FAQ - frequently asked questions

Copyright

No, copyrights in Austria already arise with the creation of the work. Registration is not necessary.

Copyright licences (i.e. licences to use works) can be granted by means of a contract and the remuneration agreed therein. In principle, any use of a work may only take place with the consent of the author (with the exception of free use of a work). Since this often proves difficult in individual cases, there is the possibility of joining a collecting society. This society collectively administers a part of the copyright exploitation rights, concludes general agreements on the use with large broadcasters, platform operators and the like and distributes corresponding royalties to the members.

In addition, there is also the possibility of transferring the exploitation rights to a publisher who takes care of the exploitation.

The most important factors are:

  • Exclusive / non-exclusive
  • Transferable / non-transferable (sub-licensing)
  • Territorial scope (worldwide, EU, limited to individual countries,...)
  • Temporal scope (for protection period, for 5 years,...)
  • Type of exploitation right (reproduction, distribution {broadcasting right, performance right, making available to the public on the Internet,...})
  • Editing right

The term of protection describes how long a work is protected by copyright. The term of protection for copyrights is 70 years from the death of the author. For neighbouring rights, the term of protection is 50 years from the date of recording or publication.

The term of protection describes how long a work is protected by copyright. The term of protection for copyrights is 70 years from the death of the author. For neighbouring rights, the term of protection is 50 years from the date of recording or publication.

Can I transfer copyright to others?

In Austria and in continental Europe it is not possible to transfer copyright in its entirety inter vivos (it does, however, pass to the heirs upon the death of the author). The situation is different in the USA or Great Britain, where companies, for example, can also be owners of copyrights or copyrights can be transferred as a whole.

Although copyright as a whole cannot be transferred, authors are free to grant rights to use works or licences to use works. This makes it possible for contractual partners to exercise exploitation rights. Such a grant of rights is also possible for the term of protection, i.e. up to 70 years after the death of the author.

Moral rights are, however, non-transferable and indispensable.

Inclusion

Additional income:

Am I allowed to earn additional income if I receive minimum benefits?

When receiving means-tested minimum benefits, there are basically no exemption limits for additional income. This means that every euro earned is counted as additional income and reduces the entitlement to benefits.

During an occupational disability, invalidity or incapacity pension, you can earn up to the marginal earnings limit (2022 value 485.85 euros per month) without changing the amount of your pension.

An occupational disability, invalidity or incapacity pension is reduced due to gainful employment ifgainful employment above the marginal earnings threshold (above 485.85 euros per month value 2022) and a total monthly income (i.e. the sum of gross pension and earned income) of more than 1,260.60 euros.

must be present.

If these two conditions are met, only part of the occupational disability pension is due (as a partial pension).

Detailed information:

https://www.wko.at/service/arb...

In principle, the receipt of care allowance is not affected by taking up (marginal) employment, because an entitlement to the granting of care allowance exists independently of the income and assets of the person concerned.

This means for artists who receive care allowance: it is generally possible to earn income or additional income with an artistic or other activity without this having negative consequences for the receipt of care allowance.

Detailed information on care allowance and earned income (legal database ÖZIV)

What types of personal assistance are there?

There is personal assistance especially for support at work and in education. Under certain conditions, personal assistance in everyday life is also possible.

Here you can find detailed information

https://www.art-mobility.at/de/inklusion/unterstuetzung-am-arbeits-und-ausbildungsplatz-und-mobilitaet/

Guideline Personal Assistance

file:///C:/Users/Sabine/AppData/Local/Temp/guideline_paa_approval_version_15.10.2019-1.pdf.

Questions to ask in advance:

How comprehensive is my own insurance coverage while traveling?

Can I take my personal assistant with me when I travel?

If I am planning an artistic project in another location and especially abroad, the conditions for accompanying my assistance may need to be clarified in advance:

  • Are travel and accommodation costs for accompanying an assistant included in the project?
  • Is my assistant allowed to travel abroad due to her work regulations?
  • Is there also a professional insurance coverage for my assistant?
  • Can I be accompanied by an assistant on site?
  • Who pays for this - are project costs planned for this or does my insurance company cover the costs under certain conditions?

Are there special conditions for people with limited mobility or special needs on the Austrian Federal Railways?

Travelers with an Austrian handicapped pass travel at half price with a designated handicap of 70% and higher. Alternatively, the entry: "The holder of the pass can claim the fare reduction according to the Federal Disability Act." also applies. An accompanying person or an assistance dog travels free of charge with the corresponding note in the disabled person's passport.

