Taxation and Salaries
How much will my income tax in Austria be?
The Austrian tax system is a pay-as-you-earn system. Each person who has his/her regular residence or habitual abode in Austria is subject to unlimited tax liability with their worldwide income. Unlimited liability is constituted if your stay in Austria exceeds six months. A limited tax liability applies to persons who neither have 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.
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: While employers are obliged to deduct taxes from the wages and transmit them to the tax office self-employed persons have to file an income tax declaration. Tax rates are basically the same for both kinds of taxes.
Since the Austrian tax system considers individual situations (i.e. special expenses, extraordinary burdens) it is possible that you might get back some tax. To get a tax return you have to file an application ("Arbeitnehmer/innenveranlagung") with the tax office. The application can be submitted either online or by mail. You have a maximum period of 5 years to fill in a tax return file (e.g. you have until December 2018 to file the return for 2013).
An overview of all tax offices (Finanzamt) in Austria can be found here: here (in German only). Just click on the map for the right municipality (Bundesland) that you will be living in.
Since foreign nationals may also have to pay taxes in their home country Austria has concluded Double Taxation Agreements ("Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen") with some countries to avoid double taxation.
EU/EEA citizens with no main place of residence in Austria, however main source of income in Austria (90 percent of income originates from Austria or income abroad does not exceed a total of 11,000 Euros), can opt for unrestricted tax liability in Austria in their Employee Tax Assessment Declaration (Erklärung zur ArbeitnehmerInnenveranlagung). Thereby only the income generated in Austria is taxed despite the unrestricted tax liability.
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 standardized 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 Ministry of Finance within 6 months from the date of the move to Austria.
The countries with a double taxation agreement with Austria are listed at: Federal Ministry of Finance
For basic information targeting researchers please check: Guide for Taxation of Income of Researchers in Austria (704.13 KB) - UNDER REVISION
Tax Book 2018 (published by the Austrian Ministry of Finance, available in German and in English)
More information on taxation issues can be found at the Austrian Governmental Service.
A calculation service (in German only) is also available where you can calculate your net salary after taxes and social security deduction.