The government adopted its economy protection measures in good time, the Minister of State for Taxation at the Ministry of Finance said at the Friday online press conference of the Operational Group responsible for the containment of the coronavirus epidemic.

Norbert Izer said already in the first two weeks of the coronavirus epidemic, the government adopted measures which served to retain jobs, and to help businesses survive this difficult period with minimum possible losses.

According to the latest data of the National Tax and Customs Administration, in the sectors in trouble, through tax benefits the government has been able to help more than 360,000 people to remain in employment or to continue the operations of their businesses, the Minister of State said.

As part of the economy protection measures first introduced, 151,000 small taxpayer businesses have been given tax exemption for four months. The temporary tax exemption granted by the tax authority to businesses in the smallest category extends to 26 occupations and lines of business, including beauticians, masseurs, and businesses engaged in construction and installation activities, and is also available to those who are not engaged in full-time business activities. Until the end of June, the persons and businesses concerned will be given a total tax benefit of HUF 26 billion, the Minister of State said. He added that taxpayers in this tax category are entitled to all social security services as earlier, and the tax-free period will also be taken into consideration for pension calculation purposes.

As part of another measure that also seeks to reduce the burdens of small businesses, those who had outstanding tax debts on 1 March have been granted automatic payment by instalment; they will be required to pay their tax debts in 10 monthly instalments. The 74,000 taxpayers concerned will be able to pay their small business tax debts amounting to some HUF 14 billion in total in ten equal instalments after the end of the state of danger without a penalty, Mr Izer said.

In the sectors most affected by the epidemic such as tourism, catering or agriculture, the purpose of the government’s measures was to preserve jobs. From March until June, the tax liabilities of employers have been cancelled in full; employers are only required to pay the personal income tax and a health insurance contribution at the maximum rate of HUF 7,710. As a result, employment has become substantially cheaper for businesses, while the net incomes of employees have increased, the politician said. He mentioned as an example that in the case of a worker receiving the guaranteed wage minimum, HUF 210,000, the state relinquishes a monthly sum of HUF 71,000, while in the case of the average wage, this sum is almost double that amount, HUF 138,000.

The total tax benefit of HUF 66 billion granted over a period of four months – which 28,000 businesses have availed themselves of – has made possible the preservation of 210,000 workers’ jobs, the Minister of State said.

From April, the range of beneficiaries has been extended to workplace day-care service providers, while from May benefits are also available in relation to workers working in aviation and businesses serving the aviation industry, Mr Izer said.

(Ministry of Finance/MTI)