Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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- What does universal service mean?
Universal service means that certain services have to be offered to all users in Austria at adequate rates and at a predefined quality. Detailed provisions about the services Austrian Post needs to provide within the framework of universal service have been established by law. The Austrian Postal Act, effective 1 January 2011, redefines the volume of universal services: postal items weighing up to 2 kg (LETTER, INFO MAIL), newspapers and magazines and parcels weighing up to 10 kg, among others, now fall within the scope of universal service. Austrian Post is currently the only provider of universal service in Austria. This obligation to provide high-quality services anywhere in Austria is very costly for Austrian Post. At the same time, the postal market will see a full liberalisation by 1 January 2011.
- Which articles of the Austrian Value-Added Tax Law cover VAT for postal services?
Pursuant to article 6, paragraph 1, 10 (b) of the Austrian Act on Value-Added Tax (as amended on 15 June 2010), only postal services provided by universal services providers as defined in article 12 of the Austrian Postal Act are exempt from value-added tax. This provision is effective 1 January 2011. This tax exemption does not apply to services whose conditions have been negotiated on an individual basis.
Pursuant to article 6, paragraph 1, (3) (bb), the tax exemption for cross-border shipment of goods applies to international postal items that do not fall within the universal service scope if they are sent to non-EU countries.
- Which tax rate applies to postal services?
The 20% tax rate applies to items sent by customers residing in Austria.
- Will new stamps be issued?
No, because items with affixed stamps that are either deposited in Austrian Post postboxes or posted at Austrian Post service locations fall within the scope of universal service and will remain tax-free.
- Can I continue using “pre-paid“ registered mail labels?
This option will also be available in the future. However, NEW labels need to be used, which are available free of charge (domestic and international). The registered mail fee will be charged at the time the item is posted at the Austrian Post service location (e.g. postal branch or Post Partner). There will no longer be the option of depositing these items in Austrian Post postboxes. The current/old labels will be valid until the end of the year. After that deadline, you can exchange them for stamps at any postal branch.
- Will the amount on the bill be shown with or without value-added tax?
You will receive a proper bill that will show the VAT.
- Is there anything I need to know when using a franking machine?
If you use a franking machine, all you have to do is continue printing the postage on your letter mail items as usual.
- Which provisions apply to business clients headquartered abroad?
(Registered) business clients abroad (business operators) must pay taxes in the country where their company is headquartered (principle of receiving country). Bills issued by Austrian Post will not show VAT. The subsequent tax treatment (e.g. transfer of tax liability/tax exemption) follows national legislation applicable in the country in question.
- Who can help me if I have questions?
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact your customer advisor, the staff at your Austrian Post service location or the Austrian Post customer assistance.
- What does universal service mean?