EU Commission opens in-depth investigation into Hungarian advertisement tax

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into whether Hungary's advertisement tax introduced in June 2014 complies with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission has concerns that the progressive tax rates, ranging from 0 to 50%, could selectively favour certain companies and give them an unfair competitive advantage. 

The Commission has therefore also taken a separate decision prohibiting Hungary from applying progressive rates until the Commission has finished its assessment (a so-called "suspension injunction"). The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested third parties the opportunity to comment. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. 

EU Competition Commissioner Vestager said: "It is very important that we ensure a level playing field on media markets throughout Europe. Many media today rely on advertisement income to finance their operations. I welcome the signals from the Hungarian government that they intend to make changes to the advertisement tax. Our state aid investigation will look in detail both at how the advertisement tax applies currently as well as how it is amended, to make sure there is no unfair discrimination against certain media companies." 

Full press release available here.




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