In 2021, the green financial markets substantially increased according to the Green Finance Report of the Central Bank of Hungary (MNB). Credit institutions launched green lending, and four banks are taking advantage of the MNB's green capital requirement discount for housing. Among green financing products, the green bonds are very popular both at public and corporate level, and green lending has also been launched on the corporate side. In the investment segment, ESG products are already available, but only to a limited extent.
At the initiative of the Ministry of Justice, the Hungarian National Bank and the Hungarian Bar Association, the Government adopted a Government Decree in April 2022 regulating in detail the payment of lawyers' deposits at financial institutions in the event of liquidation and winding-up proceedings. The Government Decree provides that in the event of the winding-up and liquidation of a financial institution, the provisions of the Bankruptcy Act, the Company Registration Act, the Act on Credit Institutions and Financial Undertakings and the Investment Firm Act shall apply with the additions and derogations included in the Government Decree.
The Hungarian tax authority published its annual tax audit guidelines with the clear aim of supporting compliant taxpayers and take firm actions against intentional tax evasion by utilizing various data sources available in the process. E-commerce, real estate industry, data-based risk analysis remain key elements.
The Hungarian Government adopted a decree on 24 February 2022 that allows people fleeing the Russian-Ukraine war to enter Hungary and guarantees ‘temporary protection’ for them. This temporary protection applies to all Ukrainian citizens and refugees who lived in Ukraine and their relatives. The temporary protection, at this stage, is available for one year. In order to get the temporary protected status, after entering Hungary, people must register at the Immigration Authority or at one of its sub-offices at the reception centres located near the Ukraine border. With the temporary protected status Ukrainian citizens are entitled to get accommodation, food, medical care, also dental treatment, maternity care, vaccinations and education for children. They are also entitled for monthly cash allowance for the duration of their protection. The monthly amount of the allowance is HUF 22,800 (approx. EUR 62).
From 14 February 2022 European patents registered in Hungary became available in the EFPR system. According to the statement of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (“HIPO”), by joining to the EFPR system, 34,000 patents registered in Hungary became available and searchable on the site of the EFPR. It is important to have a common platform for the patent registry, as customers do not need to look up national sites and search for similar patents before requesting registration. The system itself is capable of informing the user about countries in which the European patent in question is not protected anymore.
On 13 March 2022 the Hungarian Parliament approved an amendment to the Corporate Income Tax Act that modified the regulation of investment tax incentives. Based on the amendment, the only requirement to claim the investment tax credit is that the investment should be an initial investment implemented by a small and medium-sized enterprise, or is realized by a large company in the Northern Hungary, Northern Great Plain, South Great Plain, South Transdanubia, Central Transdanubia or Western Transdanubia regions. Mainly the Pest County region will benefit from the amendment, as the tax credit can be claimed after the investment projects realized in the whole region.
In accordance with its latest announcement, Hungarian Government decided to temporarily decrease the excise duty imposed on fuel products as of 10 March 2022. Other governments in the region also introduced similar measures to control fuel prices and thus inflation; compliance with the EU rules, however, might be of secondary importance.
As technology plays an ever-growing part in our lives, lawmakers, as well as high-tech companies have to deal with the problem of inheritance of these digital assets. The importance of these assets is demonstrated by the fact that according to notaries, they became part of succession in an increasing number. One has to pay attention to the inheritance of these accounts, since it can easily happen that heirs will not be able to access for example the deceased persons' cryptocurrency account.
The amendment to the Government Decree on the energy performance of buildings, in force from 1 January 2022, requires parking spaces in existing buildings, new buildings or buildings undergoing major renovation (including the electrical infrastructure of the building) to be equipped with an electric car charger or to have an electrical connection facility to enable the charger to be installed at a later date.
The act on the Enforcement of Material Compensation for Delay in Civil Proceedings entered into force on 1 January 2022. In the past decades, the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly indicated that the Hungarian legal system does not provide a domestic remedy which is considered effective by the Court and would serve to prevent the delay of court proceedings or to remedy the damage caused by such proceedings. In its judgment in Gazsó 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, the Act establishes a new legal remedy for compensation for violation of fundamental rights, called material compensation (in Hungarian: “vagyoni elégtétel”).
In its recent decision issued on 27 January 2022, the Constitutional Court annulled an important rule of the Tax Procedure Act with regards the prolongation of limitation period. The decision is fundamentally beneficial for taxpayers, but also triggers some uncertainty for repeated proceedings going forward.
In the past years, several new EU Member States have started investigations regarding the quality of products. Investigations showed that in many cases products have more detailed descriptions attached, or simply have more active substance if they are sold in the Western Member States than in the Central and Eastern European Member States. It was suspected for a long time that there are quality differences between the same products, sold in the same packaging but in different countries.
On 14 December 2021 certain acts of agricultural subject were amended by the Hungarian Parliament, affecting inter alia the Act on Protection, Management of Wildlife and Hunting, the Forest Act, the Act on Transactions in Agricultural and Forestry Land (Land Transactions Act) and the Act on the Termination of the Undivided Joint Ownership on lands.
Several modifications of the company rules in the Hungarian Civil Code entered into force with effect of 1 January 2022. One of the most important changes is that the rules on additional payment (in Hungarian: “potbefizetes”), which were applicable only for limited liability companies, have been transferred to the common rules of companies, resulting in that the possibility to require additional payment from the members is available also for general partnerships, limited partnerships and private limited companies.