30/04/24

The Austrian Private Foundation

Since the Austrian Act on Private Foundations came into force in 1993 (about 30 years ago), private foundations (Privatstiftungen) may be established in Austria. Originally, the intent of the legislator was to offer an Austrian wealth management vehicle and to thereby prevent capital from being moved to foreign structures, notably to foundations established in nearby Liechtenstein. There exist currently over 3,000 private foundations in Austria, with an estimated total wealth of approximately EUR 70 billion (64 per cent of which is held through companies and 24 per cent through real estate). 80 of the Austria's 100 largest companies are being controlled by private foundations, with a total of around 400,000 jobs indirectly depending on private foundations. Approximately 800 private foundations were founded in 2000; since then, the number being established has decreased. All wealthy Austrian families have set up private foundations. The list of the largest private foundations in Austria is almost identical to the list of the richest Austrians.

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