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Tens of Thousands Protest Internet Tax in Hungary

1 min readBy: Andrew Lundeen

Tens of thousands of Hungarians rallied to protest a proposal to create a taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. on internet usage in Hungary. In response to the first protest on Sunday, the Hungarian government limited its proposal.

The original proposal would create a tax on internet usage of 150 forints per gigabyte transfer of data (about $0.62) levied on internet providers.

The government presented a new proposal on Monday that would place a cap of 700 forints per month (about $2.89) for individuals and a cap of 5,000 forints per month ($20.61) for businesses.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the government said that the tax is needed to “make up for revenue lost due to the widespread use of the Internet and its free-of-charge communication that substitutes more traditional voice connections.”

It doesn’t appear that the new proposal satisfied protesters with the largest protest yet at around 100,000 people according to Reuters.

Opponents of the tax say that “the ideal amount of the internet tax is not 700 or 5,000 forints but exactly zero” and that the tax will “hamper economic development.”

The European commission also came out against the measure.

“If Hungary becomes a precedent in this instance, it can become a problem in a lot of other member states and can be a problem for Europe’s wider economic growth,” the spokesman of the EU’s digital commissioner said, according to the Guardian.

In December the U.S. Congress will likely consider a bill that would permanently extend the long standing moratorium on internet taxation.