Scope and rates
Value-added tax (VAT) is due on any supply of goods or services made in Hungary, where it is a taxable supply made by a taxable person in the course or furtherance of a business carried on by said person. Supply includes all forms of supply. It is not restricted to the provision of goods and services by way of sale but can apply equally to other forms of transaction, including the leasing or hire of goods, the grant, assignment or surrender of a right, or even an agreement not to do something.
Supply does not include anything done otherwise than for a consideration. However, certain actions carried out for no consideration are deemed to be supplies; for example, the private use of business assets and the transfer of goods to a third party without consideration. The following transactions are not subject to tax:
The standard rate of VAT is 27 percent.
Yes. The following supplies of goods and services are exempt from VAT:
- public postal services
- hospital, medical care, and closely related activities undertaken by non-profit service providers
- hospital, medical care and closely related activities undertaken by entities carrying out human medical activities
- the supply of human organs, blood, and milk
- the supply of services by dentists or dental technicians
- social services carried out by non-profit service providers (excluding catering for a separate fee)
- supply of services and of goods closely linked to the protection of children and young persons carried out by non-profit service providers
- crèche services carried out by non-profit service providers (excluding catering for a separate fee)
- nursery, student hostel and dormitory services carried out by non-profit service providers (excluding catering for a separate fee)
- certain education activities
- the supply of staff by religious or philosophical
- the supply of certain services closely linked to sport or physical education performed by non-profit service providers
- the supply of certain cultural services by non-profit service providers
- the supply of certain services relating to physical training or sports by non-profit service providers rendered to natural persons (except: swimming pool and beach services, leasing of sport buildings, and attending on sport events)
- the activities carried out by public radio and television bodies
- insurance and reinsurance transactions, including related services performed by insurance brokers and insurance agents
- the granting of credit and the management of credit by the person granting it
- the negotiation of or any dealings in credit guarantees or any other security for money and the management of credit guarantees by the person who is granting the credit
- transactions, including negotiation, concerning deposit and current accounts, payments, transfers, debts, checks, and other negotiable instruments, but excluding debt collection
- transactions, including negotiation, concerning currency, bank notes, and coins
- transactions, including negotiation but not management or safekeeping, in shares, interests in companies or associations, debentures, and other securities
- the management of special investment funds
- the supply of postage stamps and other similar stamps
- gambling services
- sale of building plots and sale of immovable property not including sale prior to the completion of construction and the first sale following completion provided it takes place within two years after completion
- sale of land parcels
- the leasing or letting of immovable property (option to tax is available for taxable persons).
A reduced rate of 18 percent is applicable to dairy and bakery products and hotel services. Since 20 July 2012, it also applies to the admission to short-term open-air events.
There is a reduced rate of 5 percent for the sale of most medicines, medical instruments, books, newspapers, and magazines. Books and music notes on non-paper based but on a different type of device are subject to the reduced 5 percent rate unless electronic services are required to enlist them. Central ('distance') heating is also subject to the reduced 5 percent rate. Live performances among certain conditions are also subject to the reduced 5 percent rate (in restaurants, in the course of family events, in the course of other events where no admission fee is payable for the performance itself, etc.), as of 12 April 2011.
Note: it is not possible to recover VAT incurred in making exempt supplies.
- Excise duty
- Green tax
- Public health tax on products
- Telephone tax (The so called “telephone tax” is levied on telecommunications service providers at the amount of 2 Ft per minute started for initiated phone calls , while for message sending 2 Ft per message sent as of 1 July 2012.)
- Introduction of financial transaction tax
- Introduction of insurance premium tax.
All Hungarian businesses (including non-profit organizations) upon registration at the Court of Registry will be granted a tax number.
Non-Hungarian entities are required to register for Hungarian VAT if they perform business transactions in Hungary. There is no registration threshold for registration in Hungary.
Non-European Union (EU) entities are required to point a fiscal representative if they wish to register for Hungarian VAT. Appointing a fiscal representative is optional for EU entities.
