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On 12 November 2019 Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office proposed an omnibus law in order to further streamline and expedite the operation of the metropolitan and county governmental offices. These offices serve, in many cases, as an authority of second instance where, at first instance, the city notary was the competent authority, so the Hungarian administrative system has shared competences in this respect.

A new amendment to the Hungarian Anti-Money Laundering Act seeks to extend its scope to custodian wallet providers and virtual currency exchange platforms, in order to reduce the risks associated to cryptocurrencies. The proposal is currently before the Hungarian Parliament, and aims at fulfilling Hungary’s obligations deriving from the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (“Directive”).

On 23 October 2019 the European Commission published a report on the third annual review on the functioning of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The report states that the U.S. continues to ensure an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred under the Privacy Shield from the EU to participating companies in the U.S. Today approx. 5,000 companies are participating in this EU-U.S. data protection framework.

Under a non-compete agreement, the employer may restrict the ex-employee’s business activity for a period of maximum 2 years following the termination of employment and in exchange, the employer shall pay adequate compensation to the employee - the amount of which may not be less than 1/3 of the base wage due for the same period. The Hungarian Supreme Court (Curia) published in September 2019 a report on the judicial practice relating to non-compete agreements, which highlights the following findings:

On 24 September 2019 the commencement of the electronical land registry (E-Land registry) project was announced aiming at the development of real estate and land issues. As a result of the E-Land registry, a safer, more transparent and faster system will be established, which would also enable automatic decision-making processes. This step follows the electronization of the administrative processes resulting in the decrease of the lead time and costs of the land registry procedures and the increase of the legal certainty.

In September 2019, the Hungarian Supreme Court (Curia) stated in its decision that even in case of a warning strike, the employer must be notified on the strike at a time that allows the exercise of its right to prevent damages caused by the stop of operations, and also to perform its obligation to protect life and property and to perform any organisational work related to these rights and obligations.

Company information was available without any restriction in the database of the Hungarian Ministry of Justice. As of 1 October 2019, there was a change in the recognition of company information, since the electronic company register was replaced by a so called online real-time company information.

Every single business that trades with the UK, both in goods and services, will be affected by a “no-deal Brexit” scenario, i.e. the withdrawal of the UK from the EU without an agreement. On 4 September 2019 the Commission published a “Brexit preparedness checklist”, to provide information and to help enterprises conducting business in the EU and/or in the UK to double-check their state of preparedness.

On 10 September 2019 the newest edition of Incoterms rules, Incoterms 2020 was released by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The Incoterms rules serve as significant commercial provisions for the international sale of goods, including commonly accepted definitions and rules relating to the delivery of goods between trading partners. Since the first publication of Incoterms rules in 1936, ICC has revised regularly these rules to follow the changes in the worldwide trade system.

From 1 January 2020 a new European Union Directive (nicknamed „Quick Fixes”) will enter into force. Among several changes, rules that regulate the customer VAT numbers has been reformed. Under the new reform, obtaining a valid VAT number that the customer provides to the supplier will be regarded as a material requirement for applying the 0% VAT rate. If the supplier fails to include the customer’s VAT number on the invoice, it should not be possible to apply the 0% VAT rate. In addition, filing of a cumulative declaration is also required to invoke the 0% VAT rate. The Directive puts higher administrative burden on undertakings, since it expects a constant inspection mechanism for the validity of the customer’s VAT number at the time of sale.

As a result of an amendment to the Hungarian Condominium Act, a new register for condominium officers will be set up as of 1 January 2020. The aim of the registry is to keep the data of the officers (common representatives and chairman of the administrative committee) in a national, public and electronic registry, to ensure the transparency of the operation of the condominium and the efficiency of the legal supervision of the city notary over the condominiums, and to facilitate the appropriate communication in the course of authority proceedings affecting the rights and obligations of the condominium and the community.

On 14 September 2019 new requirements for authenticating online payments will be introduced in Europe as part of the Directive EU 2015/2366 on payment services in the internal market (Payment Services Directive, “PSD2”).

The Hungarian legislation introduced the asset management foundation as a new type of asset management in March 2019, which is very similar to the well-known trust. According to the bill on amending certain tax laws submitted by the Hungarian Government in June 2019, the foundation performing asset management will be considered as a taxable person for corporate income tax purposes. The foundation must fulfil its tax liability in the same way as the assets managed by a trust. However, if the foundation established by a natural person in favour of a natural person beneficiary has income only from financial instruments or from the exercise its rights of disposition of such instruments, the income from such activities are not taxable for corporate income tax purposes.

On 29 May 2019 the EU Commission published a guidance on the interaction between the Regulation on the free flow of non-personal data (FFD Regulation) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In particular, private businesses, notably small and medium-sized enterprises and other entities which process data in the course of their professional activities, will benefit from the guidance.

The personal income tax exemption for mothers with four or more children will come into effect as of January 2020. In connection with the seven-step family protection action plan starting on 1 July 2019, this is another significant benefit for mothers. The tax exemption does not affect the family tax advantage, which can still be claimed by both parents.

The Member States of the European Union shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the EU Directive 2017/828 which establishes requirements in relation to the exercise of certain shareholder rights attached to voting shares in general meetings of companies by 10 June 2019. The most sensitive part of the directive is that it makes the remunerations of the directors public.

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KCG Partners is a Hungarian business law firm providing a comprehensive range of legal services to international and local clients seeking local knowledge and global perspective. The firm comprises business-minded lawyers with sector-specific expertise, creating value for clients by applying a problem-solving approach and delivering innovative solutions.

The firm has a wealth of knowledge in corporate law, M&A, projects and construction, energy, real estate, tax, employment, litigation, privacy and forensics, securitization, estate planning and capital markets.

To address clients’ regional and international concerns, the firm maintains active working relationships with other outstanding independent law firms in Central and Eastern Europe, whilst senior counsel Mr. Blaise Pásztory brings over 40 years’ of US capital market and fund management experience.

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