back to article I'll cap internet tax, says Hungarian PM as mob attacks his party HQ

Following a protest by tens of thousands of people on Sunday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has promised to cap a proposed new internet tax. The new tax, which is due to come into effect from the beginning of 2015, sparked widespread outrage after it was presented last Tuesday. Consisting of a charge of 150 forints (£ …

  1. Semtex451
    Thumb Up

    She's braver on the way out alright

    "and it(s) part of a bigger pattern of problems. Now is the time for people to make their voice heard," said Kroes.

    Overstepping her remit there me thinks, not that I can argue with it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm.... Isn't this the political party

    That came into power and then immediately started enacting laws to ensure i) it stays in power and ii) the laws would be very difficult to undo, if they should ever find themselves out of power?

    1. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Hmmm.... Isn't this the political party

      Bingo. They replaced Supreme Court judges with sock-puppets, then proceeded to write a new constitution, then entirely new laws, reorganized the justice system, filling up the judges with cronies and hand-picked servants (fun fact: the chairwoman of the National Judiciary Office, the highest authority overseeing them is T. Hando, wife of the buy who actually wrote the new "basic law" on his iPad: J. Szajer, former VP of the ruling party until becoming MEP, now vice-chairman of the European People's Party in the EP*), while nationalizing as much as they can in the economy and handing it over to their oligarchs (in form of procured orders etc.)

      * The Guardian wrote about it back then:

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm.... Isn't this the political party

        If that was (apparently) so easy to do, why didn't the previous party in power do that to keep themselves in power and keep these guys out?

        Say what you will about the messed up system in the US, at least it is impossible for one party to rig and take over completely. Not that there is a huge difference between the two we have on some important matters, but even if one party nominated a complete whack job who started quoting Hitler during the final debate and 90% of people went for the other guy, he still can't pull a Beer Hall Putsch.

  3. James 47

    Oh noes!

    You just know there are politicans across the EU just waiting to implement something like this.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Oh noes!

      We already pay a tax on our internet access, it's called VAT.

      1. Da Weezil

        Re: Oh noes!

        The fact that VAT is already levied on Internet access isn't a bar to further taxation... think of motor fuel... Which comprises Item cost + (specific duty ) Fuel Duty + (General Duty) VAT. A lot of people forget we pay tax based on a value that includes a tax already included.

        When it comes to helping themselves to our incomes Governments will always find ways to grab more and ways to justify it - except where restraint would affect their standard of living of course. Dont think it couldn't happen here - especially where we have a government that has recently found a way to ensure any vehicle sold mid month attracts a double licence fee for that month as you can lo longer sell a car with a licence included, and the system will show a vehicle as untaxed once the DVLA have been notified of a sale unless licenced by its new owner immediately - from the beginning of the current month of course.

  4. Pen-y-gors

    Nothing new here

    Governments have always tried to tax knowledge. Uk had a tax on newspapers, which rose to 4d. a copy in 1813, and wasn't abolished until the 1850s. Strangely enough sales of newspapers rocketted after that.

    1. phil dude

      Re: Nothing new here

      I'll bet it's because people used to share their newspapers, rather than buy another copy...

      You know, in case they didn't like the news...


    2. RAMChYLD

      Re: Nothing new here

      +1. And they're one of the few countries with a tax on television and radio (the other that I know of being Singapore).

      1. Da Weezil

        Re: Nothing new here

        We have a tax on television too, however you frame the name, its a tax.

  5. gnasher729 Silver badge

    ISPs would have to measure my data consumption. I thought the reason for flat rates was that measuring consumption was expensive, so it's cheaper to give everyone as much data as they want and send everyone the exact same bill instead of measuring what they got and have complicated software writing a different bill for every customer, who will then complain that he didn't use as much as claimed, and whoosh all the profit is gone by handling that one complaint phone call.

    With a tax that is capped relatively low at £1.78, you'll probably be given the choice of having an unmeasured account where you pay the maximum tax, or a measured account where you pay the tax according to your usage, plus the hefty cost of measuring your consumption which is probably more than the tax itself.

