Austria: Witholding tax

On 1 April 2012 the new Austrian withholding and capital gains tax regime entered into force. It means that generally capital gains and income from derivatives are now also subject to taxation for private investors irrespective of their holding periods. The new tax regime is applied to all profits derived from the sale of shares or investment fund units purchased as of 1 January 2011 and for the sale of bonds and derivatives purchased as of 1 April 2012. At the same time the withholding obligation for Austrian depository agents became effective on 1 April 2012. In general only realized income from securitized derivatives will be subject to the special tax rate of 25% and, if applicable, to the withholding tax deduction. Loss offsetting with respect to investment income is achieved by means of comprehensive and ongoing loss offsetting carried out by the depositary agent. As of 1 January 2012, depositary agents will be obliged to carry out the ongoing offsetting of losses within the calendar year. In the event of losses incurred, the taxes resulting from a later or simultaneous gain are to be reduced by the loss. If gains are realized that are not offset by a former loss, withholding tax is to be paid and a later loss gives way to a credit. The credit, however, is capped at 25% of the losses. Private investors are not allowed to carry forward losses incurred in one fiscal year into the following year. Losses incurred in the period between 1 April 2012 and 31 December 2012 will be offset by means of a final settlement. The deadline for this settlement is 30 April 2013. Accrued interest is subject to immediate taxation at the level of the seller when the securities are sold. Purchased accrued interest increases the acquisition costs of the purchaser for tax purposes and therefore reduces the capital gain of a subsequent sale. Foreign currency purchased since 1 April 2012 and kept in a foreign exchange account is subject to a progressive tax instead of a withholding tax upon conversion or pay-out in euro, irrespective of the holding period.

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