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Hungary: EC’s referral to CJEU regarding excise tax on cigarettes

Hungary: EC’s referral to CJEU regarding excise tax

The European Commission today announced its decision to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for failing to apply the minimum EU threshold for excise duty on cigarettes pursuant to EU rules on manufactured tobacco.


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As explained in today’s EC release, Hungary was allowed a long transitional period (until 31 December 2017) to apply a gradual increase in the excise tax (duty) rate on cigarettes up to the required minimum threshold. Currently, the excise duty applied by Hungary remains below the EU threshold, which the EC found is generating distortions of competition with other EU Member States.

The European Commission in January 2019 sent a letter of formal notice to Hungary, followed by a reasoned opinion in June 2019. Since Hungary has not yet complied, the EC today announced it was bringing the matter before the CJEU.

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