Value-added tax (VAT)
VAT is payable on sales of goods and the supply of services. VAT is also payable on the importation of goods, on the intra-Community acquisitions of goods, and on the purchase of certain services provided to Hungarian taxable persons by foreign taxable persons.
The general VAT rate is 27%.
A reduced VAT rate of 18% is applicable for some products (e.g. certain milk, certain dairy products, products made from cereals, flour, and starch). The 18% VAT rate is also applicable to commercial accommodation services and to services that grant admission to musical and dancing events.
A reduced VAT rate of 5% is available for new residential property, certain pharmaceutical products, audio books, printed books, newspapers, district heating services, certain live performance activities, certain products of the animal sector (e.g. live and processed large animals, such as pig, sheep, goats, cattle, poultry, eggs), fresh milk, internet access services, local dining services (i.e. meals and non-alcoholic beverages prepared locally in bars and restaurants), fish for consumption purposes, and the edible by-products and meat offal of domestic swine.
Exempted, out of scope transactions
Certain services are exempt from VAT, including, but not limited to, medical, cultural, sporting, and educational services provided as public services. VAT exemption is also available for financial and insurance services. The intra-Community supplies of goods, services, and exports are also treated as exempt transactions.
Generally, the supply of a building or parts of a building, the land on which it stands, and the rental of real estate are VAT exempted. An option is available to apply VAT on the supply or rental of this real estate. VAT exemption cannot be applied to the supply of building plots.
There are some special transactions that may be out of scope of the Hungarian VAT, provided that special conditions are met. These include the acquisition of any contributions in kind, the acquisition of any assets by way of succession, and the transfer of business as a going concern.
A domestic reverse charge applies between Hungarian taxable persons for the following activities:
- Services related to immovable property (e.g. construction, maintenance).
- Sales of certain steel products.
- Sales of waste materials.
- Sales of carbon quotas.
- Sales of real estate and land if the application of VAT was chosen.
- Sales of certain agricultural products (e.g. maize, wheat, barley, rye).
- Leasing staff or making available personnel and the use of student-work placement offices.
VAT deduction is available only for the business-related element of purchases that were made partially for non-business purposes.
If a taxpayer has a negative VAT balance in a VAT period, the amount can be recovered, provided that the VAT balance reaches or exceeds an absolute value of HUF 1 million for monthly filers, HUF 250,000 for quarterly filers, or HUF 50,000 for annual filers.
As a general rule, the deadline for remitting VAT reclaims is 75 days, irrespective of the amount concerned. However, if all incoming invoices, regarding which the VAT was deducted in the VAT return, are settled (paid fully to the suppliers) until the due date of the related VAT return, a 45-day deadline can be applied. The preferential deadline is applicable for taxpayers qualified as a ‘reliable taxpayer’ by the Hungarian tax authority.
Directive for refunds of foreign taxable persons
Taxable persons with their establishment in an EU country, other than Hungary, or in Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway, or Serbia can recover local VAT. The refund applications have to be submitted electronically. Reclaim requests should be submitted to the tax authority of the country where the EU-registered taxable person is established.
All types of intra-Community transactions have to be reported in the periodic Intra-Community List in Hungary.
Taxpayers registered in Hungary have to submit domestic recapitulative statements regarding incoming B2B invoices that have a VAT content of at least HUF 100,000. Taxpayers liable to file the statement may opt to report their transactions even below this threshold to the tax authority. If a domestic recapitulative statement has to be prepared (i.e. there are transactions with a VAT amount higher than the referred threshold), the VAT return can only be submitted in electronic form.
As of 1 July 2018, taxpayers are required to report to the Hungarian tax authority certain data regarding B2B invoices that are issued by invoicing software and have a VAT content of at least HUF 100,000. Such reports have to be made electronically, through an online connection, using a specific XML file format.
An Electronic Road Freight Control System (EKAER) number needs to be requested from the tax authority for specific road shipments. The taxpayers who do not fulfil this reporting obligation can face serious consequences (e.g. the tax authority is entitled to levy a default penalty of up to 40% of the value of goods transported, and also to seize the goods).
