We have compiled an overview of auxiliary costs that may be incurred as a result of the purchase or sale of a property in Austria, as well as other relevant information regarding taxes and your rights:
at a value of
* threshold provision pursuant to Section 12 (4) Real Estate Brokers Act
The Act on the Presentation of the Energy Performance Certificate (EAVG 2012) provides that in the event a building or an object of usage is sold, the seller has to present to the buyer an Energy Performance Certificate in due time before the contract is concluded. At the time of presentation, the Energy Performance Certificate may not be older than 10 years. It must also be handed over to the buyer no later than 14 days after the signing of the agreement. In the event the seller fails to provide the certificate, the buyer is entitled to procure the Energy Performance Certificatedirectly, provided he / she has requested the certificate from the seller in vain. The buyer can then opt to either claim reasonable expenses for the certificate at court within a period of three years, or file a court request for the hand-over of the certificate.
The EAVG 2012 has been in force since December 1, 2012. It provides that advertisements in print and electronic media must specify the thermal heat requirements (Heizwärmebedarf or HWB) and the overall energy efficiency factor (Gesamtenergieeffizienzfaktor or fGEE), with both seller and broker being subject to this obligation.
Certificates which were issued before EAVG 2012 went in to force, shall be valid for 10 years after the date of issuance. This regulation also applies if the certificate displays the thermal heat requirements (HWB) only, and not the overall energy efficiency factor (fGEE) as well. In such case the thermal heat requirement value (related to the climate at the site) shall suffice.
The seller may choose to hand-over either an Energy Performance Certificate on the overall energy efficiency of the object or of a comparable object within the same building, or on the entire building. With regard to one-family homes, the requirement to present and hand-over an energy certificate will be satisfied by means of an energy certificate for a comparable building. The author of the Energy Performance Certificate must, however, confirm such comparability.
The Energy Performance Certificate must be compliant with the respective provincial regulations and is designed to create comparable information on the standard energy consumption of an object. The calculation of energy indicators is based on pre-defined conditions and standard parameters which are not user-dependent, resulting in the fact that there may be considerable deviations when the property / object is actually used.
If no Energy Performance Certificate is presented, Section 7 EAVG provides that an overall energy performance corresponding to the age and type of the building has been agreed.
Since December 1, 2012, a nation-wide catalogue of exemptions has been in effect in Austria. Contrary to the previous regulation, Energy Performance Certificates must now also be made available for historical monuments and listed buildings.
The Act on the Presentation of the Energy Performance Certificate (EAVG 2012) includes administrative penalty provisions. Both the seller and the broker who fail to state the HWB and fGEE values in an advertisement are subject to a fine of up to EUR 1,450. Brokers will only be excused if they have informed the seller of the subject obligation, requesting both indicators and the procurement of an Energy Efficiency Certificate, which the seller refused to supply. Moreover, the seller faces an administrative penalty of up to EUR 1,450 if he / she fails to present and / or hand-over the Energy Performance Certificate.
Section 6 paras 1, 3 and 4, Section 7 para 1,
Section 10 para 1 and Section 15 Maklergesetz [Austrian Broker Statute]
Section 6 (1) The client is obliged to pay a commission if the transaction is concluded with a third party due to the broker’s activity pursuant to the contract.
(3) The broker is entitled to the commission even if, due to his activities, the transaction to be brought about pursuant to the contract is not entered into, but another transaction is entered into, the economic purpose of which is equivalent to the original transaction.
(4) The broker shall not be entitled to a commission if he himself becomes a contracting party to the transaction. This shall also apply if the transaction entered into with a third party is the economic equivalent to a conclusion of the transaction by the broker himself. In the event of any other close familial or economic relationship between the broker and the third party which might impair the safeguarding of the interests of the client, the broker shall only be entitled to a commission if he immediately notifies the client of such close relationship.
Section 7 (1) The entitlement to a commission shall come into existence when the transaction becomes legally effective. The broker shall not be entitled to any advance.
Section 10 (1) 2. The entitlement to a commission and the claim for reimbursement of additional expenses shall arise when they have been incurred.
Special commission agreements
Section 15 (1) An agreement according to which the client is required to pay an amount, for instance as compensation for or reimbursement of expenses incurred and professional services rendered, even if there is no successful conclusion of a deal attributable to the broker, shall only be permissible up to the amount of the agreed or locally customary commission and only in the event that
(2) Such a payment may, in the case of sole broker agreements, be agreed upon if:
(3) Payments pursuant to para 1 and para 2 shall be considered remuneration (Vergütungsbetrag) within the meaning of Section 1336 ABGB [Austrian General Civil Code].
