The economic and energy crisis hit Hungary hard, and every sector struggles because of the consequences. The local governments are probably in the worst position since most of them cannot expect considerable government help. Therefore, they must come up with creative solutions to fill the holes in their budget. For instance, the 18th district of Budapest invented a brand new tax, the so-called passenger fee.
According to the early December decision of the local council, all passengers of Budapest Airport would be subject to the new tax. Everybody arriving or departing from Hungary’s biggest international airport would be required to pay HUF 1,000 (EUR 2.5). That would mean billions of forints for the municipal budget only because the airport is officially on the territory of the district.
The local council’s idea is to collect the extra tax from the ground handling companies. Thus, you would not have to turn to the district office or official at the airport. You would only have to pay more for your ticket, and the companies would transfer the extra tax to the district’s local budget. The collected sum would be spent on the renewal of the main roads.
The CEO of Smartwings, Attila Farkas, told Világgazdaság that the Budapest Airport, the airlines, and the ground handling companies would fight collectively to abolish the tax as soon as possible. He added they believed the new tax was illegal, just like the government office of Budapest. Therefore, the office called the district to scrap the relevant decree. Instead, the district’s mayor, Ferenc Szaniszló, started an intensive Social Media campaign to further promote the idea.
The municipal council has 30 days to annul the decree. Provided they do not comply the Supreme Court (Kúria) will decide the matter. Those opposing the idea argue that its implementation would impossible. Furthermore, it would result in double taxation since the government introduced the departure tax before, and the taxpayer is theoretically the same.
Interestingly, the district’s 2023 budget does not calculate the new tax as a possible source of income. That probably means they do not regard it as realistic.