In addition, it is possible to register practical assistance for a trip by telephone or online:

https://www.oebb.at/de/reiseplanung-services/barrierefrei-reisen

Assistance for a domestic train journey must be registered at least 12 hours before the start of the journey (if the journey begins before 9 a.m., it must be registered by 6 p.m. the day before); for international journeys, registration is required 48 hours before the start of the journey.

Detailed information can be found in the brochure barrier-free-we-for-you.

Airlines must generally carry people with reduced mobility or special needs. Exceptionally, an airline may refuse carriage for safety or technical reasons.

Air passengers must notify the need for special assistance 48 hours before departure and be on site in good time.

Labour Law

Membership in a collective agreement always depends on whether a collective agreement applies to the employer. This is the case if the employer is a member of a collective agreement-capable interest group or a corresponding association and a collective agreement has been agreed. This information is regularly obtained from the employer.

This is hardly the case in the "independent scene". The situation is different in state cultural institutions. For example, there are collective agreements for the federal theaters. Collective agreements can also apply in the field of music if the employer is a member of the Austrian Association of Promoters.

The probationary period is a maximum of one month (except for apprentices: 3 months).

The duration of the probationary period is usually regulated in the collective agreement.

So-called chain employment contracts - i.e. several, successive fixed-term contracts - are not permitted in Austria, unless the fixed-term contract is objectively justified. Factual justification includes, for example, seasonal employment in seasonal businesses or time-limited, project-related work.

Fixed-term employment relationships can only be terminated by mutual agreement before the end of the fixed term, or if the employment contract expressly provides for the possibility of termination by either party and the fixed term exceeds 6 months.

A dismissal is only possible due to misconduct, therefore it must be justified and must take place immediately after the misconduct has become known. The employment relationship ends on the day of dismissal.

In Austria, termination is generally possible without justification. Legal protection against termination exists only for a few specific groups (pregnant women, employees on maternity or paternity leave, disabled persons, etc.).

In the case of termination, deadlines and time limits must be observed.

Yes, a pregnancy must be reported to the employer, as this also triggers certain protective obligations on the part of employers. The employer must also be informed if a pregnancy ends prematurely.

8 weeks before the expected date of birth, the absolute ban on employment begins. During this period, no salaried employment is allowed, even if the expectant mother still feels fully capable of working. The absolute ban on employment does not apply to self-employed women.

During maternity leave, it is possible to work part-time for your own employer. With other employers, this is only possible with the consent of your own employer. For 13 weeks per calendar year (on a pro rata basis), employment above the marginal earnings threshold is also possible. The options for earning additional income also depend on the choice of childcare allowance. In the case of income-independent childcare allowance, the additional earnings limits are higher.

No, even with an all-in agreement, the maximum permissible number of overtime hours must be defined. In most cases, this is 5 additional working hours per week. The total salary including overtime must withstand a coverage check. This means that at least the collective agreement minimum salary + the overtime salary must be paid. Therefore, the basic salary must always be shown in the case of an all-in agreement.

If more overtime hours were worked than agreed, these must be remunerated additionally.

Legal Forms

If you want to become self-employed as an artist, you must register for tax purposes with the tax office of your place of residence. This can be done with the form Verf24 in person, by email or also directly online via the website finanz online.

Furthermore, registration with the responsible social insurance (SVS) is necessary. The SVS questionnaire must only be completed if the expected annual profit exceeds the insurance limit.

If the expected annual profit is below the insurance limit of EUR 5,830.30, this does not trigger an insurance obligation for artists (new self-employed). Therefore, no contributions have to be paid despite registration. Compulsory insurance is only automatically triggered when the insurance threshold is exceeded. Voluntary self-insurance (opting-in) is possible.

As an artist, you do not need a trade license.

In principle, yes. Anyone who performs an artistic activity and thereby generates an income is considered a new self-employed person.

Therefore, it is obligatory to keep an income-expenditure account. If the total income from all activities exceeds the tax limit of EUR 11,000, a tax return must be submitted to the tax office.

However, if you pursue your artistic activities as a hobby, only perform in public from time to time, and on average make more losses than profits, you are not considered an entrepreneur and do not have to or cannot declare losses for tax purposes.

No, an association can only be founded by two or more persons.

The association has its own legal personality - it is a legal entity. Therefore, the association itself is liable with all its assets. Members of the association are not personally liable. Only the members of the board of directors can be personally liable in the event of violations of the law or the association's statutes. However, fault is required for this.

Unlike other types of companies, the GbR does not require an explicit act of formation, but comes into being automatically when two or more people join together to pursue a common economic purpose. A partnership agreement is therefore often concluded only impliedly or orally, but it is in any case advisable to conclude a written partnership agreement. If there is no written or oral agreement, the legal regulations apply.