Group taxation for VAT
The VAT Act allows all companies that have established business presences in Hungary and qualify as related enterprises to form a VAT group. The essence of a VAT group is that its members act under a single VAT number in their transactions (i.e. they issue invoices under a shared VAT number and submit a single, joint tax return) and the supplies of products and services between the members do not qualify as business transactions from a VAT perspective.
Hungarian customs legislation and policies have been fully harmonised with EU legislation.
As of 1 January 2018, the EU customs legislation comprises the following main regulations:
- Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the Union Customs Code.
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards detailed rules concerning certain provisions of the Union Customs Code.
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447 laying down detailed rules for implementing certain provisions of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the Union Customs Code.
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/341 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards transitional rules for certain provisions of the Union Customs Code where the relevant electronic systems are not yet operational and amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446.
- Council Regulation 1186/2009/EEC setting up a Community system of reliefs from customs duty.
- Council Regulation 2658/87/EEC on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff.
New national customs regulation entered into force as of 1 January 2018 (Act CLII 2017 on Implementing the Union Customs Law). Some of the main changes compared to the previous legislation are as follows:
- Procedural regulation became an integral part of the national customs law.
- The procedure of customs audit (e.g. right to comment on the customs authority’s assessment) changed.
- By the main rule, information (such as declarations, applications, or decisions) will be provided and exchanged electronically between the customs authority and economic operators.
As of 9 August 2018, Act CLII 2017 on Implementing the Union Customs Law introduced some new provisions, for example:
- Customs penalty has become applicable on certain cases of procedural non-compliance instead of the procedural fine. Consequently, the procedural fine has been removed from the legislation (customs penalty has been applicable for all kinds of non-compliance).
As a general rule, non-compliance resulting in a customs shortfall attracts a customs penalty of 50% of the customs duty deficit.
The following goods are subject to excise duty:
- Mineral oils.
- Alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Any product with an alcohol content of 1.2% or more by volume qualifies as an alcohol product.
- Still and sparkling wines.
- Other still and sparkling fermented beverages.
- Intermediate alcoholic products.
- Tobacco products.
- Energy products (electricity, natural gas, and coal).
On 1 July 2019, the excise duty rates are as follows:
- Mineral oils: HUF 110,350 to HUF 129,200 per thousand litres or HUF 4,655 to HUF 116,000 per thousand kilograms, depending on the world market price of crude oil and on the type of mineral oil.
- Electricity: HUF 310.5 Ft/MWh.
- Coal: HUF 2,516/1,000 per kilogram.
- Natural gas: HUF 0.3038/kWh or HUF 28/nm3 depending on usage.
- Alcohol products: HUF 333,385 per hectolitre of pure alcohol. Special rules are applicable to spirits manufactured in private distilleries and contract distillation.
- Beer: HUF 1,620 per alcohol degree and per hectolitre, HUF 810 per alcohol degree and per hectolitre for beer produced in a micro-brewery.
- Still wines: HUF 0 per hectolitre.
- Sparkling wines: HUF 16,460 per hectolitre.
- Other still fermented beverages: HUF 9,870 per hectolitre for other fermented beverages, HUF 0 per hectolitre for still wine of an actual alcoholic strength by volume not exceeding 8.5% volume mixed with carbonated water without added flavouring, where the ratio of still wine exceeds 50%.
- Other sparkling fermented beverages: HUF 16,460 per hectolitre.
- Intermediate alcoholic products: HUF 25,520 per hectolitre.
- Cigarettes: HUF 19,200 per thousand cigarettes plus 23.5% of the retail sale price, but a minimum of HUF 32,200 per thousand cigarettes. The tax base per cigarette also depends on the length of the cigarette (without filter). It is double if the length of the cigarette is 8 cm to 11 cm, triple if the length is 11 cm to 14 cm, and so on.
