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By ratifying the European Convention on Human Rights in 1992, Hungary has committed itself to ensure the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time and to guarantee the right to an effective remedy for any violation of this right. In its judgment in Gazso v. Hungary, the European Court of Human Rights called on Hungary to establish a domestic remedy capable to handle the structural deficiencies identified in the judgment. As a result, at the end of June 2021, a new Act on the Enforcement of Material Compensation for Delay in Civil Proceedings was published in the Hungarian Official Gazette, which will enter into force on 1 January 2022. The Act establishes a new legal remedy for compensation for fundamental rights violations, called ‘material compensation’ which is different from the general compensation (in Hungarian: “kartalanitas”), indemnification or non-pecuniary compensation (in Hungarian: “serelemdij”).

Currently, legal persons and organizational entities are registered by various courts and authorities: companies are registered by the court of registrations, civil organizations by the courts of law, while investment funds, for example, are registered by the Hungarian National Bank. The data content and operation of these registers also differ.

Latest tax reliefs aim to support tourism and travel industry in Hungary, as tourism was one of the most affected sectors by COVID pandemic. In order to boost the restart of domestic tourism, the latest governmental decree of 381/2021 introduced several new tax measures, mainly for this sector. As a result, tourism development contribution of 4% is still not payable by the end of 2021.

On 1 July 2021, a new Government decree enters into force in Hungary, prohibiting the placing on the market of certain single-use plastic products and products made from oxo-degradable plastic. The decree was published in Hungary's Official Gazette on 1 June.

The constitutional court has rejected a motion against the amendment of the Hungarian Labour Code in 2018, however, it stated the Parliament’s legislative omission. In 2018 the Hungarian Parliament adopted an amendment to the Hungarian Labour Code that resulted in the extension of the maximum duration of the working timeframe in a collective agreement up to 36 months if it is justified by objective or technical reasons, or reasons related to work organisation.

The European Commission published the Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe in 2015, the aim of which is the creation of a modern and more European copyright framework system. The Commission presented in 2016 its legislative proposals to modernise EU copyright law, which resulted in the adoption of two directives: one laying down rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmissions of television and radio programmes (“SatCab Directive”) and another on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market (“CDSM Directive”).

Hungary announced to cut the tax on cryptocurrency earnings by 50% to encourage investors to declare income from trading digital tokens such as Bitcoin. The Hungarian Parliament accepted the tax package for 2022 on 9 June 2021. The package contains inter alia significant simplification and tax reduction with regards cryptocurrencies.

On 27 April 2021 the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new legislation on the Supervisory Authority for Regulated Services, which will in the future supervise the judicial enforcement body, the liquidators and perform official tasks related to the retail sale of tobacco products and the organization of gambling. The new laws will enter into force on 1 October 2021. The purpose of the law is to strengthen the consumer protection, official control and supervision powers in relation to certain exclusive economic activities of the state.

Based on a bill submitted on 20 April 2021, the new law establishing the ultimate beneficial owner register (UBO) may enter into force on 15 May 2021. According to the bill, the UBO will be based on data obtained by banks in the course of the customer due diligence under the Hungarian Anti Money Laundering Act (AML Act), which data will be passed on to the body maintaining the UBO (i.e. the Hungarian tax authority). After the system is set up, each organization involved will receive a registration number and a TT index.

On 20 April 2021 the Hungarian Government submitted a bill on the Land Register to the Hungarian Parliament. The Government decided on the implementation of the electronic land register project, which requires a new Act on the Land Register, as well as a related execution decree. The purpose of the new system is in particular to develop the land register to an electronic database, completely electronize the land register procedures, connect the land register with other public electronic registers of the state and decrease the time and costs of these proceedings.

According to an information letter issued by the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (NAIH) on 1 April 2021, employers can only request proof of protection against COVID-19 (e.g. proof of having the vaccine or recovered from COVID19) in certain jobs and after an appropriate risk analysis. If the employer has an appropriate legal basis to process the immunity data, he is obliged to put appropriate measures in place in order to protect its employees against COVID-19 infection. According to the NAIH, the legislator should further precise the requirements for justifying the immunity against COVID-19 in employment relationships.

The concept of “rust zones” was introduced by the Hungarian legislation in 2020, covering neglected area reserves. Rust zones, due to the expansion of the cities, are now wedged into the urban environment and are mainly unused due to previous pollution typically resulting from industrial activities. By applying a reduced VAT rate of only 5% and other economically stimulating regulatory elements, these zones can become valuable to investors again and can be reused and reintegrated into the cities. By doing so, the goal is to encourage the construction of affordable, new housing and creating construction jobs which can provide significant help to the construction industry weakened by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

A new Government Decree enters into force on 5 May 2021 about the creation of a free (state financed) data erasure application. The National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) is currently working on the application; their goal is to create a user friendly and secure software until 1 May 2021, which the public will be able to download form the site of the NMHH free of charge.

In 2014 Hungary introduced the advertisement tax as a direct business tax that must be paid by media content and service providers and publishers of advertisements. The tax base was the net sales revenue originating from the taxable activities in the tax year, i.e. the turnover and not the profit, and a progressive tax rate was established originally with six tax rates between 0% and 40%. The Advertisement Tax Act also provided that taxable persons whose pre-tax profits for the 2013 financial year were zero or negative, could deduct from their 2014 taxable amount 50% of the losses carried forward from the earlier financial years (“mechanism for partial deductibility of losses carried forward”).

For our Checking In feature, we reach out to partners and heads of practice across CEE to learn how specific practice areas are faring in their jurisdictions. This time around we asked Data Protection experts: Overall, how compliant would you say economic agents are with relevant local regulations on data protection, and what are the main gaps that have yet to be addressed?

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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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