This is often the case in the arts and culture industry, as most music groups, for example, qualify as a GbR.

The personal liability of the company owner does not apply if the company has its own legal personality, i.e. if it is a legal entity.

This is the case with associations, cooperatives and corporations.

Sole proprietors are always personally liable, the same applies to partnerships (exception: limited partners in a KG and silent partners).

This is to be distinguished from the liability of managing directors. This applies to managing directors in general, but liability depends on fault.

Social Security

The Austrian social insurance system includes accident insurance, health insurance, pension insurance and, if applicable, unemployment insurance. Not all social insurance relationships include all branches of insurance.
Unlike in other countries, in Austria the type of employment (self-employed, employed or, for example, with a federal institution) determines the type of social insurance. Income from self-employment is also subject to compulsory insurance above a certain amount (2022 from a profit of 5,830.20 euros). As a result, multiple insurances are more frequent.

Employment
If I am employed in Austria above the marginal earnings threshold (2022 monthly gross salary higher than 485.85 euros), I am automatically compulsorily insured by my employer with the Austrian Regional Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK) and this comprehensively: I am insured for accidents, health insurance, pension insurance and also acquire entitlements to unemployment insurance. The employer pays part of the social security contributions (employer's contribution), the employee pays part of the gross salary - the net salary is paid out.
Marginal employment
If I am employed below the marginal earnings threshold, only accident insurance is compulsory (but I can voluntarily take out comprehensive health and pension insurance with ÖGK for a relatively small amount).
Self-employed work
Even if I generate income from self-employed work - namely a profit (not turnover!) of more than 5,830.20 euros (value 2022), a compulsory insurance with the Social Insurance Institution for Self-Employed Persons (SVS) comes into effect and I must start an insurance relationship there.

Voluntary self-insurance for marginal employment
If I have a marginal employment, I am only compulsorily insured for accident insurance, but I can take out voluntary self-insurance with the Österreichische Gebietskrankenkasse (ÖGK) for about 67 euros (value 2022) and then have full health insurance and also acquire entitlement periods for the pension.
Voluntary self-insurance without employment
I can also take out voluntary insurance with the Austrian Regional Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK) without an existing employment. In this case, however, contributions will increase up to a monthly amount of approximately 450 euros (2022). If my income is low, I can apply for lower contribution payments. In this branch of voluntary self-insurance, I am covered by health and accident insurance, but do not acquire any entitlements or periods for pension insurance.
Opting in for self-employed income below the de minimis threshold
If I have self-employed income below the so-called marginal earnings threshold (value in 2022 5,830,20 euros), I can take out voluntary insurance with the Social Insurance Institution for the Self-Employed (SVS) under the so-called opting-in scheme. Opting in includes full accident and health insurance for 43.68 euros per month (value 2022), but no pension insurance.

With the social insurance of the self-employed and with the civil servant insurance, there is a deductible of 20% for all medical services -that is, a portion that I must pay myself proportionally. I can make an agreement with SVS on health targets to reduce the deductible to 10%. If my income is low, I can apply for the deductible to be taken over by the social insurance. For hospitalization, there is generally no deductible, but there is a small daily cost-sharing for all insured persons.

In almost all social insurance relationships - including voluntary self-insurance and opting in - it is possible to co-insure dependents, such as children and (spousal) partners. Co-insurance of children is free of charge, co-insurance of partners is subject to a lower contribution rate. If the partner's income exceeds a certain amount, co-insurance is no longer possible and an independent insurance relationship must be established.

In order to acquire an initial claim to unemployment benefits, I must have worked 52 weeks as an employee (above the marginal earnings threshold) in Austria within two years. Persons under 26 years of age acquire an entitlement to unemployment benefits after 26 weeks of employed work. For subsequent claims or a new claim to unemployment benefits, one must work 28 weeks in an employed capacity. In principle, it is also possible to transfer an entitlement to unemployment benefits from another EU country to Austria under certain conditions (e.g. employment in Austria for a few days to four weeks). It is also possible to come to Austria for a few months of job search with an unemployment benefit from another EU country.

Unemployment benefit in Austria is basically 59% of the previous net earnings. A so-called daily rate is calculated. Under certain conditions (such as family allowances), the percentage increases up to 80%.
Are there any subsequent benefits after receiving unemployment benefits in Austria? (Emergency assistance)
If the entitlement to unemployment benefits expires and there is still a need, an application can be made to receive emergency unemployment assistance. In this case, the current income is used to calculate the need (in contrast to the so-called minimum income), but assets (such as a condominium) are not touched. Emergency unemployment assistance is granted irrespective of the partner's income. The unemployment assistance amounts to about 90% of the previous unemployment benefit.