- Cigars and cigarillos: 14% of the retail price, but a minimum of HUF 4,180 per thousand cigars or cigarillos.
- Fine-cut and other tobacco: HUF 19,160 per kilogram.
- Refill liquid: HUF 55 per millilitre.
- Other consumables that contain tobacco or are consumed with tobacco: HUF 10 per each tobacco containing product or products consumed along with tobacco products for single use, HUF 70 for liquid per millilitre.
The Customs Body of the National Tax and Customs Administration is responsible for excise duty (and municipal tax authorities for the excise duty of private distillers). The European Union’s excise duty and energy tax rules apply in Hungary.
Property and land taxes
Hungarian municipalities have the right to levy property tax and land tax at their own discretion up to the below caps.
Residential and other buildings (including advertising media placements on real estate property) may be subject to building tax, which is payable to the local municipality by the entity/individual owning the building on 1 January of the particular calendar year.
The local government can determine the tax base in either of the following ways:
- The net floor space of the building expressed in square metres, with a maximum tax rate of HUF 1,100 per square metre; however, the municipalities have the right to increase it by the annual cumulative inflation rate (i.e. the maximum tax rate is HUF 1,898 per square metre in 2019).
- The adjusted fair market value of the building, with a maximum tax rate of 3.6% of the adjusted market value.
- In the case of advertising media placements, the tax base shall be calculated based on their net surface area, with an annual maximum tax rate of HUF 12,000 per square metre.
In practice, the net floor space method is more commonly used since establishing the adjusted fair market value is usually problematic.
The owner of the land on the first day of the calendar year is subject to land tax liability. Undeveloped plots of land situated within the area of jurisdiction of a local government, including peripheries, are subject to this tax. The local government can determine the tax base in either of the following ways:
- The actual area of the plot expressed in square metres, with a maximum tax rate of HUF 200 per square metre; however, the municipalities have the right to increase it by the annual cumulative inflation rate (i.e. the maximum tax rate is HUF 345 per square metre in 2019).
- The adjusted market value of the plot, with a maximum tax rate of 3% of the adjusted market value.
The most common types of stamp duties are gift duty and duty on transfers of property for consideration. Stamp duty is levied on movable and immovable property and property rights if they were acquired in Hungary, unless an international agreement rules otherwise.
In general, gift duty arises on the date when a contract concerning a gift is concluded.
Transfers of movable property, immovable property, and property rights without consideration are subject to gift duty. In these cases, however, in general, gift duty is only incurred if the transaction was formally documented; except for movable property with a market value of more than HUF 150,000, where gift duty must be paid in any event.
The base of gift duty is the net value of the gift, which is the market value minus any liabilities related to the gift. The general duty rates vary, depending on the type of property: 9% on residential property and 18% on other assets (except vehicles, where special rules apply). In general, the transaction shall be reported to the national tax authority within 30 days.
Transfer of movable assets without consideration and acquisition of claims without consideration, including waiver of claims and assumption of debts, are exempt from gift duty, provided that the recipient is a company. However, this exemption is conditional and subject to review.
Duty on transfer of property for consideration
The obligation to pay duty on the transfer of certain defined movable and immovable property for consideration arises on the date when the contract on the transaction is concluded.
The acquisition of real estate, property rights, and the acquisition of existing direct or indirect shareholdings in companies that own domestic real estate are subject to transfer tax. In this latter case, transfer tax only applies for acquisitions of existing direct or indirect shareholdings of at least 75% in a company that owns domestic real estate. For transfer tax purposes, a company that owns domestic real estate is a company (i) in which the book value of the domestic real estate represents more than 75% of the modified total assets or (ii) that holds at least 75% of the shares of another company in which the book value of the domestic real estate represents more than 75% of the modified total assets. Note that for classification purposes, cash, receivables, accruals, and loans have to be disregarded when determining the 75% ratio. The transfer tax for the transfer of real estate and the direct or indirect transfer of shareholdings in real estate holding companies is 4% of the fair market value of the real estate up to HUF 1 billion and 2% of the amount exceeding HUF 1 billion, up to a maximum of HUF 200 million per real estate (i.e. per plot number).