    1. Nifty Silver badge

      It's so difficult that if I log into my Plusnet account, I can instantly see my data consumption so far this month.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        " I can instantly see my data consumption so far this month."

        Why? Is your service capped or something?

  6. Simon Harris

    lpszChant = "No new taxes"

    A Hungarian notation protest.

  7. Vector


    ...However, users fear the cost of the tax will be passed onto them...

  8. Levente Szileszky

    According to the US charges d'affair in Budapest it was a well-behaving, peaceful crowd...

    ...but the most troubling was not that apparently few idiots joined the crowd only to make trouble, it was the government spokesman (!!!) who immediately attacked Goodfriend on Twitter, in a ridiculously childish manner for observing the protest - the exchange speaks for itself, one can clearly see the effect of cronyism in Hungarian foreign affairs:

  9. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Doing the maths

    150 forints (£0.38, €0.50) per gigabyte of traffic, the tax would be charged to internet service providers... As a result of the protest Orban promised to cap the new tax at 700 forints (£1.78, €2.26) per month.

    So, once capped, that will be 2400 forints (£21.36, €27.12) per year, per ISP.

    There seem to be about 35 ISPs ( so a grand total of 84000 forints (£748, €949) per year revenue.

    Hardly seems worth pursuing it unless the government are planning on removing the cap later, and pursuing it suggests they do.

    1. kat_bg

      Re: Doing the maths

      Partly correct. You didn't took into account the number of gigabytes of traffic per ISP per year. I think the final amount will be bigger than 700k.

      1. Throatwobbler Mangrove

        Re: Doing the maths

        Surely the cap would have been per user per month, not per ISP per month...? At least, that's the only way I can see to give sense to it.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    A little bit of history

    The Window Tax

    The window tax was a property tax based on the number of windows in a house. It was a significant social, cultural, and architectural force in England, France and Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries. To avoid the tax some houses from the period can be seen to have bricked-up window-spaces (ready to be glazed or reglazed at a later date), as a result of the tax. In England and Wales it was introduced in 1696 and was repealed in 1851, 156 years after first being introduced. France (established 1798, repealed 1926) and Scotland both had window taxes for similar reasons.

    It sure made for pallid citizens and mold/mushroom cultivation.

  11. Levente Szileszky

    It's a diversion, nothing else, from the shocking outright US travel ban of gov cronies

    It's a classic diversion tactics - after a long series of very serious diplomatic signs and messages about state-run corruption schemes in Hungary were not only ignored but also mocked, the US took the extraordinary steps and invoking executive order #7750 about corruption (signed by GWB) they outright banned a handful of gov officials and cronies from entering the US.

    The list of banned people are not public but they were told if they are affected and some of it was leaked already: few of the PM's (Orban) right-hands, one of the them (guy name A. Habony) is among the 4-5 top oligarchs, he's the kind of guy - listen to this! - who famously sued every single news outlet for writing about his ordeal when he (practicing martial arts guy) after almost hitting them at a crossing, jumped out of his SUV and beat up a retired couple on the street... my favorite part of the list is the president of National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary as well as her VP of Taxation - this is CLASSIC banana republic stuff, right in the middle of Europe.

    OTOH it speaks volumes that the European Union is just WATCHING all this taking place in the middle of the EU, unwilling to do anything while the US, long being a bystander, finally got pissed and immediately started swinging the hammer... good ol' US, they know how to deal with these stodgy, small-town Ramseses like Orban and his ilks. :) Funny things is that the US DID NOT publicize the story, they tried to deal with it silently, only letting the banned know - so what these idiot cronies do? They concocted a false story about AMericans taking revenge for tax investigations into American companies (Actually it's more of a brazen lie as the original corruption issue is exactly the opposite, that the US companies complained that the entire Hungarian market is distorted by outright tax cheaters, they are simply unable to compete when properly paying taxes with competitors who sell products well under its manufacturing price.) More about the story can be read everywhere but this is a better summary in English:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon