European Commission - Press release
Digital Agenda: Commission requests Hungary to end special tax on telecom operators
Brussels, 29 September 2011 – The European Commission has requested Hungary to abolish specific turnover tax on telecoms operators which were introduced in October 2010. The Commission considers this tax is illegal under EU telecoms rules because revenue from the taxes is used for the Government's central budget and not for meeting the specific costs of regulating the telecoms sector.
Hungary has also failed to comply with its obligation to consult interested parties in an appropriate manner on any amendments of charges applied to telecoms operators.
The rate of the charge levied on telecom operators varies between 0% and 6.5%, on the basis of gross revenues (excluding VAT).
The Commission's request to Hungary to abolish the telecoms tax takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Hungary now has two months to inform the Commission of measures taken to comply with EU telecoms rules. If it fails to do so, the Commission may refer Hungary to the EU's Court of Justice.
The Commission opened an infringement proceeding against Hungary concerning the telecoms tax in March 2011 (see IP/11/308).
EU telecoms rules, in particular Article 12 of the Authorisation Directive (2002/20/CE), lay down precise provisions relating to the administrative charges that Member States can levy on operators authorised to provide telecoms services and networks. Charges on telecoms operators can only cover certain administrative and regulatory costs. At the same time, they should be objective, transparent and proportionate and should be adjusted if appropriate. Interested parties must also be consulted in an appropriate manner of any amendments to the charges.
In March 2011, the Commission referred Spain and France to the EU's Court of Justice for levying charges on telecom operators in breach of EU telecoms rules (IP/11/309).
For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/646
An overview of telecoms infringement proceedings is available at:
Digital Agenda website:
Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)
Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)