While receiving unemployment benefits or unemployment assistance, I am allowed to earn a marginal income (2022 monthly marginal earnings limit 485.85 euros) and, if necessary, "twice": I am allowed to be marginally employed with a gross salary below the marginal earnings limit AND I am allowed to have ADDITIONAL (or alternatively) self-employment income up to the marginal earnings limit. Many unemployed people do not know about this double low-income limit.

If my employed income exceeds the low-income limit, the receipt of unemployment benefits ends for the duration of the employment.
In the case of self-employed income, the monthly calculation depends on the type of consideration: if this self-employed income was considered "temporary" and I earn above the low-income limit, I will fall out of unemployment benefit receipt for the corresponding month. If this income was considered "continuous" or "rolling", then the employment office assumes that I am always earning additional income on a self-employed basis. This means that if, for example, I had no self-employed income for two months while receiving unemployment benefits, but then in the third month I earn an additional 800 euros, I will not lose my entitlement to unemployment benefits in that month, because this amount is less than the sum of the low-income amounts for a total of three months (800 euros is less than three times 475.86 euros).

Attention: if my self-employed income in a year in which I received unemployment benefits is in total above the marginal earnings limit of 5,830.20 euros (value 2022), the compulsory insurance with the Social Insurance Institution for Self-Employed Persons (SVS) comes into effect and in this case the receipt of my unemployment benefits is questioned retroactively and there may be reclaims of unemployment benefits. Therefore, the rule is: in a year in which I have received unemployment benefits, I should not earn any self-employment income above the de minimis limit. There are only a few exceptions to this rule - such as the so-called declaration of rest (link).

The means-tested minimum benefit (BMS) is a social benefit in Austria. It consists of a cash benefit and free health insurance.
The means-tested minimum benefit is intended for persons who do not have adequate financial means to cover their living expenses or those of their dependents. The decision whether to grant means-tested minimum benefits is made by the respective district administrative authority (e.g. district administration, municipal authority). This authority also makes the payment. The details of means-tested minimum income are regulated differently in the federal provinces.
EU or EEA citizens have an unlimited claim to social assistance or minimum benefits in Austria only if they are staying in Austria as employees or have been living in Austria for more than five years.
Third-country nationals are generally only entitled to social assistance or minimum benefits if they have already lived legally in Austria for more than five years.
Recognized refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are generally entitled to social assistance or minimum benefits only after their status as refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection has been granted.
ATTENTION: In the case of means-tested minimum benefits, all additional earnings (from the first euro on) have a reducing effect and existing assets are affected.

When receiving means-tested minimum benefits, there are basically no exemption limits for additional income. This means that every euro earned is counted as additional income and reduces the entitlement to benefits.

You are entitled to an Austrian pension after 15 years of insurance. Child-raising periods, periods of caring for dependents and periods of unemployment are counted. If the insurance period in Austria is shorter, periods from foreign insurance relationships may be added to reach the 15 years. However, these only count for the increase of the entitlement periods, not for the amount of the pension entitlement, which is calculated solely from the contributions "earned" in Austria.

Taxation

Income tax has to be paid by all those who are predominantly resident in Austria and exceed the tax exemption threshold of EUR 11,000. The worldwide income is taxed.

Value added tax is only relevant for entrepreneurs who achieve more than EUR 35,000 in turnover or have voluntarily opted for standard taxation. Value added tax is only to be collected if business turnover is achieved.

Wage tax is a form of income tax and refers to the tax levied on salaried employment. In Austria, wage tax is regularly paid directly to the tax office by the employer. Employees therefore do not have to take care of this themselves.

Anyone who wants to work as a self-employed person in Austria (not just temporarily) must register the self-employed activity for tax purposes at the tax office.

This is done by filling out a questionnaire (Verf24) at the tax office or via FinanzOnline.

Legal consequences are attached to the fields "expected annual turnover" and "expected profit". Anyone who indicates a presumed annual turnover of more than EUR 35,000 is in any case subject to VAT. If the presumed annual profit exceeds EUR 11,000, quarterly advance payments on the expected income tax are prescribed.

It is therefore advisable to estimate rather conservatively.

As a rule, self-employed artists are obliged to keep an income-expenditure account and not a balance sheet, as long as the annual turnover is below EUR 700,000.

For income-expenditure accountants, the time of the cash flow and not the date of the invoice is decisive for tax recording, i.e. the entry in the income-expenditure account. Therefore, the income or expenditure always takes effect in the year in which the payment was actually made - i.e. the money actually flowed.

