Parliament passes bill on farmland rental in time for auctions

Issues

Parliament passed legislation on farmland rental, just in time for upcoming auctions of state farmland, and also approved legislation designed to reduce bureaucracy and to reward good taxpayers, Hungarian news agency MTI reported today.

The law on farmlands stipulates that farmland owners are allowed to raise rents within 90 days after any change in ownership, and then again only after a period of three years, MTI said. Under the law, renters may ask the court to decide whether rental fees are level with market rates within 30 days of being informed of fee increases, MTI reported.

This legislation was apparently timed to coincide with the sale of roughly 400,000 hectares of state farmland via auctions, which were to begin yesteray. Opposition parties have complained that the sale is a way to give state property to friends of the government. The government said that the sale is designed to keep the property in Hungarian hands.

Another package of legislation was approved today, to amend approximately 110 regulations to reduce bureaucracy. The changes were proposed by Cabinet Chief János Lázár, and they are expected to simplify the procedures, scale back the activities required for obtaining permits and reduce completion deadlines, MTI said.

A system for qualifying taxpayers and establishing preferences for the best candidates was approved today. Under the law, taxpayers who comply with all of the rules and qualify as “good” will receive special treatment, MTI said, adding that their number currently stands at almost 140,000.

The law stipulates that taxpayers who have not fallen more than 3% behind in their tax payments over a six-year period, qualify as “reliable”, and those who owe more back taxes or have violated rules are considered “risky”. Risky taxpayers are subject to stricter regulations and higher fines under the law, MTI said.

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