Budapest (MTI) – Economy minister Mihaly Varga met representatives of telecom companies on Wednesday to discuss government plans to introduce a tax on internet services.
Opposition Demands Govt Ditch Plans for Internet Tax
At the meeting, Varga argued for the plan to roll out the telecoms tax to the internet and said that many subscribers had switched from traditional phone services, which are subject to the telecoms tax, to tax-free communication via the internet.
“In a fair distribution of the public burden, ways to evade taxes should be blocked,” Varga said. The government maintains its position that tax revenues should come from consumption, rather than weigh on families or labour, he insisted.
“The minister clarified a misunderstanding that a new tax would be introduced. The proposal is designed to eliminate a possibility for tax evasion rather than levying a general tax on the internet,” the ministry said in a statement.
After the meeting, head of telco coordination council HET Gabriella Kovesi quoted Varga as saying that the government would expect an annual revenue of 20-25 billion forints from the internet tax.
Kovesi said that the providers had been open to the government’s proposal and raised the possibility of paying a lump sum per subscriber. Varga said the government would consider the possibility of putting a cap on the tax and making low data traffic exempt, she said.
Kovesi added, however, that the proposal had come as unexpected, without any prior consultations.
The planned tax per subscriber would be capped at 700 forints a month for private persons and 5,000 forints for companies.