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Superheroes may have customs duty and environmental product tax payment obligation!

Hungary is a popular location for the shooting of Hollywood and international film productions with studios bringing not only staff but also own equipment and requisites for shooting, which require special treatment and customs clearance.

Although film crews rely quite extensively on the Hungarian infrastructure during their productions, they often bring instruments and equipment necessary for the filmmaking with them. In addition to special costumes, sets, pyrotechnical instruments, they bring electronic equipment (cameras, spotlights, amplifiers, audio recorders etc.) and a number of special requisites to be used for shooting as well as the non-reusable packaging of these. Many do not even consider the customs clearance obligations relating to these products and the environmental product tax payment obligation relating to the products potentially left in Hungary that are subject to this tax type.

Superhero requisites are subject to customs duty also

If the film crew comes from within the territory of the European Union, no customs clearance of the filming equipment is necessary. However, if the crew comes from outside the territory of the European Union, for example, from the United States, the imported filming equipment must undergo proper customs clearance. 

All products (the entire filming equipment basically) that are used by the crew during filming must undergo a temporary importation procedure. This customs procedure means that the goods imported must be transported from the territory of Hungary within the specified deadline in unchanged condition except for normal wear and tear. 

The customs procedure may be carried out: 

  • using an ATA certificate issued for this purpose by the chamber of commerce of the country concerned, or 
  • by filling out a single administrative document and providing appropriate customs security. 

If, for any reason, any of the goods that underwent the temporary importation procedure are not to be transported back from the territory of Hungary, such goods must be customs cleared for domestic circulation and the relating customs burdens (customs duty, import VAT) must be paid. 

If the entity concerned does not have an establishment in Hungary, it may act through its financial representative or indirect customs representative during the temporary importation procedure, the release for free circulation and the customs clearance using a single administrative document. 

Is the packaging of filming requisites and equipment subject to product tax?

Film producers must also take into account that they may have to pay product tax on the electronic equipment, packaging materials, plastics and other products subject to environmental product tax imported to and left within the territory of Hungary or used here. 

In order to fulfil the product tax payment obligation, the entity must register with the customs authority and prepare and file a product tax return for the period concerned. If the entity (film production) does not have an establishment in Hungary, this obligation may be fulfilled through a financial representative partner. 

As non-compliance with this obligation may imply sanctions, productions and the requisites and equipment used should be checked from the perspective of tax, customs duty and environment product tax payment obligation also. 

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