Banking, Money and Taxes in Hungary

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Expats should not experience much difficulty managing their money in Hungary, as the country offers all the financial amenities expected of a modern European state.

Currency in Hungary

US dollars can be exchanged at banks in Hungary
The official currency of Hungary is still the Hungarian Forint (HUF) rather than the Euro, even though Hungary has been a member of the EU since 2004. Historically, the forint was divided into 100 fillérs but fillérs are not in circulation anymore; today they are merely used as a quantity in accounting.
  • Notes: HUF 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000.
  • Coins: HUF 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100.
The general rate of inflation in Hungary is around 3 percent, which is slightly higher than other EU states, but this seems to be in preparation for eventually changing over to the Euro. An official date for this has yet to be set.

Banking in Hungary

Banking in Hungary is relatively simple and up to the standards that expats from other Western countries have become accustomed to. There are more than 200 banks operating in Hungary, among them many foreign-owned banks. Some of the more popular banks in Hungary include Citibank, Magyar Nemzeti Bank, MKB Bank, Deutsche Bank and CIB Bank.
Banking hours in Hungary are from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Thursday, whereas on Fridays banks tend to close early, usually 3pm or 4pm. Most banks are closed on Saturdays.

Opening a bank account

Internet banking is usually included with most bank accounts. When opening a bank account, expats will be asked whether they would like to open a Forint, Euro or US Dollar account; each account has its pros and cons and varying fee structures. Minimum deposit requirements are usually the equivalent of USD 100.
Expats opening a bank account in Hungary will need two forms of identification, usually a passport and a driver’s license. Proof of address is sometimes required and a letter from an employing company is also helpful, but not essential. Most accounts bear interest, but it is best to check the fine print.

ATMs and debit/credit cards

ATMs are widely available in Hungary and debit and credit cards can be used in most large supermarkets and chain stores.

Expats wishing to have a debit card will need to make an initial deposit of approximately USD 250, sometimes more. While credit cards are available, it is notoriously difficult for a foreigner to obtain one from a Hungarian bank. Expats generally use credit cards from their home country or an international bank, rather than ones from Hungarian banks.

Taxes in Hungary

Expats working in Hungary whose only income is their salary are not required to file tax returns, as tax is deducted by their company on a monthly basis. Self-employed residents have to pay their taxes in advance and will receive a refund if there is a surplus at the end of the tax year.

All permanent residents in Hungary are required to pay tax on their income in both Hungary and abroad. In order to be classified as a permanent resident in Hungary, expats need to meet certain requirements regarding ownership of an apartment, a permanent place of residence for their family and the amount of time spent in Hungary. Foreign residents employed in Hungary are only required to pay tax on their income within Hungary.

Hungary has a progressive taxation rate, meaning that the more residents earn, the more they are taxed. Expats working in Hungary should note that the country has double taxation agreements with a number of countries to prevent expats from having to pay tax in two countries. Expats are advised to check with the tax office in their home country as to whether their country has an agreement in place with Hungary.

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