VAT registration and communication with the Hungarian tax authority must be in Hungarian language.
Retroactive registration is possible in Hungary. In the case of late registration, the tax authority issues a VAT ID number valid as of the day of the commencement of the taxable activity. Accordingly, input VAT incurred before the actual registration event can be deducted.
There are no specific penalties for failing to register or for late registration; however, if the tax authority reveals that an entity is performing VATable transactions without being registered, it may establish a tax shortage the consequences being a tax penalty up to 50 percent of unpaid tax and a default penalty up to HUF 500,000 (approximately EUR 1,700) plus late payment interest (double the prime rate).
VAT registration is a requirement for foreign business entities if they perform business transactions in Hungary. The business activity planned to be performed has to be revealed to the authorities as condition of the registration. Voluntary registration without having a business purpose is not possible.
No simplification applies for overseas companies. As already mentioned, fiscal representation is required for non-EU businesses.
If a company is an intermediate supplier to an Hungarian buyer of goods purchased from a business in another (3rd) EU Member State and are delivered from there to Hungary, VAT due can be accounted for by the Hungarian customer (see section International Supplies of Goods and Services). Please also see the section on Registration for more detail on triangulation.
Where a company stores stock at its business customer’s premises under their control in certain circumstances the customer can account for VAT on the supply as an acquisition.
Reverse Charge Services
The reverse charge mechanism has a broader scope with the introduction of the 'new' place of supply rules as of 1 January 2010. These services are covered in more detail in International Supplies of Goods and Services.
It is a requirement for an overseas company to appoint a fiscal representative during the application for registration for VAT purposes.
The fiscal representative can be a business entity having an equity capital of at least HUF 50 million or bank guarantees for the same amount and must not have any outstanding tax debts to the tax authority. It is the obligation of the fiscal representative to notify the respective department of the tax authority of entering into or terminating its engagement as fiscal representative of a foreign company.
The fiscal representative complies with the reporting liabilities of the foreign company’s VAT registration in the name of the company, fulfills the tax liabilities and exercises the rights of the foreign company. It is also liable to open a bank account on behalf of the foreign company for tax-related transactions. The law also provides that during its appointment, only the fiscal representative can act on behalf of the company during the procedures with the tax authorities.
The foreign company and the fiscal representative are jointly liable for the company's tax obligations.
Yes. Related entities having their company’ seat or fixed establishment in Hungary may opt to benefit from VAT grouping. The above-mentioned taxpayers can form a VAT group with their related companies.
Group taxation is available to taxable persons who meet all of the following criteria:
All members of the group are:
- taxable persons established in Hungary
- related companies and
- involved in one group only at any given time.
Group taxation will be possible with the permission of the Hungarian tax authorities upon request of the members of the group; similarly the group can be terminated by the authorities’ repeal. Members of the group will cease being independent taxpayers from a VAT point of view, instead, the group will be considered a single taxpayer obliged to fulfill its VAT liabilities using a single VAT number and filing common VAT returns. Members and non-joining related entities will have joint and several liability related to the VAT obligation of the group.
All transactions (supply of goods or services) performed within the group is outside the scope of VAT. Incurred input VAT is recoverable.
No. As mentioned above, all members of the group have to be taxable persons established in Hungary. Hungarian fixed establishments of overseas branch offices may be able to join.
As a general rule, tax payers are obliged to submit VAT returns on a quarterly basis. However, if the amount of tax payable exceeds HUF 1 million (approximately EUR 3,330) in the tax year preceding the previous closed tax year (2011 as far as2012 is concerned), VAT returns should be filed on a monthly basis. If the amount of tax either payable or refundable did not exceed HUF 250,000 (approximately EUR 830) in the tax year preceding the previous tax year, VAT should be reported annually provided that the tax payer does not have an EU VAT registration number. If the tax payer reaches the above limits during the course of the tax year, they have to switch to more frequent filing (that is the first monthly return should be filed in respect of the month following the quarter in which the HUF 1 million limit has been exceeded).
