Austria - eCommerceAustria - eCommerce
In 2015, 82% of all Austrian households had Internet access, 81% via broadband. Of all Austrians aged 16-74, 82% report using the Internet regularly and 58% report having purchased something online in the past 12 months. In 2015, 72% reported using a smart phone and 41% using a tablet, notebook or laptop to access the Internet while on the go. 65% of 2.9 million Austrians used social media on a daily basis in 2015.
The Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) mentioned in the direct marketing section above provides rules for online services in the EU. It requires providers to abide by rules in the country where they are established (country of origin). Online providers must respect consumer protection rules such as indicating contact details on their website, clearly identifying advertising and protecting against spam. The Directive also grants exemptions to liability for intermediaries that transmit illegal content by third parties and for unknowingly hosting content. The European Commission released a work plan in 2012 in order to facilitate cross-border online services and reduce barriers and released a report.
The EU applies Value Added Tax (VAT) to sales by non-EU based companies of Electronically Supplied Services (ESS) to EU-based non-business customers. U.S. companies that are covered by the rule must collect and submit VAT to EU tax authorities. From 1 January 2015, all supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services are taxable at the place where the customer belongs. In the case of businesses this means either the country where it is registered or the country where it has fixed premises receiving the service. In the case of consumers, it is where they are registered, have their permanent address, or usually live.
As part of the legislative changes of 2015, the Commission has launched the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) scheme, use of which is optional. It is meant to facilitate the sales of ESS from taxable to non-taxable persons (B2C) located in Member States in which the sellers do not have an establishment to account for the VAT.
This scheme allows taxable persons (sellers) to avoid registering in each Member State of consumption. A taxable person who is registered for the mini One Stop Shop in a Member State (the Member State of Identification) can electronically submit quarterly mini One Stop Shop VAT returns detailing supplies of ESS to non-taxable persons in other Member States (the Member State(s) of consumption), along with the VAT due.
The most important pieces of legislation on VAT are the EU VAT Directive 2006/112/EC:
and its Implementing Regulation 282/2011 Further information relating to VAT on ESS:
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