The government bill of the Austrian Annual Tax Act 2018 (Jahressteuergesetz 2018) includes important clarifications on share consolidation in the context of real estate transfer tax ("RETT").

Pursuant to the Austrian Real Estate Transfer Tax Act, RETT is triggered not only upon the transfer of Austrian real estate, but also if at least 95% of the shares in a property owning company are transferred or consolidated in the hands of one single owner (or corporations which are part of the same tax group for Austrian corporate income tax purposes). It was unclear for some time whether only direct share transfers or also indirect share transfers can trigger Austrian RETT.

The draft bill for the Annual Tax Act of 2018 clarifies that real estate is attributed to the company and not to its shareholder. In this way the Austrian legislator clearly states that indirect shareholder changes in a property owning company do not trigger Austrian RETT, since shareholders are not regarded as property owners.