out and signed by the applicant. In a next step, this form has to be provided to the foreign tax office for confirmation of residence. After obtaining the residency certificate, all documents including any supporting documents have to be sent via mail to the Austrian tax office in Bruck/Eisenstadt/Oberwart.

The pre-application and the actual application can only be filed after the end of the calendar year in which withholding tax has been deducted. The application can be filed until the end of the fifth calendar year following the deduction of withholding tax.