All types of income are relevant for income tax. If you are employed, the wage tax is already transferred monthly to the tax office by your employer. Therefore, no further action is required in this regard. In the case of self-employment, the income must be taxed, i.e. a tax return must be submitted annually in which the self-employment income is shown. The tax rate is calculated on the basis of the total income.

Small entrepreneurs do not charge VAT and conversely cannot deduct input tax. The small business regulation is automatically applied if the presumed annual turnover is below EUR 35,000.

The standard taxation, i.e. the obligation to pay VAT, automatically comes into effect as soon as the annual turnover exceeds EUR 35,000.

ATTENTION: You should think carefully here. Value added tax is considered on an annual basis. If you suspect that your turnover will exceed EUR 35,000 in the coming calendar year, it is better to opt for the standard taxation.

If one has opted for the small business regulation and exceeds the turnover limit of EUR 35,000 during the year. In any case, VAT must be paid to the tax office on all invoices issued in that year, even if no VAT was shown on the invoices.

Visa & Residence

Austria requires a certificate of registration from EEA or Swiss citizens. This form must also state the reason for residence in Austria.

Eligible reasons for residence are

  • Self-employed activity
  • Employed activity
  • education
  • Family status
  • Private reasons with proof of sufficient means of subsistence and health insurance

The application for a registration certificate must be submitted to the competent authority (MA35 {Vienna}, Magistrat or Bezirkshauptmannschaft) within 4 months.

Yes, special regulations apply to artists for short-term performances of up to 4 weeks. In order to secure an event or an overall artistic production, artists from third countries can work in Austria on a self-employed or employed basis. For this purpose, they only need a visa C (acquisition) - i.e. an extended tourist visa. Artists who are entitled to visa-free entry do not need a visa, provided they have not yet exceeded the visa-free period.

Employers only have to notify the competent AMS on the day of commencement of work at the latest (informally by email).

Attention: A residence title in an EU country only entitles the holder to work in the country that issued the residence title. In other EU countries, the normal rules for third-country nationals apply with regard to acquisition.

For a settlement permit for artists, a monthly discretionary income of EUR 1,030.49 (value 2022) is required for single persons. This means that per month, after deduction of social security, rental costs, loan instalments and other fixed costs, plus the value of the Free Station, the remaining amount must exceed EUR 1,030.49.

Income

- Social security contributions

- rent and running costs

- any maintenance payments

+ value of the free ward (allowance of EUR 309.93)

-----------------------------------------------

= at least EUR 1,030.49

There are considerable differences between a settlement permit for artists - self-employed and a settlement permit for artists - employed.

SP Artist - self-employed:

Since the settlement permit is issued for a period of one year, contracts covering the minimum income for the entire coming year (at least EUR 1,030.49 per month), plus any additional fixed costs, less the value of the free station, must be submitted upon application.

SP Artists - employed:

Self-employed artists only have to provide evidence in the (preliminary) contract of employment of an appropriate salary that reaches the monthly minimum income limit plus any fixed costs, minus the value of the free station.

If necessary, assets (e.g. bank deposits) can also be used to reach the minimum income.

No, even if a compulsory insurance arises in connection with the settlement permit, you already need an insurance that is liable to pay benefits in Austria at the time of application. In this regard, it is recommended to temporarily take out private insurance.

What is to be considered as customary in the locality depends on the concrete, future place of residence. In principle, however, it can be said that there should be at least 10m2 available per person in the household and that the number of rooms must be at least or higher in relation to the number of persons. Here, however, it also depends on the circumstances of the individual case.

The following options are available in particular

  • the Settlement Permit for Artists (self-employed or employed)
  • Red-White-Red Card "Particularly Highly Qualified Persons
  • Red-White-Red Card for university graduates
  • Graduates - residence for the purpose of seeking employment

Attention: If you apply for a visa for graduates to look for work after completing your studies in Austria, you can no longer apply for a Settlement Permit for Artists (Niederlassungsbewilligung Künstler). In this case, an application would have to be made from abroad, which can also lead to an interruption of the uninterrupted, legal residence in Austria. Therefore, time limits for permanent residence in the EU and citizenship may start to run again.

Yes, it is possible to change your job or employer, but you have to inform the authorities. Of course, it is important that the new job also fulfils the criteria of the Red-White-Red Card.

Yes, in this case spouses are entitled to a Red-White-Red Card Plus and thus also have unrestricted access to the labour market.

Anyone who has fulfilled the requirements of a Red-White-Red Card for two years or 21 months is entitled to a Red-White-Red Card Plus and thus unrestricted access to the labour market.