An agreement pursuant to Section 15 Maklergesetz [Broker Statute] must be made in writing in the case of broker agreements involving consumers.
The real-estate agent’s information requirements
Section 30 b KSchG consumer Protection Act (1) Prior to concluding an agency agreement with the client (in the case of a “Consumer”), the agent has to hand over to the client — with the diligence of a proper real estate professional — a written statement indicating that it will act as an agent, and a list of all expected costs arising from the conclusion of the requested business transaction, including the agent’s commission. The amount of the commission must be stated separately; the agent must also inform that client of any economic or private relationship for the purpose of Section 6 (4) third sentence of MaklerG (Real Estate Agency Act). When the agent — according to common business practice — can act as dual agent, the statement must bear explicit reference to this fact. In the event of any substantial change in circumstances, the agent must rectify the above documents accordingly. If the agent fails to fulfill this obligation before the client agrees to the brokered transaction, Section 3 (4) MaklerG shall apply.
(2) The real estate agent has to provide the client with the required information (pursuant to Section 3 MaklerG) in writing. The information must in any case include all circumstances which are essential to assess the business transaction to be brokered.
NOTE: Based on current business practice, real estate agents may also act as dual agents without the client’s explicit approval. In the event that the agent is instructed to act solely for one party in the transaction, the other party shall be informed by the agent.
Information requirements in the event of distance and off-premises sales Scope of the obligation; legal consequences
to be applied on
Exempted are contracts on
Section 4 FAGG (1) The contract or offer shall not be binding upon the consumer before it has been informed by the trader of the following facts and in a clear and comprehensible matter:
(2) In the event of a public auction, the information referred to in subsection 1 (2) and (3) might be substituted by information on the auctioneer.
(3) The information pursuant to subsection 1 (8), (9), (10) may be provided by means of a model form stating the rights of withdrawal. The form satisfies the trader’s obligation, provided it has been completed appropriately by the trader prior to being given to the client.
(4) The information provided to the client in accordance with subsection 1 is part of the contract. Any modifications are only effective when they have been explicitly agreed upon by both parties to the contract.
(5) If the trader has failed to provide to the client information on additional and other costs in accordance with subsection 1 Z 4, or on the costs for returning the goods in accordance with subsection 1 Z 9, the client does not have to bear these costs.
(6) The obligation to provide information in accordance with subsection 1 applies regardless of other obligations to provide information pursuant to statutory regulations based on the Directive on Services in the Internal Market (2006/123/EC — Federal Law Gazette No. L 376 dated Dec. 27, 2006, page 36) or on certain legal aspects regarding information services in the E-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC — Federal Law Gazette L 178 of July 17, 2000, page 1) in particular those referring to electronic business transactions.
Information requirement for off-premises contracts
Section 5 FAGG (1) In the event of contracts concluded off-premises, the information referred to in Section 4 (1) shall be provided to the consumer on paper, or if the consumer agrees, on another durable data medium. The information must be legible, clear and comprehensible.
(2) The trader shall hand over to the consumer a paper copy of the signed contract, or a confirmation of the concluded contract, or upon the consumer’s approval, a copy stored on another durable data medium. Where applicable, the copy of the contract or the confirmation of the contract shall include an acknowledgement of the consumer’s approval and knowledge pursuant to Section 18 (1) Z 11.
Providing information for distance contracts
Section 7 FAGG (1) In the event of distance sales, the information referred to in Section 4 (1) must be provided to the consumer in a way which is appropriate to the communication channel used, and it must be clear and comprehensible. If the information is provided on a durable data medium, it must be legible.
(2) If the contract is concluded through a telecommunications channel where the time for presenting the information is limited in terms of space or time, the trader shall provide to the consumer at least the information provided in Section 4 (1) Z 1, 2, 4, 5, 8 and 14 on the essential characteristics of the goods or services, the name of the trader, the total price, the withdrawal right, the term of the contract and the conditions for terminating contracts with indefinite terms. This information must be provided through the same telecommunications channel prior to concluding the contract. The remaining information in Section 4 (1) shall be provided to the consumer in an appropriate manner and in accordance with subsection 1.
