Budapest, December 1 (MTI) – Hungary’s parliament on Tuesday voted to abolish NAV, the tax and customs authority, as an independent body and fold it into a state secretariat operating as part of the economy ministry.
The related motion was approved with 119 votes for and 62 against.
The authority will become a two-tiered organisation and the 19 county-level tax and customs units will be merged. The three separate tax and customs units in the capital will also be rolled into one.
As the tax authority will be part of the economy ministry, a state secretary and four deputy state secretaries from the ministry will take over the responsibilities of NAV’s chief.
Andras Tallai, economy ministry state secretary in charge of the restructuring, told a press conference after the vote that there had been broad consensus among the authority’s staff on the need to streamline the tax authority to eliminate fragmentation and parallel operations. The changes also serve to ensure the uniform application of laws and eliminate delays in communication up to the level of decision-makers within the tax authority.
Tallai said that the new structure of managing tax affairs is not unusual, and he cited similar arrangements in Austria, Estonia, Poland and the Netherlands as examples.
The opposition Egyutt party said the move would merely strengthen the government’s hand in controlling tax affairs while undermining transparency and boosting corruption. Under the government’s roof, the authority will be able to act as a proxy for political blackmail against anyone opposed to oligarchs close to the ruling Fidesz party, Egyutt lawmaker Zsuzsanna Szelenyi said.