Corporate forms which are relevant for artists and cultural institutions

In addition to sole proprietorships (Einzelunternehmen) and associations (Vereine), the following corporate forms may be suitable for artists and cultural institutions in given circumstances:


  • Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts GesbR – civil-law partnership 
  • Offene Gesellschaft OGgeneral partnership
  • Kommanditgesellschaft KGlimited partnership
  • Stille Gesellschaft stGes – silent partnership

Company limited by shares

  • Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung GmbH – company with limited liability  
  • Genossenschaft – cooperative 

The Aktiengesellschaft AG (joint stock corporation), Stiftung (foundation), and Mitarbeiterbeteiligungs AG (stock option plan) are irrelevant for artists and cultural institutions, or relevant only in exceptional cases.

Corporate forms and the EU

In addition, the corporate forms of other EU countries may be used in Austria. 

Conversely, corporate forms established in Austria are recognised in other EU countries, if they transfer their registered office to that state (freedom of establishment).

Foreign corporate forms are established in Austria only via a transfer of the registered office, and vice versa. 

The British private company limited by shares, or Limited, for example, was an attractive alternative to the Austrian GmbH (unlike the formation of a GmbH, no minimum capital requirement). Since the UK's withdrawal from the EU, the "Limited" is no longer recognized as a foreign legal entity in Austria. All Limited Liability Companies registered in Austria were converted into GbRs or sole proprietorships as of January 1st 2021 - with personal liability of the shareholders - unless a reorganization was carried out before the end of the transition period.

Good to know

Individual artists, provided they are self-employed, not employed with a company and do not choose any other corporate form, automatically qualify as sole proprietorships (= new self-employed, one–person company, SUP). 

Good to know

Be sure to seek professional advice before choosing a corporate form to suit your activity and intended purpose.