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Special Tax: Hungary Under Fire

Published: January 4, 2011; 00:36 · (Vindobona)

Especially the Austrian economy criticizes the Hungarian special tax on large companies. The EU Commission has already started an investigation.

Special Tax: Hungary Under Fire / Picture: ©

After a memorandum signed by thirteen chairmen of European corporations sent to the EU Commission, now politicians are also taking part in this affair. The Austrian Minister of Economy criticizes sharply the new Hungarian special tax which focuses mainly on foreign companies, supporting international criticism of the Hungarian Government.

The tax is retroactive to 2010 and covers the fields of trade, energy, insurance and telecommunications. Because of cooperative structures and lower sales, almost no Hungarian firms are affected by the tax.

Mitterlehner had already submitted in November a letter to the Hungarian Ministry of Economy in which he referred to the breach of EU law. Furthermore, the tax would violate the bilateral investment protection agreement between Austria and Hungary.

Criticism also comes from the German Minister of Economy, Rainer Brüderle, who expressed his concern about the intention: "Taxes that primarily affect foreign companies are, for the European domestic market problematic in principle." In January, Brüderle will meet with his Hungarian counterpart, Tamás Fellegi. "We are monitoring closely the examination of the facts by the European Commission", said Brüderle further.