(3) Within a reasonable period of time following the conclusion of the contract, however not later than upon delivery of the goods, or before the respective services are rendered, the trader shall provide to the consumer a confirmation of the concluded contract on a durable data medium, including the information specified in Section 4 (1), unless this information has already been given to the consumer on a durable data medium prior to the conclusion of the contract. Where applicable, the confirmation of the contract shall include an acknowledgement of the consumer’s approval and knowledge pursuant to Section 18 (1) Z 11.
Special requirements in the event of e-contracts
Section 8 FAGG (1) In the event that an electronic distance contract — not exclusively concluded by email or a comparable individual electronic communications channel — obliges the consumer to make a payment, the trader has to notify the consumer in a clear and accentuated manner of the information set forth in Section 4 (1) Z 1, 4, 5, 14, and 15, prior to the latter’s declaration of agreement.
(2) The trader has to ensure that the consumer explicitly confirms during the ordering process that the order is connected to an obligation of payment. If the ordering process requires pressing a button or a similar function, there must be a clear wording, such as “payment for order” or a similar, clear statement notifying the consumer that the order is connected with the obligation to make a payment to the trader. If the trader fails to comply with the obligations in this subsection, the contract or the declaration of contract shall not be binding upon the consumer.
(3) Trading websites shall indicate in a clear and comprehensible way and no later than at the beginning of the ordering process whether there are delivery restrictions and which means of payment are accepted.
(4) Subsections 1 to 3 also apply on the contracts mentioned in Section 1 (2) Z 8. The provisions in subsection 2 (second and third sentence) are also applicable on the contracts mentioned in Section 1 (2) Z 2 and 3, provided that they have been concluded in the way described in subsection 1.
Definition of “durable data medium”:
Paper, USB sticks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, memory cards, hard-disks, storable and reproducible emails.
Special requirements in the event of telephone sales
Section 9 FAGG (1) In the event of telephone calls with consumers with a view to concluding a distance sales contract, the trader must inform the consumer at the beginning of the conversation of its name, its company name, or where applicable of the name of the person upon whose order it is acting, as well as the commercial purpose of the conversation.
(2) In the event of a distance sales contract for services negotiated during a call initiated by the trader, the consumer shall be under no obligation before the trader makes available to the consumer a confirmation of the offer on a durable data medium and the consumer subsequently submits to the trader a written acceptance of the offer on a durable data medium as well.
1. Withdrawal from a brokerage agreement (Sole agency agreement, brokerage agreement, brokerage agreement with a prospective client) if it is a distance or off-premises contract (Section 11 FAGG)
Right to withdraw and withdrawal period
Section 11 FAGG (1) The consumer may withdraw from a distance or off-premises contract within a period of 14 days, without giving the reason for its withdrawal. The withdrawal periods commences on the date the agreement is entered into.
Omission of information on the right of withdrawal
Section 12 FAGG (1) If the trader has failed to comply with its obligation to inform the consumer pursuant to Section 4 (1) Z 8, the withdrawal period specified in Section 11 shall be extended by twelve months.
(2) If the trader provides the information to the consumer within twelve months from the date relevant for the commencement of the period, the withdrawal period ends 14 days after the consumer has received the information.
Exercising the right of withdrawal
Section 13 FAGG (1) The withdrawal does not require any specific format. The consumer may use the model form * for withdrawals. The withdrawal period is complied with if the declaration is posted within the period.
(2) The trader may offer the consumer the option to complete the model withdrawal form or fill in and submit a declaration of withdrawal through its website. If the consumer uses this channel, the trader has to acknowledge receipt immediately, by means of a durable data medium.
Beginning of the execution of the contract before expiration of the withdrawal period
Section 10 FAGG If a distance or off-premises service contract is about the provision of an indefinite volume or quantity of water, gas, electricity or district heat and the consumer requested provision before the end of the withdrawal period pursuant to Section 11, the trader must request the consumer to explicitly solicit early execution of the agreement on a durable data medium, provided that the contract was concluded off-premises.
Obligations of the consumer in the event of withdrawal from a contract for services, energy or water supply, or digital contents
Section 16 FAGG (1) If, pursuant to Section 11 (1) a consumer withdraws from an agreement on services or the provision of energy or water as specified in Section 10, after having made a request in accordance with Section 10 and the trader subsequently started to fulfill the agreement, the consumer has to reimburse the trader for the amount which corresponds to the pro-rated share of deliveries (made up to the date of withdrawal) in relation to the agreed total contract price. If the total price is excessive, the payable pro-rated share is to be based on the market value of the services actually rendered.
