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Vienna, 30.04.2019 Relieving Austria” to Implement Comprehensive Measures for Simplification and in the Field of Ecology

Structural simplifications of tax law increase user-friendliness and facilitate enforcement

Vienna (OTS) – With “Relieving Austria,” the Federal Government of Austria is taking measures in the environmental sector already from 2020 onwards in order to promote the rapid implementation of the Austrian climate and energy strategy. In particular, low-emission motor vehicles are to be fiscally privileged.

In the field of mobility, the standardised consumption tax (NoVA) will be redesigned to be revenue-neutral, socially compatible and ecologically sound. Depending on CO₂ emissions, the tax burden is to be shifted to those vehicles that cause above-average CO₂ emissions. The Federal Government will also adjust the limit values for CO₂ emissions in the wage tax treatment of vehicles and take account of CO₂ emissions for the engine-related insurance tax, in addition to engine output. In order to increase the incentive for companies to offer more electric bicycles to employees, the possibility of input tax deduction for entrepreneurial activities is created for these companies as well.

Outside the sphere of mobility, the electricity production tax for photovoltaic systems will be abolished. Biogas, hydrogen and LNG will also be fiscally privileged, with sustainably produced hydrogen and sustainably produced biogas from renewable sources becoming tax-exempt. Finally, for ecological reasons and in the interests of equal treatment, in future the reduced tax rate of 10 percent will apply to electronic newspapers and books as well.

Our environment benefits first and foremost from all of this, but so will the taxpayer, too. The measures described above have a total positive effect of around € 55 m.

Finance Minister Hartwig Löger said: “Speedy implementation of the Austrian climate and energy strategy is an important concern for us, which should not be neglected in the context of ‘Relieving Austria’. In addition to numerous measures in the field of mobility, we are also providing more support for renewable energies to meet this demand.”

With “Relieving Austria,” the Federal Government is also providing relief from bureaucratic overhead and governmental hurdles by simplifications of tax law. For example, the Income Tax Act was permanently amended for over 30 years, but never structurally overhauled. After more than 160 amendments, it is highly complex due to the numerous exceptions and special provisions. Thus, now a modernisation and simplification of tax law is being effected, an increase in user-friendliness and a facilitation of enforcement.

The simplification measures will also increase legal certainty and shorten the duration of procedures. This includes the expansion and strengthening of the Tax Ombudsperson Service for employees, the abolition of minor taxes (such as the sparkling wine tax) and the simplification of payroll accounting (e.g. by creating a uniform assessment base for non-wage labour costs).

Finance State Secretary Hubert Fuchs said: “Tax law has been changed over and over for decades. However, structural simplification is still lacking, making application a pain. We are now providing a significant simplification to increase user-friendliness and facilitate enforcement.”