Employee assessment without application ("automatic tax equalisation")

General information

Tax equalisation (the technical term is "Employee assessment") can be requested by means of a form, in order to obtain a refund of overpaid salary tax, social security contributions (‘SV repayments’) or the sole earner/single parent credit from the tax office.

Since 2017, under some circumstances this tax equalisation takes place automatically (known as "Employee assessment without application"). The advantage of this for taxpayers is that (subject to certain conditions) no tax return need be submitted in order to receive a tax credit. Overpayments of salary tax and social security repayments are calculated automatically by the fiscal authorities, unless the automatic execution of the application-free employee assessment has been waived. A tax credit is issued – without the need to apply for it – and the credit sum calculated is then transferred to the affected person’s bank account.

Employee assessment without application has been available for assessment since 2016. It was introduced so that persons with low incomes or minimum pensions would always receive their tax credit. It is not only such people who benefit from automatic tax equalisation, however, but everyone who has received only income subject to salary tax to whom a tax credit is due.

Caution

In general, these regulations also apply to citizens of EU Member States in Austria.

Requirements

Automatic tax equalisation (Employee assessment without application) will take place in one single step only if

  • No tax equalisation (no Employee assessment) for the previous year has been applied for by 30 June (i.e. no Form L 1 has been submitted).
  • According to the fiscal authorities’ calculations, tax equalisation results in a tax credit and
  • On the basis of available data, the tax office can assume that:
    • Only income subject to salary tax has been received
    • No special costs have been claimed (e.g. special expenses, exceptional costs or credits such as sole earner tax credit).

At a second stage, checks are made to determine that:

  • by the end of the second calendar year after the assessment period, no tax return has been submitted for the relevant assessment period; if not, then an assessment without application should always be undertaken if, on the basis of the data available, a tax credit is due.

Tip

If you wish to claim for additional expenditure, you are still entitled to apply yourself for a tax equalisation within five years. This option is available even if an employee assessment without application has already been carried out (see below).

If the fiscal authorities believe that the taxpayer herself/himself is arranging a tax equalisation in order to claim for additional expenditure, then no automatic tax equalisation will be undertaken.

Agreement of affected persons

All taxpayers who are considered for automatic tax equalisation for the first time receive an information notice during the second half of the following year.

This will include the account details that the fiscal authorities have on record. If these details are correct, the taxpayer need do nothing further. If, however, the account details are not up to date, then the current data should be notified to the competent tax office within four weeks at the latest. This can be done either electronically via FinanzOnline or in writing. In this notification, the automatic employee assessment can also be declined if, for example, there are additional credits that need to be included; these can be reported in a return.

Revocation of assessment

Taxpayers for whom an automatic tax equalisation is to be carried out will receive a tax assessment, If they do not agree with this assessment, for example because the wish to claim for additional credits (e.g. occupational expenses), they can submit a tax return of their own. Then a decision will be made using the return that they have themselves submitted, and the assessment made using the "employee assessment without application" process will be revoked.

These are the options for submitting the return:

  • Electronically via FinanzOnline
  • In writing, by submitting the completed form L 1 to the competent tax office

The five-year deadline for submitting a tax return still applies when an automatic assessment has taken place (e.g. the application for the year 2019 can be submitted up to the end of December 2024).

Special expenditure

Since 2018, certain Special expenditure (→ USP) such as donations or church contributions must be notified automatically by the relevant organisation to the fiscal authorities. This means that from assessment year 2017, such special expenses will also be included in an automatic tax equalisation. In order for this to happen, the relevant organisation (e.g. the institution receiving the benefit of the donation) must hold the relevant person’s details (forename, surname, date of birth) and there must be no prohibition on the transfer of the data. Detailed information on the topic of "Deducting donations (NEW)" can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

Tip

You can check via FinanzOnline that the organisation has reported the correct amounts to the tax office. They are also listed on the income tax assessment.

Pensioners

Pensioners who receive only a small pension and hence pay no salary tax no longer need to submit an application for the payment of the SV repayment. As part of the ‘employee assessment without application’ process, they will receive back a proportion of their social security contributions during the second half of the following year. The maximum amount is 110 Euro a year (300 Euro from the 2020 assessment). If the pensioner receives a tax-free compensatory allowance, this is balanced against the SV repayment.

All pensioners for whom an automatic tax equalisation is carried out for the first time will receive an information notice (see above, "Agreement of affected persons"). They must reply to this using only their current account number.

Automatic tax equalisation is subject to two conditions:

  • that the person has claimed no special expenditure (such as exceptional costs) in the two previous years and
  • that a credit balance results from the tax calculation.

Further links

Legal basis

Section 41  paragraph 2 of the Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG)

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance