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Gov't ready to stand up for ad tax in Brussels

Banking

The government is ready to stand up for Hungary's tax on advertisements in Brussels if it comes to it, the government's spokeswoman said in a statement yesterday. Éva Kurucz, reacting to a report in Hungarian daily Népszabadság, said that the RTL Group had lodged an official complaint with the European Commission (EC) regarding the tax and that the cabinet was prepared to defend the levy in the same way it had defended the banking tax and cuts to utility prices.

She said that it was not the first time that "certain economic players" had exerted pressure on the government, adding that everyone should take their fair share of the public burden. RTL Group said after the ad tax was approved in the summer that it would raise its tax bill this year by about €15 mln, level with last year's EBITDA, thus putting the local business into a "structurally loss-making position". RTL Group noted that its Hungarian business was the only media company to be put in the top 40% rate of the progressive tax. The parliamentary group of governing Fidesz said earlier that RTL has used "accounting tricks" to avoid paying corporate tax in recent years.

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