About Hungary


Famous for its goulash and paprika and Bela Bartok string quartets, Hungary is one of the most cultural and exciting countries in Europe. From its origins, when King Stephen the First accepted the crown from the Roman pope, this country has had a clear tendency towards the western culture. Hungary has struggled greatly during its long 1,000-year history, but with every battle it was able to learn a lesson. Now, the country has grown to be the most business friendly country of the region and offers unique opportunities for business structuration and asset protection. If you are looking for a busines destination in Europe, then you will surely fall in love with Hungary for its stunning views, high cultural offers, good gastronomy and especially for its 9% rate corporate tax. 

Although it had the misfortune of being under the 20th century´s most destructive forces, Nazism and communism, Hungary was able to develop its economy and is now thriving in business friendly policies, corporate opportunities, and asset protection structures. 



Business outlook or why Mundo loves Hungary


Hungary is one of the most beautiful countries in Central Europe that also offers excellent business opportunities. Its popularity among the international business sector is growing in such a way that it´s becoming the preferred European destination for business even before Cyprus. Moreover, with the Cypriot CBI program suspended, many international investors are starting to consider other options in Europe.

Hungary has been a member of the EU since 2004 and is part of the Schengen area, thus opening the doors to the European market. It also serves as a gateway to Europe from the Asian market as many Chinese products enter the old continent through Hungary. 

With the lowest corporate tax rate in the EU, a legal system that enforces foreign rulings subject to bilateral treaties, of which there are only a few, and excellent asset protection structures such as the trust, the foundation and the AMF (asset management foundation), Hungary offers unique business advantages for businesspeople not only from Europe but from the whole world. Mundo has chosen Hungary for its business environment, its protective legislation, its rich culture, and its picturesque cities.

It is quite easy for foreigners to set up a bank account and open a company in this beautiful country which is known for being one of the business friendliest in the region. If you want a place with easy incorporation, low cost, and favorable business environment, you have come to the right place. 


Mundo´s country rating



Mundo´s country rating is essentially a freedom index whereby our team of specialists rate a combination of freedoms which include freedom from violence and personal attacks, financial freedom from high taxes, business freedom from government interference and especially from socialism and communism.


Political stability - 6

Although Hungary has been part of the Eastern Block controlled by the Soviet Union until 1989, it was the most westernized country. Thanks to this, the economy did not suffer much during the perestroika process, with a mild transaction to a liberalized economy. This tendency kept growing even after the perestroika with government policies which favored business and that kept boosting the country into the western economic model. These efforts resulted in Hungary finally joining the European Union in 2004. 

Hungary is generally a stable country, but it has been facing political issues during the past few years. The current Prime Minister, who has been the head of state since 2010, is highly criticized for its authoritarian regimes and conservative views. During the coronavirus crisis, Victor Orbán implemented a controversial measure in which he was allowed to implement extraordinary government powers upon a health emergency without the parliament´s consent. This measure has found many opponents and created political uncertainty.

Hungary has for now a stable economic and political environment but due to its communist past and due to the increasing political tension, we give it 6 points. 



Country business briefing


Being one of the most important financial centers in the region, Hungar´s government provides different incentives for businesses established in the country. This tendency finds its origins back in the 70s, where the head of state implemented business friendly policies moderated according to communist requirements. Even during its communist times, Hungary was able to plant a seed that would grow into a business-friendly environment and a free market policy. In this section we will discuss some of the incentives that are available in this country and that will help your business to thrive. We will also discuss important aspects that every entrepreneur should consider, especially when operating abroad. These aspects include labor law, licensing, restrictions, trade and import policies and others. This jurisdiction can offer excellent business advantages in an OECD compliant environment, which will make it easier to prove the source of income when expanding your business into new horizons. 

Corporate in Hungary


Hungary offers us a solid background where to establish our businesses. We are talking about a jurisdiction that provides substance in full compliance with the EU auditing requirements, but with a low corporate tax.

In this country it is possible to set up different structures such as limited liability company, limited partnership, or general partnership. Being one of the most important business centers of the region, Hungary offers unique corporate advantages such as easy incorporation and straightforward processes. Many of the auditing processes can be conducted through online platforms, reducing bureaucracy to the minimum.

Mundo´s experts recommend Hungary as the place in Europe where to establish your operating company, because, like all Central and Eastern Europe, this country presents a high-skilled labor force with low wages. Moreover, the corporate tax here is the lowest in the EU with only 9% a year and, if you transfer your dividends from an operating company to another one of your companies abroad, then you won´t have to pay withholding tax.

