Tax-efficient forms of remuneration, serving at the same time, as a means of motivating management have never been more popular. And the range of options available for doing this has expanded this summer to include what’s known as a Special Employee Co-Ownership Program (“KMRP” in Hungarian), a vehicle that can be used for in certain situations that cannot be handled in the context of an Employee Part-ownership Program, MRP. In addition, KMRPs are an excellent vehicle for implementing management buyouts.
For many, the summer months bring to mind sunny beaches, mouth-watering Mediterranean cuisine, colourful buildings along Portuguese streets, and cities that offer memorable cultural experiences... Yet few are aware that, beyond drawing in tourists, because of their tax systems, popular holiday resorts are also attractive destinations for affluent, well-to-do foreigners - often for periods of time longer than that of a mere summer adventure.
"I have a Slovak address card, so I don’t have to pay taxes in Hungary…" "I just have to make sure not to spend more than 183 days at home". "I’m a digital nomad, I don’t pay taxes anywhere." Many similar misconceptions circulate in Hungary regarding the rules of tax residence. However, tax regulations are “much smarter” than that and those who follow false illusions may even be exposed to criminal liability.
While dozens of programmers, engineers and hairdressers continue to opt for KATA [the fixed-rate tax for enterprises categorised as “small taxpayers”] in Hungary, the tax is increasingly coming under fire from all sides. Apparently, the Hungarian Tax Authority (NAV) is stepping up its investigations into businesses who employ KATA payers, and at the same time rumours are also flying about a planned KATA tightening.
Thanks to the virtual mobility afforded by the internet, a growing number of people today are using online trading platforms to buy and sell foreign securities through brokers abroad. However, these investors in foreign stock markets are often gambling not only with their money, but with the tax system, too – often without even being aware of it.
In line with the models applied in the English-speaking world, the granting of a stock option to a company’s manager, or to the members of its management team, is becoming increasingly widespread in Hungary too. A stock option not only gives the manager an incentive to increase the value of the company, but after exercising the option it also creates an opportunity for him or her to have a say in shareholder decisions. The regulations related to stock options in Hungary, however, carry a good deal of tax-related pitfalls. It pays to be aware of these when devising your stock option plan.
A growing number of family businesses are coming up for sale these days. This is partly due to the favourable investment environment, and partly to the difficulties to pass on businesses to the next generation. A critical aspect in such deals is: what kind of tax implications the sale will have for the sellers. While, in some cases, the sale can be made tax-free, at other times a private individual divesting his or her share in the business can be faced with a tax liability of up to 34.5%.
The law is constantly in flux. While many people may find this intimidating, for us it’s precisely what makes it so exciting. We’d like to share this attitude with businesspeople and managers, and with those who just have an interest in business law, in the form of a regularly updated blog that discusses the latest tax law and commercial law issues in an accessible style. Feel free to send your questions and suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover to firstname.lastname@example.org.