How to Become Self-employed in Austria

For those who seek professional independence and creative freedom, self-employment might be the right career path. The way to getting there, however, is often long and winding and riddled with red tape. And if you don’t speak German, things get infinitely more difficult.
If you have ambitions of going into business for yourself, Marta Srebrakowska of Self-employed in Austria and her associates want to help ease you into this exciting new venture. Here are the three most common questions she frequently finds in her inbox.

What is the first step to becoming self-employed?

First off, you have to identify which category of self-employment your business will fall into. You can turn to the WKO (the Austrian Chamber of Commerce) for clarification or read Metropole’s article about it online. Some of these business types have to register at the SVS (the Social Security Institution for the Self-Employed) and all of them have to register their business at the Finanzamt (Tax Office). For more detailed information in English, turn to

What does it mean to be “new self-employed?”

In Austria, new self-employment is a specific type of business for professions such as writers, artists, nurses, and certain kinds of therapists, among others. The term is a translation from Neue Selbstständigkeit, as this type of professional activity was introduced in 2008 and is
not to be confused with being newly self-employed.

Do I need to pay VAT as a self-employed person?

If your revenue from self-employment is below €35,000 a year, your business is exempt from VAT registration under the small business regulation (Kleinunternehmerregelung). If your annual revenue exceeds €35,000 and you operate within the EU, or if you provide goods or services to other businesses with a VAT number, you will need a VAT number for your business.

Visit for more valuable insights on starting your own business.

This article is part of unpaid cooperation with Self-employed Austria.

Featured image: (cc) Flickr/ Nenad Stojkovic.