Non-Austrian resident taxpayers deriving certain income from Austrian sources (e.g. dividends, royalties, consultancy fees for commercial and technical advice, leasing of personnel) are subject to a withholding tax in Austria. This tax can be fully or partially refunded if the double tax treaty between Austria and the resident state provides for a full or partial exemption from Austrian withholding tax.
Since 1 January 2019, all non-Austrian resident taxpayers claiming a refund of Austrian withholding tax are obliged to use an electronic pre-application before filing the actual application. According to the new regulation in Section 240a of the Federal Fiscal Code (BAO) and a Decree of the Austrian Ministry of Finance, non-Austrian resident taxpayers must proceed as follows:
1) Depending on the type of income, the relevant web form has to be chosen from the website of the Austrian Ministry of Finance. All forms are available in English. If non-Austrian resident taxpayers derive different types of income, a web form for every type of income should be used.
2) Once the relevant form has been chosen it needs to be filled in and electronically submitted.
3) The submitted pre-application, including the transaction number, has to be printed out and signed by the non-Austrian resident taxpayer.
4) On the printed and signed pre-application form, the non-Austrian resident taxpayer has to obtain a certificate of residence from the tax authority of its resident state.
5) After certification by the foreign tax authority, the pre-application together with any other necessary documentation has to be sent to the Austrian Tax Office Bruck Eisenstadt Oberwart by mail.
In case of a first filing of the refund claim, an identification number (ABZ-number) will be issued, which has to be used on all future refund requests.
According to the previous legislation, the applicants were able to file their application during the same year the Austrian withholding tax was deducted. Under the new legislation this is no longer allowed. The pre-application and the actual application can only be filed within five years after the end of the year the Austrian withholding tax was deducted. The five-year period applies even in cases where a double tax treaty provides for a shorter period.