“The economic whitening measures introduced by the Government to date have been successful, and the Ministry of Finance is continuing to whiten the economy; in future, new vending machines, for instance those operating in car parks and car washes, will also be directly linked to system of the Tax and Customs Office (NAV)”, State Secretary for Finances Gábor Gion from the Ministry of Finance said at a professional conference organised by financial news portal Portfolio.hu in Budapest on Tuesday.

“Last year, the central budget realised an additional 350 billion forints (EUR 1bn) in tax revenues thanks to the measures aimed at whitening the economy”, the State Secretary highlighted.

“The introduction of online cash registers was also a significant step in the whitening process: The Government decided in 2012 that cash registers must be linked to the tax office, and the measure became mandatory on 1 September 2014”, he pointed out. “Further sectors were required to use online cash tills from 12 January 2017, including taxi drivers, and at vehicle repair stations, laundries, discos and fitness studios. The system of online cash registers is currently made up of some 200 thousand cash registers countrywide”, he explained.

The State Secretary indicated that the Electronic Road Traffic Control System (EKÁER) introduced in the interests of detecting road freight VAT fraud is exemplary and has been examined by almost every EU member state in recent years, with the Polish SENT system, which was developed based on the Hungarian EKÁER system, having been put into commission on 1 May 2017.

“Following food and drinks dispensers, in future all automatic vending machines that function without an operator must also be directly linked to the tax office, including, amongst others, parking ticket machines and equipment at automated car washes. As the first step in the process, all such vending machines must be reported to the tax office and registered by 30 June”, he announced.

“There are some 25 thousand vending machines operating in Hungary, and data relating to turnover is received by the tax office with relation to a total of 22.350”, he added.

“The use of cash is extremely high in Hungary in European comparison, in addition to which the amount of cash possessed by the population is also continuously increasing, approaching 6000 billion forints according to estimates, and this is something both the Government and the Central Bank would like to reduce in future”, Mr. Gion indicated. “Of the cash owned by the population, only some 1500 billion forints are actually in use, meaning that three quarters of the cash in circulation is ‘resting’ somewhere and is not aiding the functioning of the economy”, he said.

The State Secretary stressed that the financial awareness of the population must be further improved, which would also contribute to reducing the use of cash. “The Ministry would like the dissemination of financial knowledge and raising children to be financially aware to be an integral part of the school curriculum, in addition to which education should also be expanded to include business studies” Mr. Gion said.