The taxpayer can apply for a permission from the tax authority to file VAT returns more frequently (that is, instead of quarterly to monthly filing). The tax authority will grant the permission especially if the taxpayer has investments or the input VAT is higher than the output VAT.
If the taxpayer carries out intra-Community transactions, EC Sales and Purchase List and Intrastat reports should also be filed. As a general rule EC Sales and Purchase Lists must be submitted as frequently as VAT returns. However, if the net amount of IC supplies exceeds EUR 100,000 (approximately HUF 30,000,000) in the relevant quarter, the EC Sales and Purchase List should be filed on a monthly basis. Intrastat reports have to be filed monthly if the intra-community supplies and/or the intra-Community acquisitions of the taxpayer exceed HUF 100 million (approximately EUR 333,000) in a year.
Recapitulative reports on invoices
The obligation to submit special recapitulative reports on invoices is applicable as from 1 January 2013. As from this date, every VAT return in Hungary has to be accompanied by a special recapitulative report detailing all incoming invoices containing deductible VAT amounts, above a certain threshold, and all outgoing invoices containing VAT amounts payable, above the threshold (in relation to a particular taxpayer subject to Hungarian VAT) for the given tax period.
Both the seller and the buyer must prepare reports containing the details of each invoice involving more than HUF 2,000,000 VAT, indicating the partner’s VAT number, the tax base, the amount of tax and the date of performance. Reporting liability also arises, even if all sales/purchases with a given partner together exceed the HUF 2,000,000 VAT threshold.
In connection with the supply of goods, the supply of services and intra-Community acquisition of goods, where the taxable amount is expressed in a foreign currency, the following exchange rate(s) shall be applied when converting the taxable amount into forints:
- that is in effect at the time VAT is charged in connection with the intra-Community acquisition of goods and with any payment on account, and in the cases of reverse charge;
- that is in effect at the time the invoice is issued if the parties agreed on payment in installments or periodic settlements
- that is in effect at the time the chargeable event occurs in all other cases.
- The exchange rate applicable shall constitute the latest forint price of a specific unit of the given foreign currency, in effect at the time referred to above, that is:
- listed by a credit institution authorized in the domestic territory to engage in money exchange operations as the selling rate (option 1; In the event that the given currency is not listed, conversion to forint shall take place relying on the euro equivalent of a specified unit of the foreign currency in question published by the MNB for the calendar quarter preceding the time specified above.), or
- officially quoted by the Hungarian National Bank (Magyar Nemzeti Bank or “MNB”), provided that the person requiring the translation into forint (“obligor”) decided so, and provided the state tax authority with an advance notice accordingly.
The above option may be exercised covering all supplies of goods or services, and intra-Community acquisitions of goods, where the taxable amount is expressed in a foreign currency.
If a taxpayer opted to use the National Bank rate, it is not possible to return to the general scheme (commercial bank rates) until the end of the following calendar year.
In respect of the importation of goods, if the taxable amount is expressed in a foreign currency, conversion to forint shall take place relying on the exchange rate that is to be used for determining the value for customs purposes.
For VAT deductions on domestic purchases, taxpayers have to follow the VAT amount in Hungarian Forints that is indicated in the invoice by the supplier (using the supplier’s choice of VAT rate).
Yes. Foreign businesses liable to VAT in Hungary are entitled to a refund of VAT paid on purchases of goods and services in Hungary or on imports of goods into Hungary in line with the rules of the relevant EU Directives. A non-EU business can also recover the VAT, but they can recover VAT only if reciprocity is in place. Hungary has reciprocity agreement with Liechtenstein and with Switzerland.
Under both of these provisions there are strict time limits for making claims. The claim period covers the calendar year and claims must be submitted by the 30 September of the following year. However, if the reclaimable VAT exceeds the amount equivalent to EUR 400, it is possible to submit the VAT refund claim during the tax year (that is, quarterly) by the end of the month following the quarter when the VAT was incurred.