Reduced rates of 2%/3% apply if the company acquiring the property qualifies as a real estate trading company, or it deals with financial leasing, and the property is sold/leased out within two years. REIFs and REITs may also benefit from a reduced transfer tax rate of 2%. Note that in the case of REIFs and REITs the above HUF 200 million cap per plot number cannot be applied.
Stamp duties are also levied on certain court procedures (e.g. Court of Registration) and on submissions to certain authorities (e.g. appeals to the tax authority). Stamp duty is, for instance, levied in an amount of:
- HUF 100,000 on the registration of a private stock company
- Free of charge on the registration of a limited liability company
- HUF 600,000 on the registration of a European stock company
- HUF 100,000 on the registration of any other entity with legal personality (except from European companies)
- HUF 50,000 on the registration of a branch office, and
- HUF 50,000 on the registration of a representative office.
Registration tax is charged on passenger cars, motor homes, and motorcycles before they can be registered and put into service in Hungary. The registration tax is also payable by fleet operators. The registration tax is payable with the first domestic registration via import or intra-Community purchase, or in the case of a conversion, provided that the vehicle is put into service.
The registration tax rate is applied as follows:
- Passenger cars: From HUF 45,000 up to HUF 4.8 million, depending on the technical features of vehicles (cc, engine type) and environmental classification.
- Hybrid cars: HUF 76,000.
- Purely electrical vehicles, plug-in hybrid electrical vehicles, increased range plug-in hybrid electrical vehicles, and zero-emission vehicles: HUF 0.
- Motorcycles: From HUF 15,000 up to HUF 230,000, depending on technical features of the motorcycles (cc).
- Electric and hybrid motorcycles: HUF 0.
The applicable registration tax rate shall be modified (i.e. decreased) as per special formula, depending on the age of the vehicle expressed in months.
The registration tax is levied by the Customs Body of the National Tax and Customs Administration.
Employment-related tax and social security contributions (social tax) payable by employers
The social tax base is the gross income paid to the employee. The tax rate is 19.5%.
The rate of training fund contribution on employment income is 1.5%. The tax base is the gross income paid to the employee.
Mineral resources and geothermal energy, at the places where they are found in nature, are state property and subject to concession.
The mining company must pay a mining royalty, based on the quantity of the mineral resources extracted under authority permit.
Public health product tax
The first domestic distributor of certain products, as well as the acquirer of goods that are brought from abroad and used for the domestic manufacture of own products that will be sold in Hungary, are liable to pay a product tax.
The duty rates from 1 January 2019 are as follows:
- Beverages (depending on sugar content and tariff number): HUF 15 per litre (HUF 240 per litre for syrups and concentrates).
- Energy drink (depending on tariff number, methyl-xanthine, and taurine content): HUF 50 or HUF 300 per litre.
- Cocoa powder with added sugar (depending on tariff number, sugar, and cocoa content): HUF 85 per kilogram.
- Other pre-packed product with added sugar (depending on tariff number, sugar, honey, and cocoa content): HUF 160 per kilogram.
- Salty snacks (depending on tariff number and salt content): HUF 300 per kilogram.
- Seasonings (depending on tariff number and salt content): HUF 300 per kilogram.
- Flavoured beer and alcoholic beverages (depending on tariff number and sugar or sweetener content): HUF 25 per litre.
- Fruit jam (depending on tariff number and sugar content): HUF 600 per kilogram.
- Alcoholic drinks (depending on tariff number and herb content): HUF 25 to HUF 1,100 per litre.
Taxpayers are allowed to deduct up to 10% of their tax liability to finance ‘health promotion programs’. As of 1 January 2019, ‘health promotion programs’ only mean activity, promotional campaign, and program of the government body in charge of the healthcare system. Programs organised by a taxpayer cannot be a basis for deduction anymore.
