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Austrian tax reform grants government access to bank accounts

Thursday, 16 July, 2015

Austria tax reform

Austria's National Assembly has rubber-stamped the government's wide-ranging tax reform programme for the 2015/16 financial year.

The bill grants the Federal Ministry of Finance powers to set up a new central register of all bank accounts. Austrian banks will have to provide information on both domestic and foreign bank customers upon written request by the tax authorities. Tax offices doing an audit will get access to all of the taxpayer's accounts, though they will have to obtain a court order before consulting the central register of accounts.

Banks will have to report to the Finance Ministry any capital outflows above EUR50,000.

Capital inflows above that level originating in Switzerland or Liechtenstein will also have to be notified. Any untaxed foreign capital transfer will either be taxed at a flat rate of 38 per cent or according to the taxpayer's own disclosures.

The programme also includes:

  • a new 55 per cent top rate of income tax for annual taxable income above EUR1 million;
  • the threshold for the 50 per cent rate of income tax is being raised from EUR60,000 to EUR90,000 a year;
  • withholding tax on capital income is to increase from 25 per cent to 27.5 per cent. This applies to dividends and capital gains but not bank interest;
  • the flat-rate capital gains tax on private sales of immovable property is being increased from 25 per cent to 30 per cent, with no deduction for inflation.

Most of the changes will take effect on 1 January 2016, but some enter into force as of 1 March 2015.