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Falling cigarette sales could leave budget HUF 40 billion short

A decline in tobacco sales could cause a HUF 40 billion shortfall in revenue from excise tax and VAT, business daily Napi Gazdaság reported yesterday.

Revenue from excise tax on cigarettes was HUF 18 billion in October, a little over half of that in September, the 'paper reported, adding that talks with industry analysts on the subject are underway at the National Economy Ministry.

National Economy Minister Mihály Varga said earlier that a drop in excise tax revenue from cigarettes in July and August – the first two months after the introduction of a state monopoly on retail tobacco sales – was in part due to higher sales in the base period, when shops stocked up on cigarettes before a tax rise. He also said tobacco sellers bought a record number of excise tax stamps in August, the effect of which would be seen mostly in September.

Data on revenue from excise tax for the month of October will not be published by the National Economy Ministry until November 21.