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EU finds fault with Hungary's registration tax

Hungary levies a registration tax on used imports, while second-hand vehicles purchased in the country are exempt. Buyers in two cases said the legislation, introduced when Hungary joined the EU in May 2004, is discriminatory. „The duty imposes a heavier burden on imported used vehicles than on similar used vehicles already registered in Hungary,” the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice said in a statement today. Hungary has collected about €116 million from 80,000 used cars that have been imported since 2004. Today's ruling could force the government to pay back as much as Ft 8 billion, Hungarian Finance Minister János Veres estimated. „We will take the necessary steps, we will change our laws if needed,” Veres said in a press conference in Budapest today. „Our intention is to make this as simple as possible and to only pay those who didn't pass on the costs.” The ruling won't affect Hungary's budget deficit this year as the sum is well within the government's reserves, Veres said. The European Court of Justice has ruled on similar cases involving countries such as Portugal, Greece, Finland and Denmark. (Bloomberg)