a) Hungary / b) Constitutional Court / c) / d) 17-11-2009 / e) 110/2009 / f) / g) Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 2009/162 / h) .
Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus:
Institutions - Public finances - Taxation - Principles.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Non-retrospective effect of law - Taxation law.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Rights in respect of taxation.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Tax, calculation / Taxation, principle of lawfulness.
An amendment to the tax law, which included employers' payroll taxes, as well as gross wages, as the basis for personal income tax, was in line with the Constitution.
I. Several petitions were filed with the Constitutional Court against the tax-base calculation method of ''super-grossing" on the grounds that the method was unlawful and unconstitutional. It would extend taxpayers' tax liability to income that they have not actually received, due to the introduction of certain items that increased the tax base.
One of the petitioners was the Ombudsman for Civil Rights, who argued that the changes would result in the tax being levied on more than just earned income.
The amendment to the tax law was approved by Parliament in the summer of 2009, and came into force at the start of 2010.
II. The Court rejected all the petitions and held the amendment simply expanded the tax base with a correcting factor. The new rules on ''super grossing'' therefore came into effect on 1 January 2010.
The Court's reasoning was that the items increasing tax base used in this method of calculation were not regarded as income under the Personal Income Tax Act. The Court took the view that the addition to the tax base was merely a correcting factor or a mathematical operation with an impact on the tax base. The Court also pointed out that as there was no ''general rate'' for the social security contribution; the rate in effect on 31 December 2009 would have to be applied. However, retroactive application of that rate would only be permissible if this was more favourable for the tax payer.