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The Austrian Finance Ministry presents: What's new in 2019 This year the Austrian Finance Ministry will continue to surpass its reputation as a government engine of reform

Austrian Finance Minister Löger: "From introduction of the Family Bonus Plus to conversion of ÖBIB (Österreichische Bundes- und Industriebeteiligungen GmbH) into ÖBAG (Österreichische Beteiligungs AG), in 2019, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance will take numerous steps to relieve pressure on individual citizens, to strengthen Austria as a location, and to drive forward growth and innovation in Austria." 

Services

At the outset, on 1 January 2019, the first major tax cut became operative: the Family Bonus Plus. Around 950,000 families and approximately 1.6 million children will be relieved of a tax burden of up to EUR 1.5 billion, and thus, the Family Bonus Plus constitutes the biggest family tax cut to date. At the same time, a child allowance of EUR 250 per child and per year will be introduced for (low-earning) sole earners and single parents and carers. Further improved services from the middle of the year onwards include enabling the SEPA direct debit process for payment of tax debts, setting up a single research subsidy database, and administrative simplifications for the disabled.

Tax changes

From indexing of the tax credit for sole earners and single parents and carers, the tax credit for maintenance payments and the Family Bonus Plus, through modernisation of the process for refunding Austrian withholding tax, to standardisation of insurance tax across all agricultural natural-disaster risk insurance, in terms of tax, a total of 12 significant changes are planned, all of which enter into force with effect from 1 January 2019.

Financial and capital market

Through revision of the 4th Money Laundering Directive, efforts are being intensified to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. On the stock market too, there will be changes to the Austrian Stock Corporation Act and to shareholder rights. Further optimisation is scheduled with regard to company retirement pension provision and the Prospectus Regulation. The FinTech Council, which came into being in May 2018, will also already be in a position to present its initial results during the course of 2019. Setting up of the Regulatory Sandbox has been firmly adopted. Creation of a central platform ("Know Your Customer") as well as the dematerialisation of securities are to be driven forward by the end of the year.

International affairs, customs and investment management

The World Bank (IBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will further expand their presence in Vienna in 2019, as a result of which the Vienna office of the World Bank will become one of the biggest offices in Europe. In addition, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, as announced at the EU Africa Forum, will consolidate its focus on Africa.

In the area of customs, implementation of the Union Customs Code is planned for the first quarter of 2019.

From 1 January 2019, the Austrian federal government's investment management will be placed on a new footing; conversion of ÖBIB (Österreichische Bundes- und Industriebeteiligungen GmbH) (a state holding company akin to a national wealth fund) into ÖBAG (Österreichische Beteiligungs AG) is intended to strengthen Austria as a location and make a contribution to the promotion of growth and innovation.