Register of beneficial owners

Due to the European Anti Money Laudering Directive Austria implemented – besides many other actions – a register of beneficial owners of Austrian legal entities.

Reporting obligation

Each legal entity is obliged to report its beneficial owners until June 1st, 2018 if the following conditions are fulfilled:

if one or more natural persons own or control:

  • directly an equity share of more than 25% per beneficial owner; or
  • indirectly, also via a trust or a fiduciary agreement (more than 25% each); or

if nobody was identified according the above conditions: legal representatives of the entity

if a foundation or a trust is the top level parent entity:

  • founder/trustor
  • beneficiary
  • trustee/top management

Exemption from the reporting obligation: If all (personally liable) shareholders of a partnership (OG or KG) or a limited liability company (GmbH) are recorded in the register of companies, they will be registered in the new register of beneficial owners automatically ex officio.

Cooperatives, insurance companies and associations: These entities have no owners. Their legal representatives are already recorded in the relevant existing registries. In those cases, a report is only obligatory, if the data from the existing registers are incomplete (e.g. control shift due to syndicate contracts).

Note: If your corporation is subject to the reporting obligation, we can support you within the scope of our power of representation.

Queries (Research in the new register of beneficial owners)

Everybody may request information from the new register, but every request must be applied for in writing stating a legitimate interest and an explanation, how the requested data contribute to achieve the objectives (e.g. obligation of the requesting party to identify the ultimate beneficial owner on the basis of anti money laundering  regulations).

Requests from the following privileged parties are explicitly regulated:

  • banks
  • lawyers/Notary Publics
  • auditors/tax advisors
  • accountants
  • management consultants
  • real estate and insurance brokers
  • Bundesfinanzierungsagentur (Federal Financing Agency)

Authorities (only in the exercise of due diligence)

for supervision purposes:

  • FMA (Financial Markets Authority)
  • BMF (Ministry of Finance)
  • Rechtsanwalts-/Notariatskammer (chamber of lawyers, chamber of Notary Publics)
  • Kammer der Steuerberater und Wirtschaftsprüfer (chamber of tax advisors and auditors)
  • WKO (chamber of commerce)
  • Abgabenbehörden und das BFG (financial authorities and federal fiscal court)
  • OeNB (national bank)

for prosecution: 

  • Bezirksverwaltungsbehörde (District administrative authority)
  • Strafverfolgungsbehörden wie Staatsanwalt, BFG: Law enforcement authorities such as prosecutor, federal fiscal court
  • BMI, Polizei (Ministry of Interior, Police)

These parties may request data and file requests to change data in a less formal way, but their requests will be closely monitored: Requests as well as changes to the entries in the register will be logged to verify compliance with the provisions of the Act on the register of beneficial owners and data protection regulations.

Data to be reported to the new register:

First name and Surname; Birth date and place of birth; citizenship; place of residence in Austria, if none: number and type of ID;

additionally for indirect beneficial owners: registration number of the top parent entity from the relevant register (foreign entities also name, legal seat, type of entity) and the quota of shareholding, unless the shares are held indirectly through foundations or trusts that are registered themselves.