If you are interested in setting up your business here, this section is ideal for you. We discuss important aspects of company formation such as shares, minimal capital, auditing, branches, and others. 


Hungarian trust and foundation


One of the strongest features of Hungary and one of the best opportunities for international investors is the creation of a Hungarian trust.

This country offers us a great asset protection tool with excellent options for tax optimization such as:

  • A secure legal environment (foreign rulings are subject to a few bilateral treaties).
  • Low tax on the assets
  • Reputable jurisdiction
  • Flexibility
  • Option to establish other asset protection structures. 

Hungary enforces foreign rulings subject to bilateral treaties of which there are only a few, which means that, if you are a US citizen, for example, and your trust is set up in Hungary, creditors or ex-spouses will have a very hard time reaching your assets . If they are brave enough to go after your property, then they will have to do it through the Hungarian legal system and wish them good luck, because local law is extremely protective of trusts. It is difficult, even in Hungary, to set a trust apart. In order for this to happen the claimant will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had a legal claim against the settlor in Hungary before the trust was created, that the settlor was acting in bad faith while establishing the trust and, if this is successfully proven, in order to penetrate the trust structure the claimant has to prove that the settlor can´t satisfy the claim using other sources outside the trust ownership.

The Hungarian trust also offers unique tax advantages that will surely surprise you. We are talking about the lowest income tax rate in the EU and the second lowest among the OECD countries. The trust’s assets are considered a tax resident entity, therefore are subject to a flat rate of an exceptionally low 9% a year and local taxes from 0% to 2%.

Mundo believes that Eastern Europe has some of the best business developing and asset protection opportunities, and in this section, we discuss the details of a Hungarian trust.


Banking in Hungary


With increasing demand from foreign and domestic corporate clients for simple and rapid services, more financial institutions are providing universal banking, which ranges from straightforward lending to investment banking and securities trading. Most foreign firms tend to access local credit and capital markets through home-country financial institutions that have opened branches in Hungary. The services industry is concentrated in Budapest with large SSCs from many international important banks.

Under the EU's "single passport" principle, a financial services provider authorized in one EU member state is free to provide that service anywhere else in the EU. EU-based financial institutions are not required to establish a local subsidiary or branch; they are only required to register with the Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority.

Hungary EU-harmonizing reforms have created a financial environment where virtually all capital related institutions, products, and services can be found. The Hungarian Forint has been fully convertible for all financial transactions since 2001, and both the Hungarian financial market and capital market transactions are fully liberalized.


Citizenship and residency


Hungary used to have an RBI program a few years back, but this is not available anymore. Although there is no official scheme for acquiring citizenship by investment, it can be acquired but at remarkably high costs. Moreover, this is not a country that is generally open for immigration and, although not the highest in Europe, personal taxes are slightly high in our opinion, especially if you add them to the corporate tax. 

Considering the high expenses for citizenship, the country´s tendency towards immigration and the personal tax rates, Mundo does not particularly recommend Hungary as a place where to get official residency. If you would like to conduct business here, we recommend acquiring another European or Schengen passport and establishing your operating company in Hungary. 


Taxation in Hungary


Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting aspects of the Hungarian business environment is taxation. In Mundo´s view, Hungary is one of the best places to establish a company because, like we have stated in other sections of this page, the corporate tax is only a flat 9% annual rate. This makes Hungary the EU country with the lowest corporate tax.

If you have a company that is officially resident of Hungary, then you will be subject to worldwide income tax, but still can benefit from some interesting incentives such as double taxation treaties. This country has double taxation agreements in place with more than 40 jurisdictions, and does not impose withholding tax on dividends, interest or royalties paid to companies in those countries.

If you are looking for a jurisdiction that provides substance, then Hungary is a great option as it is in full compliance with EU accounting and reporting standards.


Expat living in Hungary


In this section we will discuss the life of an expat living in Budapest based on a real experience. My friend Monica, whose name I obviously changed for confidentiality purposes, is from the UK and has worked as an English teacher in different parts of the world including South Korea and India. Now she lives in Budapest and agreed to tell me all about her experience as an expat in one of the most exciting cities in Europe.

Monica is incredibly happy in Budapest because the city is particularly beautiful, with the Danube River crossing it by, its stunning architecture and unforgettable views. 

Monica teaches English language in a private school in Budapest and her husband has his own business. They have lived in different countries, but they have lived in Hungary the longest (8 years) which I think is testimony of how good their life is here. Monica and her husband live a great life with amazing and affordable cultural offers and great social circles, they earn more money and spend less, they save a lot in taxes and have spare time for their hobbies. 


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