BUSINESS-RELATED COVID MEASURES IN HUNGARY – THE CURRENT STATE

  • 21 May 2020 2:37 PM
    Message # 8983628

    On 11 March 2020, the Hungarian Government declared a state of emergency in Hungary , which is still in force until revocation. In the last two months, nearly 100 government decrees have been adopted in connection with the pandemic, nearly a third of which are economic measures. In our article, without going into the very details, we summarize the most important measures affecting businesses to give economic operators a comprehensive picture of the benefits and reliefs available in different areas.



    1. Measures concerning employment, wage subsidy scheme, employer’s contributions


    1.1. Changes in Labour law

    At the beginning of the emergency, the biggest task was to settle the legal background of employment in the changed circumstances In general, measures have been introduced to facilitate the amendment of employment, for example, vacation time can be allocated more flexible, workers can be more easily sent to work from home[1] or to unpaid leave[2]. The employer may also order a working time banking period up to 24 months, so the working time not allocated due to the shutdown may be reallocated to a later period.

    Although the return to normal conditions is already under way, the exceptional labor law rules introduced by the measures are still in force and can be applied. However, the employer must ensure that the exceptional rules are applied only during the force of the regulation allowing it.

    1.2. Wage subsidy scheme

    Wage subsidy can be requested from the state to cover the lost income of workers whose employment have been modified to part-time employment.[3] The amount of the subsidy is 70% of the lost income, but there is a limit, for example a worker whose working time reduced by 50% may not get more than net 214 EUR. The subsidy is provided for 3 (three) months. However, a number of additional requirements must be met in order to be eligible for the subsidy (i.e. the employer must not apply redundancies, the employee has to undergo training, etc..).

    1.3. Employer’s contributions

    The Government also introduced measures to reduce employer’s contributions. Most of these measures only concerns specific industries most exposed to the economic downturn (e.g. HoReCa, events, sports). Such businesses are exempted from all employer’s contribution concerning salary, save from healthcare contribution, the amount of which may not exceed HUF 7710/month.[4]

    Social contribution tax (SzOCHO) will be reduced from 17,5% to 15.5% from the second half of the year[5].

    2.Tax related measures

    1.4. Postponed reports and annual tax return and payment

    Companies may file annual (due between 22 April and 30 September 2020) and extraordinary corporate tax (TAO), local business tax (HIPA), innovation contribution (Innov.) tax assessments, return and payment, as well as tax advance assessment and payment for the next one-year period by 30 September 2020.[6]

    The deadlines for the preparation and disclosure of accounting reports (e.g., annual reports, simplified annual reports, consolidated annual reports) can be postponed until 30 September 2020.[7]

    1.5. Tax payment deferral

    The tax authority may grant the taxpayer a one-off, surcharge-free, six-month payment deferral or a 12-month instalment payment possibility up to a maximum tax amount of HUF 5 million, upon request. For this purpose, the applicant must prove that his payment difficulty is related to the emergency.[8]

    The authority may reduce the applicant’s tax debt by 20%, but maximum by 5 million HUF, if the payment of the tax would endanger its operation.

    1.6. Reduction of corporate tax

    The corporate tax base can be reduced by the amount of the development reserve up to the amount of the entire pre-tax profit, but max. HUF 10 billion per fiscal year, provided that the business is planning development in Hungary in the next 4 years[9] This can result in total corporate tax exemption.

    3. State Aid

    The European Commission approved €1 billion Hungarian aid scheme under the “Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy”.[10] The scheme will be open to all companies which have access to European structural funds and are facing difficulties as a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The aid can be provided to the company in several forms, including direct grants.

    The Government introduced measures to facilitate access to such grants by simplifying the eligibility criteria and the application procedure.[11]

            4. Other measures

    1.7. Moratorium on loan payments

    The Government introduced full moratorium on loan payments, including companies. The moratorium is applicable to all loans provided under contracts entered into after 18 March 2020. The payment moratorium lasts until 30 December 2020.[12]

    1.8. Lease Contracts

    In specific industries (e.g. HoReCa, events, sports), commercial lease contracts may not be terminated until 30. June 2020, and rent cannot be increased during the state of emergency.[13]

          5. Conclusion

    In our article we summarized the most important business-related government measures introduced so far in connection with the pandemic. As in most cases, a number of additional rules have to be met in connection with the facilitations and reliefs, we recommend that you contact a legal expert or tax advisor regarding the application of the measures.

     

    [1] Article 6 (2) (b) of the Govt. Decree No. 47/2020. (III. 18.)

    [2] Article 6 (4) of the Govt. Decree No. 47/2020. (III. 18.)

    [3] Govt. Decree No. 105/2020. (IV. 10.)

    [4] Article 4 of the Govt. Decree No. 47/2020. (III. 18.)

    [5] Govt. Decree No. 140/2020. (IV. 21.)

    [6] Article 1 (1)-(8) of the Govt. Decree No. 140/2020. (IV. 21.)

    [7] Article 2 of the Govt. Decree No. 140/2020. (IV. 21.)

    [8] Article 12 of the Govt. Decree No. 140/2020. (IV. 21.)

    [9] Article 1 of the Govt. Decree No. 171/2020. (IV. 30.)

    [10] (2020/C 91 I/01) “Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak”

    [11] Govt. Decree No. 173/2020. (IV. 30.)

    [12] Article 1 of Govt. Decree No. 47/2020. (III. 18.)

    [13] Article 3 of Govt. Decree No. 47/2020. (III. 18.)



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