Business licensing in Austria
When could I be required to be licensed as a business?
With very few exceptions, anyone carrying on a regular business in Austria, either as an individual or a company, will need a trade license (Gewerbeberechtigung). In addition, the premises from which the business is run usually need an operational permit (the main exception is where they are solely used as offices). Detailed information about starting a business and obtaining trade licenses is available from the Austrian Business Service Portal (Unternehmensservice Portal).
How do I obtain a trade license?
A trade license can be obtained from your local trade authority. There are various licenses covering all kinds of purposes. You can read the general requirements for any trade license. It is straightforward to apply for, but you should note that the Austrian Trade Act (Gewerbeordnung) distinguishes between two types of trade: free trades and regulated trades, for which the applicant (or for a business entity the managing director) must show a certain level of relevant qualifications or work experience. In the tourism area, for example, tour guides and travel agents are regulated trades.
If your premises need an operational permit, then further permissions may be required, e.g. from operational safety authorities.
Is there anything else I should think about?
Please note that certain experiences for instance involving hunting or fishing might require further licenses or permits. Furthermore certain activities in protected areas (e.g. tours, sport activities) may also need respective permits under Austrian nature protection laws.
You should also check what tax and accounting rules apply to you, and make sure you have the right insurance cover in place to cover all the activities you will be providing.
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