The application of the taxable person established in another Member State must be submitted electronically to the tax administration of the Members State where he is established, in the way and form required in that country. Electronic submission is not mandatory, but it is possible to taxable persons established in third countries (i.e. Liechtenstein and Switzerland).
Yes. Hungary has reciprocity agreement with Liechtenstein and with Switzerland
There are certain items that businesses cannot recover VAT on. For example:
- the purchase of goods or services that are used or utilized for purposes other than the business activities subject to taxation
- the purchase of goods or services that are used or utilized as fuel directly for the operation of a motor vehicle (except, if the purchase is for the purpose of resale)
- the purchase of leaded or unleaded motor fuels (except, if the purchase is for the purpose of resale, or, as of 1 January 2011, if the fuel is used for experimental development)
- the purchase or renting of passenger cars, motorcycles above 125 cc, yachts, sporting, and leisure boats (except, if the purchase is for the purpose of resale)
- the purchases of foodstuffs and beverages (except, if the purchase is for the purpose of resale)
- The services of public catering services
- entertainment services
- Purchases and services received in connection with the operation and maintenance of passenger cars (except for taxable persons engaged in the renting of automobiles with respect to the automobiles rented out)
- taxi services
- parking and highway usage services (excluding vehicles over 3.5 tones)
- purchase of residential properties (except for taxable persons use or utilize the purchases for reselling or renting residential properties with respect to the residential properties rented out)
- purchases and services related to the construction or remodeling of residential properties (except for taxable persons who use or utilize the purchases for constructing residential properties built for the purpose of resale).
Thirty percent of the tax charged on telephone services cannot be deducted. (This deduction restriction shall not apply to taxable persons who re-invoice at least 30 percent of the services in question for the purpose of resale or the intermediation of services.)
International supplies of goods and services
If a company sells goods to a customer who is registered for VAT in another EU Member State and the sale involves the removal of those goods from Hungary (either by the supplier or the customer) to that Member State, then the supplier does not need to charge VAT and may exempt the supply as an intra-EU dispatch. It must obtain its customer's VAT number and quote it on the invoice. It should also obtain evidence of the goods' removal from Hungary as this has to be proved (such as by transport documents).
If a company sells goods to a customer who is not registered for VAT in another EU Member State, it will have to charge Hungarian VAT. If its sales exceed a certain threshold for that Member State, it may have to register in the Member State under Distance Selling Scheme.
If a company exports goods to a customer (business or private) outside of the EU, and the goods are transported by the supplier or on its behalf (with the exception of private customers and public benefit organizations), then it does not need to charge VAT; but, as for intra-Community sales, it should make sure to keep proof of dispatch/delivery in all cases to support the exemption.
If a Hungarian established business supplies services to a foreign business customer (B2B), in general the supply of services is taxable in the country of the recipient under the reverse charge mechanism. However, supplies of services to a private consumer (B2C) are in general taxable in the country of the supplier and therefore subject to Hungarian VAT.
The following exceptions apply to the B2B and B2C main rules as described above:
- services involving real estate (taxable in the country where the real estate is located).
- restaurant and catering services (taxable in the country where these services are performed Other rules apply if these services are performed on board a ship, aircraft, or train)
- passenger transport (taxable in we country here the transport services are actually performed)
- services with regard to cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific, educational, entertainment, and similar activities, along with the ancillary services provided to taxable persons are subject to the main B2B rules. However, as of 1 January 2011, the service is taxable in the country where the event takes place in the case of services performed to taxable persons only with respect to admission to cultural, artistic, scientific, educational, entertainment, sporting or similar events (particularly exhibitions, fairs and expositions) and the appurtenant admission-related services. The place of supply of cultural, artistic, scientific, educational, entertainment, sporting or similar events (particularly, the implementation of exhibitions, fairs and expositions), including their organization and, where appropriate, ancillary services provided to non-taxable persons is the place where the services are physically carried out.
- Short-term hiring of transportation vehicles (for ships maximum 90 days/for other means of transport maximum 30 days; taxable in the country where the vehicle is actually put at the disposal of the customer.
