European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure AT-2020-27/952 Updated – measures in Austria

Reduction of VAT (value added tax) to 5% for gastronomy, accommodation, culture and publications

Senkung der Umsatzsteuer auf 5 Prozent

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 July 2020 – 31 December 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial) or damage compensation
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 09 July 2020 (updated 11 January 2021)

Background information

In order to support the catering, hotel, cultural and publishing sectors, which have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, a temporary reduced value added tax (VAT) rate of 5% is introduced. This applies to accommodation and camping sites, to the supply of all food and beverages in the gastronomy sector (from formerly 20%), as well as with regard to services in the cultural sector and supplies in the publication sector in general (from formerly 10 or 13%).

Content of measure

The VAT rate is reduced on the supply of food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). This applies not only to catering establishments but also to the supply of food and beverages in confectioneries, bakeries and butchers' shops.

The VAT for overnight stays is also reduced in hotels, in other collective accommodation establishments and on campgrounds.

In the publication and culture sector, to supplies, imports and intra-community acquisitions of the following type, the 5% VAT is applied:

*books, brochures and similar printed matter * newspapers and other periodicals * electronic publications * picture albums, picture books and drawing and colouring books for children * sheet music, handwritten or printed * cartographic products of all kinds, including hiking maps * paintings and drawings, entirely handmade, collages * original engravings, cuts and lithographs * original products of the art of sculpture * tapestries, hand-woven, after original designs by artists * textiles for wall coverings according to original designs by artists * artistic photographs

The reduced tax rate also applies to the following services:

  • turnover from the activity as an artist
  • services regularly associated with the operation of a theatre
  • events of theatre performances by other entrepreneurs
  • musical and vocal performances by individuals or groups of individuals, in particular orchestras, music ensembles and choirs (also for events of such musical and vocal performances by other entrepreneurs)
  • film screenings
  • the visit of botanical or zoological gardens and nature parks
  • circus performances
  • services from the activity as a carney


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

20 November 2020

The measure was prolonged by one year to 31 December 2021.

Use of measure

Automatically used by all organisations concerned by the lower value added tax rate.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Sector specific set of companies
Importing/Exporting companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: N/A



Views and reactions

Not available.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      I - Accommodation And Food Service Activities I55 Accommodation
      I56 Food and beverage service activities
      J - Information And Communication J58 Publishing activities
      R - Arts, Entertainment And Recreation R90 Creative, arts and entertainment activities
      R91 Libraries, archives, museums and other cultural activities

This case is not occupation-specific.



Eurofound (2020), Reduction of VAT (value added tax) to 5% for gastronomy, accommodation, culture and publications, measure AT-2020-27/952 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

30 January 2023


Measures to lessen the impact of the inflation and energy crisis on citizens

Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.


12 September 2022


First responses to cushion the impact of inflation on citizens

Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


12 September 2022


Policies to support EU companies affected by the war in Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.


5 July 2022


Policies to support refugees from Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses of EU Member States, including those of the social partners and other civil society actors, enabling refugees to exercise their rights under the Temporary Protection Directive.


Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.