Tax office scrutinizes Uber in Hungary


Hungary’s National Tax and Customs Authority (NAV) launched an investigation on Hungarian Uber drivers, a few weeks after economy minister Mihály Varga ordered the ministry and its institutions to investigate the operation of San Francisco-based transport service Uber in Hungary, Hungarian online daily reported.

Hungary’s Ministry of National Economy (NGM) told Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet that the Hungarian operations are handled through a non-Hungarian company, therefore “it is obvious that Uber Hungary does not engage in significant tax paying,” Index added.

NAV began checking Uber drivers in Hungary to see whether they meet the requirements of “economic activity”, whether they have tax numbers and whether their tax returns are “realistic”, the online daily added. According to Index, drivers who have reported erroneously could be fined up to HUF 200,000.

Uber is keen to engage in discussions with key decision makers and is open to co-operating with the government to set up a regulatory framework that will ensure a secure, environmentally friendly, and efficient alternative to traditional taxi services, Uber’s local implementation manager Rob Khazzam told at the end of February. Uber Hungary Kft., incorporated in 2013 with a registered capital of HUF 500,000 and has a legal seat at law firm Nagy és Trócsányi Ügyvédi Iroda, a company affiliated with the current Minister of Justice, added.

Approximately 60 cabs protested in mid-March in Budapest against Uber, precisely the service’s free promotion announced for a weekend in that same month. The protest involved a drive through the city center ending near the Castle District, according to Hungarian blog Kettősmérce.

Uber has launched its services, which is available through a smartphone application, in more than 200 cities around the world.

The company advertises a base fare in Budapest of HUF 300 and a HUF 130 per-kilometer fee, while the base fare for Budapest taxis was set at HUF 450 with a per-kilometer fee of HUF 280 as per a decree established in September 2013. 

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