Legal status having a recycling business in AT

Hi there!
Today I did some research based on my Idea of selling shredded Plastics online. I will post my results here, as it applys to everybody living in Austria wanting to sell their created stuff.

I called the “Wirtschaftskammer Österreich” and told them about my project. I cannot guarantee that the following info is correct:

– If you want to sell your created objects etc., you may charge money for it.
– If you don’t want to start a business, you are not allowed to make any profit, also not on detours (e.g. getting trading contacts whith which you make profit with other deals). You may also not have a concept that could make profit. Note also, that worktime may not be payed. So with this method, you can cover the machine costs, the electricity bill and (if any) the renting of space you need, but not a cent more.
– If you want to make money (legally), you have to start a business, which leads to pretty high costs in my opinion. There is a free trade industry (freies Gewerbe) (called ~processing and recycling of waste) where you don’t need a trading licence, but you have to tell the governor of your province what you are doing. Also you have to consult the Technical Unit (for waste management?) and ask them for further information. (I can give you their phone number, just pm me) Last but not least you have to pay about 300€ annually (I forgot to whom), which makes it really hard to make profit, especially in the beginning.

I just wanted to share my research, maybe this will ease the process for somebody. 🙂


Great post and thank you for the information! Where is AT? I would love to see how this information relates to other areas

@siemenc the etsy-thing is a good question. But I think, that is just like any online shop you sell stuff you make. The shop has got nothing to do with your taxes, income, expenses, etc. Just like Amazon, ebay, etc. don’t help you with that, they just provide the platform and charge a fee for it.

@jegor-m hahaha 😀 I will think about it!

Thanks for the info! I am well aware I have to do all of the expenses-income stuff and that’s perfectly reasonable for me. I just want to avoid having to found a company just to get 10% or maaaybe a bit more of my expenses back legally…

I think in most countries where you start a business you need to declare income and expenses. Otherwise there would be a big open window for being able to avoid taxes and do a lot of stuff in black.

Do you need to pay a lot to be able to run a company in Austria? I know in Belgium I used to have to pay 700 euro every 3 months which is kind of a bit of a treshold for getting started with something small. Here in Norway on the other hand you don’t have that. You just pay to register as a company and then the first ± 5000 euro (within one year) you don’t need to add VAT on your products. This makes it easy for some people to just try something out, next to their main job or so. You still need to keep track of expenses and income though. As I said, I’m not sure if there’s a way to not have to deal with that.

I’m wondering now, what about platforms like Etsy? How is it done there? Do you need to have a company to sell there?

Well, after some further research, it doesn’t seem so easy anymore… I am not done with my research yet, but in order to sell anything it seems like I have to at least found an association. I have to keep track of my incomes and expenses and have to go through dozens of pages of legal information, regarding which parts of the expenses I can declare as expenses and which not (eg. tools not, or just partitially) So the whole thing gets really annoying in the moment.
I can now understand why many people rather emigrate to another country than found a company here in Austria…
I just HOPE there is another possibility of selling stuff anyhow while not having to invest hundreds of hours in legal preparation, documentation, etc.
@everyone How ist that in your country? Is it so much easier than here? 😛

@flo-2, you can look into becoming an e-citizen of Estonia, and start a business over here)

Really helpful post! Thanks mate

Thank you! Austria (Alps, Snow, Falco, Schwarzenegger, NO KANGAROOS!) is a Republic in the heart of Europe (as shown in the picture)