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Lawmakers extend SZÉP card preferences till June 2021

Parliament on Monday voted to extend tax preferences for top-ups of the SZÉP voucher card that aim to support the countryʼs hard-hit tourism industry, state news wire MTI reports.

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The legislation was approved in an expedited procedure with a vote of 117 for, 23 against, and 19 abstentions.

As part of economic stimulus in the spring, SZÉP card top-ups from employers were exempted from the payroll tax - which now stands at 15.5% - although cardholders must still pay the 15% personal income tax on their balances. The annual top-up thresholds were also raised: from HUF 225,000 to HUF 400,000 for spending on commercial accommodations, from HUF 150,000 to HUF 265,000 for spending on catering, and from HUF 75,000 to HUF 135,000 for spending on recreation.

The measures were originally set to expire at the end of June, but were later extended until the end of the year. The legislation approved on Monday extends them again, to June 30, 2021.

State Secretary for Tax Affairs Norbert Izer said the extension of the preferences would save taxpayers some HUF 35 billion.

Provisions in the legislation approved on Monday also introduce stiffer sanctions for violations of quarantine.