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Ombudsman contests property tax in constitutional court

Hungary's parliamentary commissioner for civil rights Máté Szabó is contesting a property tax to be introduced in 2010 before the Constitutional Court, the Parliamentary Commissioners Office told MTI on Tuesday.

The legislation, signed by the President early in July, will introduce a bracketed tax on property from the start of 2010. The rate of the tax will be 0.25% up to HUF 30 million, 0.35% between HUF 30 million and HUF 50 million, and HUF 0.5% on the value over HUF 50 million. If the owner resides in the home, the value up to HUF 30 million will be exempt from the tax. There will be a HUF 15 million exemption on the value of a second property.

“The law ensures the tax office a practically unlimited appraisal right, thus any uncertainty in deciding the tax base is a serious offense against the demands of legal certainty,” Szabó said. The tax discriminates against large families, too, he added. Furthermore, the exemption is solely based on the value of the property and does not take into account the number of its owners.

Szabó also found troubling the phrasing of the law saying that owners are obliged to report the value of the property even if the actual value fails to exceed the HUF 30 million exemption limit, asserting that the legislation infringes upon the principle of clear norms as well as those of the constitutional state.

The Finance Ministry said in its reply to Szabó's assertions that the introduction of the property tax will entail no legal uncertainty, while the tax is constitutionally sound since it is based on long-standing, clear and applicable legal concepts and institutions. (MTI-ECONEWS)