As of 01/01/2020, federal authorities will generally be obliged to serve documents electronically in matters that are subject to federal legislation. For their part, entrepreneurs in Austria are obliged to subscribe to the electronic service of process to be able to receive the official documents concerned.
Exceptions are made for companies that are not obliged to file advance turnover tax returns (UVAs) due to their falling below the turnover threshold, or that do not have an Internet connection.
1. How does electronic service of process (eZustellungNEU) work?
In order to subscribe to electronic service of process, the company must be registered on the “Unternehmensserviceportal” (USP; Business Service Portal), and authorised recipients (process agents) must be appointed, if applicable. For the purpose of receiving service of official documents, the electronic mailbox “MeinPostkorb” (MyInbox) was installed on the USP.
Companies having received a letter regarding automatic transfer to the central directory of subscribers have already been registered for subscription to electronic service for unverifiable acts of service. Nevertheless, it is necessary to register on the USP and/or to check the setting in “MeinPostkorb”.
Companies who were informed that automatic transfer to the subscriber directory was not possible, or who have not received a corresponding letter can register in the subscriber directory via “MeinPostkorb” and enable electronic service of process as of 01/12/2019.
Upon service of a new document in “MeinPostkorb”, a notification will be sent to the e-mail address stored in the system. The subscriber must log in on the USP in order to collect the document. If the option for electronic service of verifiable postal items (RSa, RSb) was selected by the recipient, login using a Citizen Card or mobile phone signature will additionally be required to collect the item.
2. Power of attorney for service of process
Documents comprised under a power of attorney for service (granted, for instance, by a company to its tax advisor) will continue to be served upon the process agent – by electronic means, if applicable. Hence, in that case, nothing will change for the company due to electronic service of process (eZustellungNEU).
Currently, the law does not provide for any legal consequences, if a company fails to subscribe to electronic service of process. In that case, documents will continue to be served by post. However, switching to electronic service is recommended, as future sanctions are to be expected.
Provided that an automatic transfer to the central directory of subscribers has taken place, authorities may serve any items electronically with legal effect, even if no registration was effected on the USP or no process agents were entered in the system. In such cases, therefore, registration on the USP should be carried out as soon as possible.
More information on the new electronic services of process
For detailed information on eZustellungNEU, provided by the Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW) and/or the Business Service Portal (USP), refer to the following links:
If you have any questions about the new system of electronic service of process, please get in touch with your TPA advisor.