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Austria is a member of the European Economic and Monetary Union and joined the 19-country eurozone in 1999. Its currency, the euro (EUR, €), is the second most traded currency globally after the US dollar (USD, $). Austria does not employ currency controls or restrict overseas money transfers, in line with eurozone policies.
Austria is required to comply with all European Union (EU) directives and regulations regarding foreign investment, trade treaties, customs duties, agricultural agreements and other trade regulations. The government does not employ any exchange controls or restrictions on capital inflows and outflows, so international money transfers are unrestricted.
Financial institutions are required to provide the central bank with statistical data on high-value foreign exchange transactions, in an effort monitor the balance of payments and comply with anti-money laundering regulations. Banks are responsible for reporting relevant international transfers that are cleared through their networks; foreign investments are generally reported to the central bank. Individual travellers may carry cash worth a maximum of €10,000, or its equivalent in foreign currency, over the border at one time. The EU’s liberalised capital transfers and free-floating currency make it easy to send money to and from Austria.
As a eurozone member, Austria’s monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank (ECB), which monitors the financial system, preserves foreign exchange levels, and aims to maintain price stability throughout the EU. The Austrian Central Bank (Österreichische Nationalbank, OeNB) administers and regulates all foreign exchange transactions and the exchange control system, in accordance with ECB policy.
Austria joined the EU on January 1st, 1995 and adopted the Euro on January 1st, 1999. Euro banknotes and coins were first introduced in Austria in 2002. The Austrian central bank continues to exchange the former national currency, the Austrian schilling (ATS), for an unlimited period.
The euro and the USD are the most frequently exchanged currencies on Austrian forex markets. According to the most recent Bank for International Settlements (BIS) data, total forex exchanges amounted to almost US $17.4bn per day in April 2013. The euro was involved in nearly half of these exchanges, and was most frequently traded against the USD (US $7.5bn per day) and the Swiss franc (US $1.05bn per day).
Austria is an attractive hub for foreign trade and investment, given its highly developed economy and its geopolitical position between developed Western European nations and Central, Eastern and Southeastern European countries. Austria’s stable, well-regulated political and legal system, skilled labour force, high productivity, and advanced information and communications technology infrastructure make it a competitive place to do business.
Austria, like many countries in the eurozone, has a relatively high personal income tax burden. For resident corporations however, there is a relatively low flat rate of 25%. The main taxes applicable to companies are corporate income tax, real estate tax, municipal tax, value added tax (VAT), social security contributions and customs duties. Non-resident companies are only required to pay taxes on revenue generated in Austria. If a company does not earn any income, it is still has to pay a minimum tax of €1,092 in the first year. Starting with the second year of operation, the minimum tax rises to €1,750 for limited liability companies.
Individuals residing in Austria are required to pay personal income tax, withholding tax on passive income, social security contributions and real estate tax, with no special concessions for expats. Non-resident individuals are subject to tax only on locally-generated income, and in certain cases will benefit from double taxation agreements with their home country.
Austria’s monetary unit, the euro (EUR), consists of 100 cents. Euro banknotes are printed in denominations of € 5, € 10, € 20, € 50, € 100, € 200 and € 500. Coins are available in values of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and € 1 and € 2. Each member country’s central bank issues its own banknotes and coins; the latter have national designs on one side and common designs on the other. All euro currency from any country is accepted within the currency zone.
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