Power of attorney - representation in dealings with authorities
Current information on the details that must be included in a power of attorney, the scope of a power of attorney, waiving the requirement for a power of attorney, the duration of a power of attorney, etc.
- Requirements for the form and content of a power of attorney
- Scope of the power of attorney
- Waiver of the requirement for power of attorney
- Duration of a power of attorney
- Applications that must be made in person
- Special regulations for representation in land registry matters
- Special rules for registering for FinanzOnline using the video identification procedure
You can arrange for someone else to represent you in your dealings with authorities. These representatives can be:
- Natural persons over the age of majority
- Legal entities
A representative can only represent someone else if they have been issued with written authorisation to do so, issued to them individually or to a company.
In some cases, the principal's signature must be certified by a notary. Signature requirements should be checked with the relevant authorities in advance.
A power of attorney must contain the following information:
- The name and signature of the principal
- The name of their representative
- It is also advisable to include the following details, although it is not mandatory to do so: The date on which the power of attorney was issued
- It is also advisable but (usually) not mandatory to provide an exact description of the scope of the representative's authority, or the exact transaction for which the power of attorney is granted
A power of attorney can also be granted orally by the grantor of the power of attorney. Such oral declarations must be made in person before the relevant authority, and are documented by a note for the official record.
The scope of a power of attorney can vary. For example, it may be granted:
- Solely in order to conclude a very specific transaction. This is known as a single power of attorney/special power of attorney
- For the conclusion of specific types of transactions (limited power of attorney)
- For the conclusion of all transactions of any kind: (general power of attorney)
It is advisable not to issue a general power of attorney, and instead to specify the exact powers of your chosen representative. The extent of the representative's authority is determined on the basis of the scope described in the authorisation.
In the following situations, the authorities can choose to dispense with the requirement for an express power of attorney if the representative is personally known to the authorities, and if it is clear to the authority that the representative has the right to act as a representative in the matter concerned. Waivers are issued at the discretion of the authority and can only apply to the following categories of people:
- Family members and members of the household
- Company employees
- Officially recognised individuals (i.e., people who, by virtue of their jobs and roles, usually represent people in certain matters, such as works councils).
- Professional or other organisations (such as associations for disabled people), provided there is no doubt as to the validity and extent of the authorisation.
Even if a representative has been appointed in a given case, this does prevent the person who granted the authorisation from making statements themselves at any time (e.g. they are entitled submit and amend applications or submit and collect documents in person if they wish).
A power of attorney always ends if it is revoked. As a rule, it also ceases to apply when the person who issued it dies.
If powers of attorney are granted for a specific purpose, care should be taken to ensure these powers are limited in time. This ensures that once the matter(s) for which they were originally issued have been resolved, the powers of attorney cannot be used for any other purpose.
You cannot be represented in absolutely all your dealings with the authorities. For example, you must appear in person at least once in order to complete the following procedures, so that your identity can be verified:
- Applying for a passport
- Criminal record certificate
- Getting married/collecting a marriage certificate
If you absolutely cannot appear in person under any circumstances, contact the relevant authority by telephone to find out whether you can arrange to be represented. In principle, you can usually arrange to be represented by a notary or solicitor.
Representatives in land registry matters, such as signing purchase agreements, submitting ranking applications, receipts of cancellation etc., must be in possession of an authorisation bearing the signature of the person granting the authorisation, and this signature must be certified by a court or a notary. General powers of attorney for land registry matters, as opposed to special powers of attorney or precautionary powers of attorney, are not valid unless the signature is less than three years old.
Individuals may register for FinanzOnline (→ BMF) using the video identification procedure (online identification) only in person. Registration by a representative is not possible. Even a certified special power of attorney cannot replace personal participation in the online identification.
The registration of legal entities for FinanzOnline can only be done by the legal representative(s):
- For legal entities represented by a single natural person as legal representative (sole power of representation), this legal representative must personally participate in the online identification. Even a certified special power of attorney cannot replace his participation in the online identification.
- For legal entities represented by several natural persons together (joint power of representation), one or more legal representatives may be represented by one or more authorised representatives, provided that they have a certified special power of attorney (notarial or judicial) and at least one of the legal representatives participates in the online identification in person.
- Template for power of attorney (can be filled in and printed out on a PC) (Word, 14 KB) (Word, 14 KB)
- Template for power of attorney (printable) (Word, 24 KB) (Word, 24 KB)
Gender-neutral language has been used in this text to aid comprehension and make it easier to read.
Responsible for the content: Austrian Chamber of Civil-Law Notaries