Govt calls RTL Klub “Revenge” For Ad Tax Unacceptable
(MTI) – The government deems it “unacceptable” that commercial channel RTL Klub “has launched a war” because it has to pay tax in Hungary and wants to “take revenge” on the prime minister’s father, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Friday.
Small businesses in Hungary, too, are subject to tax and “it is natural” that RTL Klub, a firm generating billions of forints in revenue, has to pay taxes, and, just like others, it must share the public burden, the office said.
It said the other commercial players paid tax on advertisements, yet “none of them had waged a war of revenge”.
RTL on Friday evening broadcast a news report on the financial assets of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s father, saying that the opposition Democratic Coalition called for a probe into the about one billion forints dividend his mining firm had paid out since the 2008 economic and financial crisis, quoting the latest issue of a company gazette.
Media companies, publishers, outdoor ad firms and the publishers of online ads will be subject to a tax on ad revenues, parliament decided on Wednesday.
The ad tax bill was approved in fast-track procedure with 144 votes in favour and 30 against.
The tax will not apply to annual revenue below 500 million forints (EUR 1.7m) but will be as high as 40 percent above 20 billion forints.
Earlier in the day, Luxembourg-based RTL Group in a letter turned to President Janos Ader not to sign the law, saying “it hurt common European values such as press freedoms and impartiality in free market”.
The letter, signed by Guillaume De Posch, Co-Chief Executive Officer of RTL Group and Andreas Rudas, member of the board of directors RTL Hungary, criticised that nearly fifty percent of the sectoral tax would have to be borne by them and that the legislation had been voted on without prior social and professional consultations.
RTL Klub is Hungary’s largest commercial TV channel present on the market since 1997.