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The Austrian Tax System – Status Quo


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Angela Köppl & Margit Schratzenstaller, 2015. "The Austrian Tax System – Status Quo," WIFO Bulletin, WIFO, vol. 20(5), pages 55-71, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wfo:wblltn:y:2015:i:5:p:55-71

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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(6), 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(3), pages 31-46, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Margit Schratzenstaller, 2016. "Fiscal Policy Facing Major Challenges with Tax Reform, Need for Growth-Enhancing Investment and Consolidation Targets. Federal Fiscal Framework 2016-2019 and Draft Federal Budget 2016," WIFO Bulletin, WIFO, vol. 21(2), pages 12-29, February.
    2. repec:wfo:wblltn:y:2017:i:7:p:58-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Alois Guger & Silvia Rocha-Akis, 2016. "Redistribution by the State in Austria," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 89(5), pages 329-345, May.
    4. Margit Schratzenstaller, 2017. "Fiscal Policy Facing Manifold Challenges. Federal Fiscal Framework 2017-2020 and Draft Federal Budget 2017," WIFO Bulletin, WIFO, vol. 22(7), pages 58-72, July.
    5. Spyros Arvanitis & Michael Peneder & Christian Rammer & Tobias Stucki & Martin Wörter, 2016. "The adoption of green energy technologies: The role of policies in an international comparison," KOF Working papers 16-411, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    6. Rammer, Christian & Gottschalk, Sandra & Peneder, Michael & Wörter, Martin & Stucki, Tobias & Arvanitis, Spyros, 2017. "Does energy policy hurt international competitiveness of firms? A comparative study for Germany, Switzerland and Austria," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 154-180.
    7. Margit Schratzenstaller, 2015. "The Tax Reform 2015-16 – Measures and Overall Assessment," WIFO Bulletin, WIFO, vol. 20(20), pages 222-237, December.
    8. Spyros Arvanitis & Michael Peneder & Christian Rammer & Tobias Stucki & Martin Wörter, 2016. "How Different Policy Instruments Affect the Creation of Green Energy Innovation: A Differentiated Perspective," KOF Working papers 16-417, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.


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