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Secondary Residence Tax and Vacancy Tax in Austria

Currently, a secondary residence tax ("Zweitwohnsitzabgabe") is applicable in Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, and Carinthia.

Laws for vacancy taxes ("Leerstandsabgabe") have been enacted in Styria, Salzburg, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg.

Property owners are currently facing corresponding demands from municipalities that have implemented these taxes. However, each federal state has set different regulations, tax rates, and exemptions.

There are also numerous exemptions in all federal states, for example, for investment apartments, agriculturally used apartments, apartments that cannot be used for health reasons, or those serving professional purposes.

It is possible that an exemption applies, or the apartment/house is not subject to the tax obligation for other reasons. When confronted with such a tax notice, owners should therefore have it legally reviewed to ensure legal certainty for the coming years!

The federal state of Vienna is also currently planning to introduce a secondary residence tax, which is to be levied from 2025 onwards – the only exceptions being those apartments that, despite proven suitable efforts, could not be rented at the local customary rent for a total period of six months. Thus, in Vienna, it also represents a form of vacancy tax.

There are differing expert opinions on whether the state legislature is allowed to impose a vacancy tax. In any case, such a tax constitutes an interference with the constitutionally protected fundamental right to property and can be interpreted as a hidden wealth tax. Based on a decision by the Constitutional Court, there are strict limits for such taxes imposed by the federal states, especially regarding their amount. However, parliament has recently enabled the states to impose a vacancy tax through a constitutional provision, thereby effectively circumventing these limits.

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