The Award For Silliest Tax So Far In 2015 Must Surely Go To…


By Global Tax Weekly

…Hungary, and it’s going to take some beating I think. Most countries now provide tax incentives in one form or another to the renewable energy industry, while simultaneously increasing or creating new taxes on the use of fossil fuels. Yes, the jury is still out as to what the perfect environmental tax policy should be to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas, or, indeed, whether taxes work at all. But it’s still an eminently sensible policy you might think, when you’re trying to save the world. Hungary thinks rather differently, and in its wisdom has slapped an environmental levy on solar panels. This is because, says the Government, solar cells contain hazardous materials and are therefore difficult to dispose of at the end of their lives. The solar industry counters that panels are actually recyclable, and in any case, have very long lives, in the order of 40 years. This move says more about Hungary’s desperation to tax anything it can get away with, in view of its fragile fiscal situation, than it does about its ministers’ apparent lack of common sense. I refer you to the equally daft attempt last year to tax internet usage, which was quickly slapped down by the EU and brought Hungarians out on to the streets in protest. An environmentally-unfriendly solar panel indeed. I think I’ve heard it all now.





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