Austria

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Overall Phase 2 Rating is Largely Compliant

Table of Determinations and Ratings of the Combined Review

Jurisdictions should ensure that ownership and identity information for all relevant entities and arrangements is available to their competent authorities. (ToR A.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.  Although Austria’s AML/CFT framework has a broad coverage, legal entities and arrangements are not required to engage an AML-obligated person who would identify and verify their beneficial ownership information in all cases and during their entire lifetime. These gaps are addressed by the Beneficial Ownership Register, which is designed with robust obligations for legal entities and AML-obliged persons and effective penalties. However, its efficiency in practice could not be assessed as it is only fully effective with effect from 1 June 2018.  It is recommended that Austria monitors the implementation of the Beneficial Ownership Register in practice. 
Jurisdictions should ensure that reliable accounting records are kept for all relevant entities and arrangements. (ToR A.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
Banking information should be available for all account-holders. (ToR A.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
Competent authorities should have the power to obtain and provide information that is the subject of a request under an exchange of information arrangement from any person within their territorial jurisdiction who is in possession or control of such information (irrespective of any legal obligation on such person to maintain the secrecy of the information). (ToR B.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   Restrictions on access to bank information provided for by Austria’s domestic legislation are still applicable in respect of 16 out of Austria’s 144 EOI relationships.   Austria should continue to further amend its EOI network to bring it to the standard with all relevant partners. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.  Although there are sufficient general access powers available to the tax authority which seem to allow access to information held by legal professionals, the interaction of these powers with professional secrecy of lawyers and notaries has not been tested in practice. This concern is strengthened by the fact that the representatives of the lawyers did not clearly indicate that they would in practice be in position to provide information to the tax authority when requested.  Austria should monitor access to information held by professionals who can claim legal professional privilege so that the requested information can be obtained in line with the standard. 
The rights and safeguards (e.g. notification, appeal rights) that apply to persons in the requested jurisdiction should be compatible with effective exchange of information. (ToR B.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
Exchange of information mechanisms should provide for effective exchange of information. (ToR C.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   Restrictions on access to bank information provided for by Austria’s domestic legislation are still applicable in respect of 16 out of Austria’s 144 EOI relationships. In addition, 10 of these deficient EOI relationships also limit EOI to the application of the treaty or require providing the name and address of the holder of the information in Austria.  Austria should continue to further amend its EOI network to bring it to the standard with all relevant partners. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
The jurisdictions' mechanisms for exchange of information should have adequate provisions to ensure the confidentiality of information received. (ToR C.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
The exchange of information mechanisms should respect the rights and safeguards of taxpayers and third parties. (ToR C.4)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
The jurisdiction should provide information under its network of agreements in a timely manner. (ToR C.5)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The assessment team is not in a position to evaluate whether this element is in place, as it involves issues of practice that are dealt with in the Phase 2 review.   This element involves issues of practice. Accordingly no determination on the legal and regulatory framework has been made.   
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.  Although under the review period Austria provided timely replies in 80% of cases within 90 days it only provided status updates in 20% of cases where it took longer to reply.  Austria should ensure that it provides status updates in all cases where it takes over 90 days to provide the reply. 

Earlier self-assessment based annual reports entitled Tax Co-operation 2010: Towards a Level Playing Field are also available.