The Austrian tax system is a pay-as-you-earn system. The most important categories of income that are subject to taxation for researchers/scientists are income from employment and income from independent personal services (self-employment). The difference between these categories is the method of levying: In the case of employees, the employer deduct taxes directly from the wages and transmit them to the tax office. In the case of independent services, the self-employed person has to file an income tax declaration. Tax rates are basically the same for both kinds of taxes.
However, as the Austrian tax system considers individual situations (i.e. special expenses, extraordinary burdens), it is possible to claim back some tax. For that, you have to file a return for tax assessment (Erklärung zur Arbeitnehmer/innenveranlagung) with the tax office.
Every person who has her/his regular residence or habitual abode in Austria is subject to unlimited liability to tax with their worldwide income. Unlimited liability is constituted if your stay in Austria exceeds six months. A limited liability to tax applies to those persons who have neither their residence nor their habitual abode in Austria; they are subject to tax only with their income from Austrian sources. There is no joint taxation of married couples or households in Austria.
EU/EEA (European Economic Area) nationals with no main place of residence in Austria but main source of income in Austria (90 percent of their income is generated in Austria or their income generated abroad not exceeding a total of 11,000 Euros) can opt for unlimited tax liability in Austria when filing their return for tax assessment (Erklärung zur Arbeitnehmer/innenveranlagung) with the tax office. In this case only the incomes generated in Austria will be taxed despite the unlimited tax liability.
Mobile researchers may have places of residence or sources of income in more than one country. To avoid double taxation, Austria has concluded Double Taxation Agreements (Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen) with nearly hundred countries.
Details and further information on the Austrian tax system and benefits are provided in the Taxation Guide for Researchers in Austria.
Tax benefits for highly qualified researchers moving to Austria (Zuzugsbegünstigungsverordnung)
Provided that the required criteria (in particular public benefit) are met highly qualified researchers moving to Austria may be entitled to tax benefits. This concerns
1) the possibility of a tax deduction of 30 % ("Zuzugsfreibetrag"), limited to five years, on income from scientific work in Austria and abroad, and
2) the application of a standardised tax rate on non-Austrian-sourced income to avoid additional tax burden.
The application for obtaining such tax benefits must be filed with the Austrian tax office within 6 months of the date of the move to Austria. You find further details in the Taxation Guide for Researchers in Austria.
Taxation Guide for Researchers in Austria, issued by EURAXESS Austria
Website of the Federal Ministry of Finance with information on double taxation: https://www.bmf.gv.at/en/topics/taxation/double-taxation-agreements.html
Austria’s digital authority: oesterreich.gv.at
For questions and further information concerning tax, write to email@example.com.