The following exceptions apply to the B2C main rule:
- intermediary services (taxable in the country where the underlying transaction is taxable)
- intra-Community transport of goods (taxable in the country of departure). For other types of goods transportation for non-taxable customers, the place of service is the place where the transportation is actually performed.
- transportation-related services (taxable in the country where the services are physically carried out)
- services involving movable tangible goods (taxable in the country where the activities are actually carried out)
- services performed electronically by a VAT entrepreneur not established in the EU to non-taxable customers (taxable in the country where the customer of the service is located).
- the following services performed for non-taxable customers that are established or resident outside the EU are taxable in the country where the customer is established:
- the transfer of licenses and similar rights
- advertising services
- services performed by consultants, as well as data-processing and information-provision services
- the obligation to refrain, in whole or in part, from pursuing a business activity
- banking and insurance services
- supply of staff;
- hiring out of movable property, with the exception of means of transport
- operating natural gas and electricity-distribution systems
- telecommunications services;
- radio and television broadcast services and
- services performed electronically.
When goods are imported into Hungary from outside the EU, import VAT and customs duty may be due. This has to be paid or secured before the goods will be released from customs' control. A freight agent can pay this import VAT and duty on your behalf or, alternately, the company might apply for a VAT and duty deferment account.
If a business established in Hungary buys in certain services from outside of Hungary, it will be required to apply the reverse charge. Accordingly, as the main rule if the supplier is not established in Hungary, the supplier can issue the invoice without VAT and you will have to account for local VAT. This is intended to take away any VAT advantage of buying those services from outside of Hungary.
Please also see the specific rules of place of supply of services in order to determine whether reverse charge applies.
Under the reverse charge you are required to account for a notional amount of VAT as output tax on the VAT return covering the period in which the payment was made and the taxpayer recovers this VAT as input tax on the same return.
If the taxpayer is able to recover all of your VAT, the reverse charge has no cost effect and is a VAT compliance matter only. However, if it is partly exempt there is likely to be a VAT cost depending on the level of recovery allowed under the partial exemption method.
In most cases, yes, but there are some exceptions (e.g. in the case of certain exempt services, if the relevant conditions are met).
Invoices can be issued either in the Hungarian or any spoken foreign language (however, Hungarian translation may be required by the tax authority in some cases), whereas receipt can only be issued in Hungarian language.
Hungarian invoicing requirements are the following:
- heading: invoice (számla)
- invoice number (there is a strict obligation to have a flowing numbering - invoices of the Hungarian VAT registration of the company should be separate and continuous)
- name, address and tax identification number of the issuer (in the case of intra-community transaction the Community tax number shall be indicated on the invoice. In addition the group tax ID if applicable.)
- name, address of the customer and its community tax number, if the customer is liable to pay the VAT on the transaction. If VAT in excess of HUF 2,000,000 is charged in an invoice, showing the customer VAT ID number is also required from 2013.
- date of issue of the invoice
- date of supply, if other than the date of issue of the invoice
- description of the goods or services; the statistical classification number, to the extent required for identification to use a tax rate different from the general one.
- quantity unit and quantity of the goods or services (if the services can be expressed in some unit of measurement)
- net unit price of the goods or services (if the services can be expressed in some unit)
- allowances applied provided that it is not included in the net unit price
- total net consideration of goods and services
- tax rate of tax charged
- total amount of tax charged, if the consideration is expressed in foreign currency it should be indicated in Hungarian Forint as well.
- if the customer is liable to pay VAT on the transaction (such as, intra-community supply/acquisition, import services), the invoice has to include reference to this fact
- if the company is not liable to pay VAT on the transaction, it cannot indicate VAT in the invoice but has to indicate Exempt from VAT
- the VAT identification number of the fiscal representative, together with his/her full name and address, where the person liable to pay the tax is the fiscal representative
- reference to the sale of new means of transport to another Member State, the date of first entry into service, the number of kilometers run (road means of transport), the number of hours shipped (ships), number of hours flied (aircraft)
- reference to special scheme of taxation based on price margin and for waste material.
