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Amended ESOP Act Brings a Number of Serious Changes from 2019 in Hungary

Amended ESOP Act Brings a Number of Serious Changes from 2019 in Hungary

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The Hungarian Act on the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (the “ESOP Act”) was amended by the Hungarian Parliament in November 2019. It is good news that the amendment does not affect the taxation of incomes from the ESOP organization, so it is still possible to get a private income through an ESOP under very favorable tax conditions. Accordingly, payments made to the employees within the ESOP are solely subject to a 15% personal income tax, which means 18.5% savings for the employees, while on the other hand employers can reduce their public burdens with 21%.

The amended ESOP Act however significantly influences the conditions for the establishment and the operation of the ESOP organization, and in some cases, they are explicitly restricted. For example, the ESOP shall be solely based on securities representing shareholder’s rights: the ESOP organization can handle shares, other securities embodying the same investor risk to shares, or relating rights to these securities from 2019. Other big change is that the securities/rights must be kept in the ESOP organization for at least 12 months (from 2020 to 24 months) before the ESOP organization perform payments to the employees.

The amendment will enter into force at the beginning of 2019. According to the amendment, the existing ESOP organizations have 6 months from the entry into force to comply with the new rules, however, the ESOP organizations established until 1 January 2018 have more benefits, i.e. some restrictions do not apply to them.

By Eszter Kamocsay-Berta, Managing Partner, KCG Partners Law Firm

Hungary Knowledge Partner

Nagy és Trócsányi was founded in 1991, turned into limited professional partnership (in Hungarian: ügyvédi iroda) in 1992, with the aim of offering sophisticated legal services. The firm continues to seek excellence in a comprehensive and modern practice, which spans international commercial and business law. 

The firm’s lawyers provide clients with advice and representation in an active, thoughtful and ethical manner, with a real understanding of clients‘ business needs and the markets in which they operate.

The firm is one of the largest home-grown independent law firms in Hungary. Currently Nagy és Trócsányi has 26 lawyers out of which there are 8 active partners. All partners are equity partners.

Nagy és Trócsányi is a legal entity and registered with the Budapest Bar Association. All lawyers of the Budapest office are either members of, or registered as clerks with, the Budapest Bar Association. Several of the firm’s lawyers are admitted attorneys or registered as legal consultants in New York.

The firm advises a broad range of clients, including numerous multinational corporations. 

Our activity focuses on the following practice areas: M&A, company law, litigation and dispute resolution, real estate law, banking and finance, project financing, insolvency and restructuring, venture capital investment, taxation, competition, utilities, energy, media and telecommunication.

Nagy és Trócsányi is the exclusive member firm in Hungary for Lex Mundi – the world’s leading network of independent law firms with in-depth experience in 100+countries worldwide.

The firm advises a broad range of clients, including numerous multinational corporations. Among our key clients are: OTP Bank, Sberbank, Erste Bank, Scania, KS ORKA, Mannvit, DAF Trucks, Booking.com, Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest, Hungarian Post Pte Ltd, Hiventures, Strabag, CPI Hungary, Givaudan, Marks & Spencer, CBA.

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