Environmental protection product fee
The following products are subject to the environmental protection product fee: other crude oil products, tyres, packaging materials, batteries, commercial printing paper, other plastic products, other chemical products (soaps, detergents, cosmetics), printing or copy paper for office use, and electrical and electronic products (based on customs tariff numbers applicable on 1 January 2019).
The following entities are liable to pay the product fee:
- The first domestic distributor or user for own purposes.
- In the case of domestically manufactured other crude oil products, the first buyer from the first domestic distributor or user for own purposes.
- In the case of toll manufacturing, the party that orders the toll manufacturing.
Product fee rates from 1 January 2019 are as follows:
- Tyres: HUF 57 per kilogram.
- Packaging materials: HUF 19 to HUF 1,900 per kilogram.
- Other crude oil products: HUF 114 per kilogram.
- Batteries: HUF 57 per kilogram.
- Paper-based advertisement materials: HUF 85 per kilogram.
- Electrical and electronic products: HUF 57 per kilogram.
- Printing or copy paper for office use: HUF 19 per kilogram.
- Other plastic products: HUF 1,900 per kilogram.
- Other chemical products: HUF 11 to HUF 57 per kilogram.
The Tax Body of the National Tax and Customs Administration controls the payment and reporting of the product fee and carries out product fee inspections. The product fee is self-assessed. The product fee returns must be submitted quarterly to the tax authority via its electronic system. An advancement payment is payable for the fourth quarter.
The product fee penalty is generally 100% of the product fee shortfall in cases of non-payment or underpayment.
Environmental load charges
Environmental pollution charges were introduced to protect the natural environment, to reduce its impairment, to encourage the users of the environment to engage in activities aimed at the preservation of the natural environment, and to provide funding from the central budget for environmental protection and nature preservation.
Emitting entities liable to pay charges include those who operate air point-source emitters that are subject to registration, pursue activities subject to a water right permit, or who do not use available public drainage systems and dispose of their sewage water under a water right permit or a permit from the local water management authorities.
Qualifying materials include sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, phosphorous, cyanides, and others.
The load charge is calculated on the basis of the quantity of emitted materials multiplied by the fee rate (and, in certain cases, by vulnerability and sludge disposal factors, taking into account average concentration). Basically, the amount of the fee payable depends on the hazard level of the emitted material (e.g. HUF 50 per kilogram for sulphur-dioxide).
Food chain supervision fee
The purpose of the food chain supervision fee is to raise revenue for the operation of a regulatory body tasked with the official supervision of the food chain.
The supervision fee is payable by the following natural persons, legal persons, or unincorporated organisations:
- Persons who place animals on the market that are kept for food production, breeding, or experimental purposes.
- Persons who place food or fodder crops, seeds, plant products, and planting material on the market.
- Registered or authorised food businesses.
- Registered or authorised feed businesses.
- Persons who manufacture or place on the market veterinary medicines or veterinary medicinal products.
- Persons who manufacture or place on the market ‘EEC fertiliser’ or other products subject to authorisation.
- Persons involved in the handling, use, further processing, and transport of animal by-products or placing derived products on the market.
- Businesses engaged in the transport of live animals.
- Persons operating facilities for the cleaning and disinfection of vehicles used for transport of live animals, isolation facilities for receiving animals from different stocks, livestock loading ramps, assembly centres, trading sites, feeding and watering stations, rest stations, and livestock fairs.
- Persons manufacturing and storing plant propagation material.
- Persons operating a registered or authorised laboratory.
- Persons placing devices on the market that are used for marking animals.
As of 16 June 2017, any person who is not established in Hungary, but nevertheless engaged in the pursuit of the activities defined by the Food Chain Act, has a FELIR identifier, and is registered by the state tax authority as a taxpayer liable for payment of VAT, is liable to declare and pay the supervision fee.
As the main rule, the annual supervision fee is 0.1% of the total trading revenue (excluding excise duty and public health product tax) derived in the preceding year from these activities.
