The incorporation privileged (Gründungsprivilegierte) limited liability company – back to the roots?

von Jakob Molzbichler

Due to the Abgabenänderungsgesetz (amendments to Austria’s federal tax law) 2014, all (since March 1 2014) newly established limited liability companies (GmbH) must again meet the minimum share capital requirement of €35,000. At least €17,500 must be paid in upon incorporation. A new implementation is the so-called “Incorporation Privileges”, a favourable treatment for start-up companies (Gründungsprivilegierung). When opting for incorporation privileges initially €5,000 must be paid in cash upon incorporation (instead of €17,500). There are no legal stipulations regarding the ratio between “ordinary” and “privileged” share capital, so in general a very unequal ratio is legitimate. As long as the incorporation privileges are in force the company cannot claim the amount arising from a difference in ordinary share capital and privileged share capital. The decision in favour of the incorporation privileges must be stated in the articles of association upon incorporation – not by means of a subsequent amendment of the articles. Contributions in kind must not be made when exercising this option.

No indication of Incorporation Privileges required Unlike its German equivalent (Unternehmergesellschaft (haftungsbeschränkt)) the Austrian form of a privileged incorporation does not require any indication in the firm’s name, nor does it require any kind of indication of the limited liability. There is no mandatory retention of earnings or alike. The privileged incorporation must be registered in the commercial register only – an indication must be made for the legal relationship as well as for each shareholder.

Privileged capital contribution separately shown on the balance sheet The law does not specify the manner, in which a privileged capital contribution must be disclosed on the balance sheet. It will probably have to be shown separately and explicitly designated as such ...

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