Hungarian government ready to approve ad tax in present form

Banking

The parliamentary group of the governing Fidesz party unanimously supported the approval of a bill before parliament calling for the imposition of a progressive tax on advertising revenue, party parliamentary leader Antal Rogán said yesterday.

Rogán said Fidesz MPs decided to approve the bill, if necessary in its present form. The leadership of the parliamentary group met yesterday evening to examine possible proposed modifications and corrections to the bill, if any.

The chairman noted that despite the joint uproar of the media and protest of the weekend, the ad tax bill is going to be approved today and would apply for the media companies starting this year.

Parliament's budgetary committee cleared the bill for discussion in Parliament earlier on Tuesday, with members from the governing parties Fidesz and its ally the Christian Democratic People's Party voting in favor, three opposition MPs voting against, and one abstaining.

Independent estimates suggest that the indirectly Bertelsmann-owned station RTL Klub would alone pay more than half of the entire amount of the tax to be imposed in 2014 if approved in its current form.

More than 60 television stations, radio stations, newspapers and websites formally protested against the proposed tax on June 5. Rogán announced on June 5 that "only minor corrections are conceivable" with regard to the bill, referring to the media protest as "blackmail" directed at political officials. 

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