Electronic invoicing is accepted by the Hungarian VAT law (there are specific requirements).
Self-billing is accepted by the Hungarian VAT law (a written agreement needs to be concluded between the parties in advance).
Please note that the invoice has to contain the VAT amount payable in forints - using the exchange rate specified above - even in the case where all other details are expressed in another currency.
Transfers of business
No. The provision of the VAT Directive was not implemented by the Hungarian national legislation. The interpretation of the Hungarian authorities on the VAT treatment of asset deal transactions is ambiguous.
Options to tax
Generally, the sale and rental of real property are exempt from VAT. However, the taxpayer may opt to tax these transactions:
- option to tax (all) the sales of real property (and treat the rents as exempt)
- option to tax (all) the rents (and treat the sales as exempt) or
- option to tax (all) sales and rents. The option therefore relates to the activities of the entrepreneur instead of a specific real property. The option is irrevocable for a five-year period.
- Option to taxation can be made separately or for both types of transactions.
Head office and branch transactions
Transactions between head office and branch are outside the scope of Hungarian VAT.
It is not possible to claim relief for bad debts in Hungary.
The Act on Taxation has implemented a substance over form clause, which is also applicable for VAT. Invalid contracts and other transactions are applicable for taxation purposes to the extent of the economic result of their content.
There are four basic penalty types described below:
- default penalty for mistakes in the reporting or invoicing up to HUF 500,000 (approximately EUR 1,750)
- tax penalty for tax shortage up to 50 percent of the tax shortage (in certain cases up to 20 percent or 200 percent, please see below)
- late payment penalty in the amount of the double of the interest rate of the National Bank of Hungary
- self-revision penalty up to 50 percent of the late interest penalty.
How often do tax audits take place?
Large-scale taxpayers can expect tax audit more often than smaller taxpayers. There is annual guidance for the tax authorities to carry out tax audits at certain industry sectors, etc., however, these audit policies may change every year.
Are there audits done electronically in your country (e-audit)? If so, what system is in use?
During comprehensive tax audits, especially for larger taxpayers, the tax authorities often ask for general ledger and other data in electronic format as well, which may be investigated using data mining software (typically Sesame Database Manager).
Is it possible to apply for formal or informal advance rulings from the (indirect) tax authority?
There is an opportunity to apply for formal - binding - ruling from the Ministry of Finance (also called provisional tax assessment). This is an advance ruling meaning that this can only be requested in relation to transactions not yet commenced. The fee for the binding ruling varies according to the value of the transaction(s) concerned and according to certain other factors. The provisional tax assessment is binding on the tax authority only for the case concerned and under unaltered conditions. In the event of any future changes in the legislation concerned with provisional tax assessment or any changes in the facts (content changes) as of the date of entry into force, or such changes taking effect, the provisional tax assessment cannot be applied. The applicability of the so-called extended provisional tax assessment (which can only be applied for if certain conditions are met) are not affected by future changes in the relevant legislation, however, it is affected only by changes in the facts (content changes).
Informal ruling can also be requested either from the tax authority or the Ministry of Finance for free. However, the findings of such rulings are not binding the tax authorities e.g. for the case of a subsequent tax audit.
Are rulings and decisions issued by the tax authorities publicly available in your country?
On 14 May 2012, the Parliament approved amendments in relation to extending the VAT reverse charge to the agricultural sector for a temporary 2-year period.
As from 1 July 2012, the sale and purchase of certain agricultural products – corn, wheat, barley, rye, oats, sunflower seeds, rapeseed, triticale and soya-beans - will be subject to VAT reverse charges. A special reporting liability will arise in addition to the regular VAT return with respect to such transactions, including the date of the supply, the amount sold/purchased (kg) and the tax base, per supplier/customer and customs tariff code of the goods sold.
In relation to certain products – for example, corn or sunflower seeds available in shops as well – attention will be needed when checking whether the liability also concerns traders or entities other than the usual participants within the agricultural sector - based on the classifications according to the customs tariff code.