Private foundations

The private foundation under Austrian law is a legal entity to which the founder devotes assets for use, administration and exploitation in order to serve the fulfilment of a designated purpose determined by the founder. The foundation has the status of a legal person and must be domiciled in Austria.

The private foundation is explicitly referred to in the Austrian UBO Register Act, so its true ultimate beneficial owners should also be apparent from the register of beneficial owners. Although private foundations under Austrian law have to be registered in the company register as part of their founding, only the members of the foundation board are registered and therefore an active declaration of ultimate beneficial owners is necessary.

The Austrian UBO Act has defined the following persons as ultimate beneficial owners of private foundations:

  1. All founders (or the persons exercising control over them)
  2. All members of the foundation council
  3. Explicitly mentioned beneficiaries as well as those potential beneficiaries (e.g. all descendants in a straight line of a specific person) who have received a donation worth more than EUR 2,000.00 in a calendar year.
  4. Every other persons who ultimately controls the foundation

In foundations according to § 66 VAG 2016, savings banks foundations according to § 27a SpG, Foundations to promote company purposes (“Unternehmenszweckförderungsstiftungen”) according to § 4d sec 1d EStG 1988, foundations to promote employees (“Arbeitnehmerförderungsstiftungen”) according to § 4d sec 2 EStG 1988 as well as foundations for employee participation (“Belegschafts- und MItarbeiterbeteiligungsstiftungen”)  according to § 4d sec  3 and 4 EStG 1988 only need to register potential beneficiaries without registering specific persons . This is because the Austrian legislator expects those kinds of foundations to only have a minimal risk to participate in terrorist financing and money laundering and also understands that the registration of a large number of beneficiaries would be an undue burden.

However, members of the Supervisory Board or a possibly established Advisory Board are never to be registered as beneficial owners, since neither the Supervisory Board nor the Advisory Board can can fulfil the role of a protector due to the strict legal incompatibility provisions.

If you want to test without any further obligation, whether your private foundation has the obligation to register in the Austrian UBO register you may use our free self-check here.

Apart from the obligation to register in the Austrian UBO register an annual verification of the UBO entry is mandatory.

Examples (german)

WiEReG-Beispiel-Privatstiftungen WiEReG-Beispiel-Privatstiftungen WiEReG-Beispiel-Privatstiftungen WiEReG-Beispiel-Privatstiftungen