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Expats should not experience much difficulty managing their banking and taxes in Hungary, as the country offers all the financial amenities expected of a modern European state.
Money 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. An official date for changing over to the Euro has yet to be set.
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.
Coins: 5 HUF, 10 HUF, 20 HUF, 50 HUF, 100 HUF and 200 HUF.
Notes: 500 HUF, 1,000 HUF, 2,000 HUF, 5,000 HUF, 10,000 HUF and 20,000 HUF.
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 dozens of banks operating in Hungary, among them many foreign-owned banks.
Banking hours in Hungary are from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Thursday, and on Fridays banks tend to close early, usually at 3pm or 4pm. Most banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Opening a bank account
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 to bring their passports. An address card is also sometimes required and a letter from an employing company with proof of income is also helpful, but not essential.
Internet banking is usually included with most bank accounts.
Credit cards and ATMs
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. While credit cards are available, it is notoriously difficult for a foreigner to obtain one from a Hungarian bank. For this reason, 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.
Foreign residents employed in Hungary are only required to pay tax on their income earned within Hungary. If expats stay in Hungary for more than 183 days of the year, they will be classified as a permanent resident of the country and be required to pay tax on their income earned in both Hungary and abroad.
Hungary has a flat income tax rate of 15 percent. Expats working in Hungary should note that the country has double taxation agreements with a number of countries so that they don't pay tax in two countries. Expats are advised to check this with the tax office in their home country.