A press release on the EC’s website has explained that Hungary was given until December 31, 2017, to gradually increase the excise duty on cigarettes and reach the required minimum threshold by the EU.
However, the excise tax was not increased enough and to date remains below what is required by the European Union. This is raising concerns with regards to both health and competition with other Member States.
Referring Hungary to the CJEU is the third and final step in the infringement procedure launched against the country. A formal notice letter was sent to Hungary on January 24th 2019, followed by a reasoned opinion on June 6th. Finally, since these efforts did not lead to compliance, the EC presented the matter to the CJEU.
Tax has been increased in 3 increments
Meanwhile, Hungarian news agency MTI has reported that Hungary has raised the excise tax on cigarettes in three increments since September 1, 2018. “From July 1, 2019, the tax is HUF 19,200 per 1,000 cigarettes plus 23.5% of the retail price, but at least HUF 32,200 per 1,000 cigarettes. The minimum excise tax on a pack of 20 cigarettes calculates as HUF 644, which compares to an average price of HUF 1,310 for a pack of Multifilter brand cigarettes, MTI noted,” explained an article on BBJ.