Hungary passes ad tax bill

June 12, 2014 07.10 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

The Hungarian parliament has given the go-ahead to a controversial advertising tax that has been widely criticised by the country’s media industry and led to public protests.

BBJ reports that the tax bill was approved in a fast-track procedure, which limits debating time, with 144 votes in favour and 30 against.

However, a late amendment said that this year’s tax bill could be reduced by 50% for media companies reporting losses from earlier years.

This, argue critics, favours the national commercial broadcaster TV2, which they argue supports the ruling party Fidesz.

The new graduated tax will come into effect in 31 days and require media companies making between HUF500 million (€1.64 million) and HUF5 billion pay 1% of their tax revenue in tax.

However, those in the highest bracket, making HUD20 billion in revenue, will have to pay 40% in tax.

The new tax will have a particularly strong impact on RTL Klub, the country’s leading broadcaster.