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The Austrian Tax System – Status Quo

Listed author(s):
  • Angela Köppl


  • Margit Schratzenstaller


The tax burden in Austria is comparatively high, and the gap vis-à-vis the EU average has widened. The tax structure exhibits a number of specific features: taxes on labour are high, both from the employee's and the employer's side, following an upward trend and markedly exceeding the international average. The share of environmental taxes is below the EU average, their effective burden corresponds to an intermediate position. Revenues from tobacco and alcohol taxes, major "sin taxes" aiming at influencing private behaviour, are losing importance in the longer run. Taxation of wealth claims a rather small and – against the international trend – significantly declining share of total tax revenues. Nominal tax rates on income are high, those on returns from capital are about average, as is the nominal and effective corporate tax burden. Moreover, complexity and lack of transparency of the tax system are on the rise. These findings call for a major overhaul of the system, notably of the composition of tax revenues.

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Article provided by WIFO in its journal WIFO Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 20 (2015)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 55-71

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Handle: RePEc:wfo:wblltn:y:2015:i:5:p:55-71
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. European Commission, 2014. "Tax reforms in EU Member States - 2014 Report," Taxation Papers 48, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  2. European Commission, 2013. "Taxation trends in the European Union: 2013 edition," Taxation trends 2013, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  3. Margit Schratzenstaller, 2009. "The Tax Reform 2009-10," Austrian Economic Quarterly, WIFO, vol. 14(4), pages 217-232, December.
  4. Margit Schratzenstaller, 2013. "Staatsquoten — Definitionen, Grenzen der Vergleichbarkeit und Aussagekraft," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;German National Library of Economics, vol. 93(3), pages 204-206, March.
  5. European Commission, 2014. "Taxation trends in the European Union: 2014 edition," Taxation trends 2014, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  6. Angela Köppl & Margit Schratzenstaller, 2015. "The Austrian Tax System – Perspectives for Reform," WIFO Bulletin, WIFO, vol. 20(4), pages 72-79, April.
  7. Margit Schratzenstaller, 2015. "Short- and Medium-Term Prospects of Fiscal Policy. Draft Federal Budget 2014-15 and Federal Medium-Term Expenditure Framework 2015-2018," WIFO Bulletin, WIFO, vol. 20(2), pages 31-46, February.
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