Budapest, January 6 (MTI) – New rules determining the amount of an excise tax bank guarantee paid by alcohol wholesalers should be introduced from March 1 this year instead of the original deadline of Jan. 1, 2016, a government official said on Tuesday.
Gergely Gulyas, the ruling Fidesz party’s head of parliament’s legislative committee, noted in a statement that the excise tax bank guarantee paid by wholesalers on beer, wine, sparkling wine and intermediate alcoholic beverages would rise from 22 million forints (EUR 69,000) to 150 million (EUR 470,000) following passage of the tax law approved last November. Several weeks later, lawmakers voted to amend the 2015 budget in such a way as to ensure that the amount of the guarantee would be determined by net revenue bands in order to aid small and medium-sized wholesalers.
Gulyas said that the legislative committee bore responsibility for mistakes made in connection with the excise guarantee rules. In order to remedy this, a proposal for amending the law was tabled on Monday to bring forward the deadline for enforcing this amendment with the support of the Fidesz parliamentary group, he said.
In the event of the law being approved, prior to the implementation of the bands on March 1, the companies affected will not have to pay the raised excise guarantee, he said.
The opposition Socialists said in response that “corruption-related infighting” for control over the market of alcohol wholesalers “is going on within ruling Fidesz”. Bertalan Toth, the party’s deputy group leader, told a press conference that Gulyas had indicated on several occasions that the new measure would destroy several businesses.
He referred to Gulyas as saying earlier on Tuesday that he had motioned to introduce the system based on net revenue bands already as of March 1. But there is absolutely no guarantee that Fidesz lawmakers would approve Gulyas’ proposal, Toth said. Wholesalers would, however, be required to pay the 150 million forint deposit by Feb. 1, he insisted. The Socialists will submit a proposal on maintaining the 22 million forint deposit, said Toth.
The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said that the “oligarch-friendly mafia government”, by “bleeding dry” 95 percent of drinks wholesalers, would contribute to job losses while lining the pockets of their own mates.
Zsolt Greczy, the party’s spokesman, told a news conference that the proposed law was a “nightmare” which would put everyone except for the 5-6 market-leaders out of business. He added that the government had yet again proved that it has a grudge against multinational companies only if they “are outside the circle of Fidesz’s cronies”. The amendment conflicts with EU competition rules and jeopardises the livelihood of many families, he said, calling on the government to withdraw it.