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Austrian residency letter

In the February edition of the AJR Journal we published a notice about a letter sent to some AJR members who receive an Austrian state pension.

The letter required the recipient to complete a ‘confirmation of residency’ form in accordance with the Double Tax Convention between Great Britain and Austria and stated that an interim tax would be deducted from the January 2012 pension payment.

Following the intervention of the AJR and others, the Austrian pension authority (PVA) intends to refund this tax as a matter of priority to Holocaust survivors and refugees. This rebate should be included in the February or March pension payment. It is also now not necessary to complete the ‘confirmation of residency’ form.

One of our members reports having received a confirmation – with regrets – from Barbara Prammer, speaker of the Austrian National Assembly, who confirms that the original letter was a mistake, which has now been corrected. Other members have also received letters of apology from the PVA and we do not expect any further letters to be sent to anyone else.

It appears that the letter was sent to certain pensioners in countries with which Austria has double taxation agreements (such the UK). In practice, however, the pension is exempt from income tax in the UK.

As the Austrian Embassy writes in this edition [see letters], all competent tax authorities are fully aware of the problem, and continue to work for a clear solution. Ambassador Brix has let us know that he sincerely regrets the confusion caused.

Anyone who received the residency letter or would like further information should contact the AJR whilst members who did not receive this letter can ignore this notice.