Hungary to tax internet usage, public says No way

Hungary is steeling itself to become the first country in the world to tax people for internet usage, Reuters has reported.

In a draft tax bill submitted to parliament yesterday, provisions were outlined for internet providers to pay a hefty 150 forints (37 pence) per gigabyte of data traffic in tax. It would, however, allow companies to offset corporate income tax against the new charge.

Mihály Varga, the economy minister who revealed the proposal, reasoned that it is a logical extension of the government’s levies on text messaging and phone calls, which were introduced in 2011.

As you might expect there was a public outcry, and within hours of the submission being published, upwards of 100,000 people had joined a Facebook group protesting the tax and promising to rally against. They argue that it is excessive, and (quite justifiably) fear that responsibility for paying it could be passed on to customers, allowing internet service providers to dodge the bill.

So, will the proposal spread to other countries? That remains to be seen, but the unpopularity of such a tax – and the widespread discontent with other controversial taxes (ahem, bedroom tax) – will hopefully keep British politicians from looking into it!

Main image: Frank Schmidt at Flickrcc

Sadie Hale