(2) The consumer is not obliged to pay a pro-rated share pursuant to subsection 1 if the trader has not met its obligation to inform the consumer in accordance with Section 4 (1) Z 8 and 10.
* see annex
Exemptions from the rights to withdraw
Section 18 FAGG (1) The consumer shall not have the right to withdraw from distance or off-premises contracts on services if the trader started to execute the contract and has completely rendered the respective services before the withdrawal period has ended (pursuant to Section 11). This is only possible, however, if the consumer makes an explicit request pursuant to Section 10 and subsequently acknowledges that it will lose its withdrawal right once the contract has been completely fulfilled by the trader.
2. Rescission of contract pertaining to real estate pursuant to Section 30 a Konsumentenschutzgesetz (“KSchG”) [Austrian Consumer Protection Act]
A client who is a consumer (Section 1 KSchG) and
may declare within one week in writing that he rescinds such contractual statement.
The time period begins to run only when the consumer has received a duplicate of the contractual statement and information regarding the right to rescind the same, i.e. either on the day after he made the statement or, if the duplicate including the information on the right to rescind the contractual statement was delivered later on, at such later point in time. In any case the right to rescind the contractual statement expires not later than one month after the date of the first visit.
Agreements on the payment of a down payment, forfeit money or the like prior to expiration of the period allowed for rescission pursuant to Section 30 a KSchG shall be ineffective.
3. Withdrawal right in the event of door-step sales pursuant to Section 3 KSchG Consumer Protection Act
Only applicable on contracts which are explicitly exempted from the applicability of the FAGG (Act on Distance and Off-Premises Sales).
A customer who is consumer in the sense of Section 1 Consumer Protection Act has the right to withdraw up to the conclusion of the contract, or within 14 days following its conclusion, if
The term does not start before the consumer has been handed over a document containing the name and address of the trader, the data required to identify the contract, instructions on the withdrawal right, the withdrawal period and the process of exercising this right.
If the consumer is not informed of its right to withdraw, it shall be entitled to withdraw during a period of twelve months and 14 days following the conclusion of the agreement. In the event the trader hands over the document within twelve months following the beginning of the term, the extended withdrawal period shall end 14 days after the date the consumer receives the respective document.
The withdrawal notice does not require any specific format. The withdrawal period is complied with if the withdrawal notice is dispatched within the withdrawal period.
4. The right to rescind the contract in case of non-occurrence of essential facts or circumstances (Section 3 a KSchG)
The consumer may rescind his application for a contract or the contract itself in writing if
Essential circumstances are
The period for rescission of the contract is one week after the consumer is able to notice such non-occurrence if he was informed about such right to rescind the contract in writing. In any case, however, the right to rescind the contract will end one month after complete performance of the contract by both parties.
The consumer is not entitled to rescind the contract if
5. The right to rescind a developer contract pursuant to Section 5 BTVG [Austrian Developer Contracts Act]
The Developer Contracts Act introduced regulations intended to protect persons acquiring rights to buildings, flats and/or business premises which are yet to be built and/or to be renovated thoroughly. The Statute is only applicable to developer contracts in case of which advance payments of more than EUR 150 per sq. m. of usable space must be effected.
The buyer may withdraw from his / her contractual statement if he / she does not receive the following information from the developer in writing until a week before concluding the contract:
If the buyer does not receive the information listed under points 1–5 above including a written explanation of his / her right of withdrawal until at least one week before signing the contractual statement, he / she shall be entitled to withdraw from the contract. Withdrawal may be declared at any time before the contract becomes legally effective. After that withdrawal has to be declared within 14 days. The period of withdrawal begins on the date of receipt of the pertaining information, but not before the contract becomes legally effective. Notwithstanding the receipt of the information, the right of withdrawal will expire 6 weeks after the contract has become legally effective.
In addition, the purchaser may rescind his contractual statement if a residential construction subsidy on which the parties based the contract is not granted in full or to a substantial extent for reasons for which the purchaser is not responsible. Rescission of the contract must be declared within two weeks. The period for rescission of the contract commences as soon as the purchaser is informed of the fact that no residential construction subsidy will be granted and if at the same time or later he / she receives written information regarding the right to rescind the contract. The right to rescind the contract expires not later than six weeks after receipt of the information about the fact that no residential construction subsidy will be granted.
The buyer can declare withdrawal to the developer or the trustee in writing.
A statement of rescission regarding a real estate transaction which is addressed to the real estate broker shall also apply to a broker agreement concluded in the course of making the contractual statement.
Mailing of the statement of rescission on the last day of the period (date of postmark) is sufficient. The statement of rescission shall be deemed sufficient if a written document is sent which contains a contractual statement of only one party plus an additional statement showing the consumer’s decline of the offer.
1. Tax on Real Estate Gains and Speculations Gains (Real Estate Gains Tax)
Gains from the sale of privately-held real estate have been subject to taxation since April 1, 2012, regardless of the time held. With regard to real estate which was sold after March 31, 2012 there is a distinction between those properties that were previously purchased on/after April 1, 2002 (or April 1, 1997) and those purchased before that date (“old cases”).
30 % tax on the real estate gains
Those properties that were acquired as of April 1, 2002 (or April 1, 1997 if production costs were partly appreciated over a shorter period) are normally subject to a flat 30 % real estate gains tax rate, based on the difference between purchase costs and sales proceeds. Renovation costs and production costs after the purchase are deductible to the extent they cannot be expensed. However, added is any depreciation on purchasing and production costs, and the special depreciation which was deducted in the process of calculating special income from letting and leasing (see details item 3 below), as well as partial deductibles for renovation expenses which have not yet been accounted for. Sales made on / before December 31, 2015 are subject to a tax rate of 25 %. The previously valid 2 % compensation for inflation per year can no longer be set off against the taxable profit (as of January 1, 2016).
NOTE: It is primarily in the case of rented properties that the real estate gains can normally only be determined in cooperation between the tax adviser and the real estate broker. The declaration and payment of the real estate gains tax has to be made by the drafter of the sales agreement, no later than on the 15th day of the second month following the actual payment of the purchase price.
“Old cases”: 4.2 % or 18 % tax on the total purchase price.
In the event the preceding purchase was before April 1, 2002 (or in the event of partial deductibles made in accordance with Section 28 (3) Income Tax Act of April 1, 1997) the actual sales proceeds will be taxed at a flat rate. In view of the legally imposed assumption of a 14 % gain from the sale of the property, the resulting tax rates are
It is possible in any case to request a calculation of the speculative gain and to have it taxed at a rate of 30 %, or using the applicable income tax rate. Pursuant to Section 20 (2) EStG also ancillary transaction costs are deductible in that case.
2. Exemptions from the Real Estate Gains Tax
3. Calculation of partial deductibles and the speculative gain
When calculating the speculative gain of “new cases”, any partially accelerated depreciation of production costs and the pro-rated depreciation of renovation cost (based on 10 years) that were previously accounted for must be added to the taxable gain. According to Section 30 (3) Income Tax Act, these costs are included in the speculative gain and are therefore subject to the special tax rate of 25 %.
In the event of the sale of leased properties defined as “old cases”, the sales profit will principally be subject to a flat 3.5 % tax rate on the sales proceeds. However, added to this amount will be a 25 % tax applied on 50 % of the depreciated production costs accounted for during the last 15 years prior to the sale (normally depreciable over 15 years, in special cases over 10 years).
4. Loss of the depreciation of one tenth or one fifteenth
If the seller has filed an application for depreciation of outlays for maintenance, repair and construction in partial amounts pursuant to Section 28 paras 2, 3 and 4 EStG 1988 (depreciation of one tenth or one fifteenth, respectively), the right of depreciation of the one tenth or one fifteenth amounts not claimed at the time of the sale will be lost for both the seller and the buyer (special regulation in case of acquisition mortis causa).
5. Adjustment of VAT input tax and VAT
VAT input taxes resulting from purchase and production costs and from major repair work must be adjusted on a pro-rated basis during the following 19 years, if conveyed between living persons. For investment properties which were used before April 1, 2012 there are transitional provisions with a nine-year adjustment period. A legal successor using a property as an investment object, such as an apartment building, can avoid an adjustment ofthe VAT input tax, by adding 20 % VAT to the sales price. As the VAT is part of the purchase price, a pertinent reference must be included in the purchase agreement.
The effects of the First Stability Act 2012 should be noted in the event that the tenant’s right to deduct the VAT input tax does not apply on almost all of the tenant’s revenues. It is therefore recommendable to discuss the VAT-related aspects with a tax advisor in detail before the purchase contract is drawn up.
6. Sale of real estate consisting of woodland
The hidden reserves from the standing wood will be disclosed and subject to tax.