The taxpayers concerned have to comply with their reporting obligation by 31 May. The annual supervision fee is payable in two equal instalments: the first instalment by 31 July, and the second by 31 January.
The telecommunication tax applies to telecommunications service providers. The telecommunication tax rate for private individuals is HUF 2 per minute for calls made and HUF 2 per message sent, and for parties other than private individuals is HUF 3 per minute for calls made and HUF 3 per message sent. The monthly cap for calls and sent messages together is HUF 700 per phone number for private individuals and HUF 5,000 per phone number for entities other than private individuals.
Tax on financial transactions
The scope of the tax on financial transactions includes payment service providers with a registered address or branch office in Hungary, credit institutions entitled to provide foreign currency services, special services intermediaries entitled to provide intermediated foreign currency services, and financial institutions that engage in the granting and negotiation of credit and cash loans but to not qualify as payment service providers.
The financial transaction tax applies to the following payment services:
- Bank transfers.
- Direct debits.
- Postal cash payments.
- Cash payments from payment accounts (including cash withdrawals using a credit card).
- Cash transfers.
- Bank card payments.
- Letters of credit.
- Cashing cheques.
- Foreign currency exchanges.
- Debt repayments.
- Commissions and banking fees.
- Other transactions in which the amount of the transaction is deducted from the payment account credit balance.
If certain conditions are fulfilled, no tax will be payable for transactions such as:
- Technical transfers between accounts held at the same bank.
- For investment services, transfers between the payment account and the client account if the investment service provider is a related party of the financial service provider.
- Payments from limited purpose accounts.
- Cash pool related payment transactions within the same financial service provider.
- Transactions between financial service providers (including, among others, financial institutions, investment companies, etc.).
- Payment transactions from social security and family allowance administrative accounts.
- Unapproved (or approved but incorrectly made) payment transactions and their corrections.
In general, the tax base is the amount of the transaction (debit amount, amount paid, amount of currency sold, etc.). In the case of private individuals, the tax base is the amount of the transaction exceeding HUF 20,000. In most cases, the tax rate is 0.3% of the transaction but the amount payable may not be more than HUF 6,000 per transaction. This cap is not applicable to transactions in which the duty is payable by the State Treasury or Magyar Posta Zrt, or in case of cash withdrawal. In the case of (card) payment transactions initiated by the payer through the payee, a flat-rate tax of HUF 800 per year is payable. Also, if such payment includes transactions executed with the use of a contactless payment feature, the duty payable is reduced to HUF 500 per year.
Special tax of financial institutions
In Hungary, there is a special tax levied of financial institutions. The tax base of financial institutions is the amended balance sheet total figure calculated from the financial statements of the second tax year preceding the current tax year. From 2019, the tax rate is decreased from 0.21% to 0.2% of the tax base exceeding HUF 50 billion. Below HUF 50 billion, the tax rate is 0.15%.
Insurance premium tax
Insurance premium tax is applicable on (i) voluntary vehicle liability insurance policies (CASCO), (ii) property and casualty insurance policies, and (iii) the mandatory vehicle liability insurance (former accident tax) in Hungary.
The insurance tax should be paid by the insurance companies after the gross insurance premium received on insurance policies insuring risks located in Hungary. Insurance companies subject to the tax include:
- insurance companies headquartered in Hungary
- foreign insurance companies’ Hungarian branches, or
- insurance companies providing cross-border insurance services if these entities, which are headquartered abroad, render taxable insurance services in Hungary.
The above-mentioned entities should apply three different tax rates. For voluntary vehicle liability insurance policies, the rate of the tax is 15%; for property and casualty insurance, the rate is 10%; and for the mandatory vehicle liability insurance, the rate is 23% (capped at HUF 83/day/vehicle).
In the case of the tax base deriving from insurances mentioned in points (i) and (ii), lower tax brackets may apply if the taxpayer’s tax base is less than HUF 8 billion.
We note that this tax should not be paid after life and health insurance.