The redistributive effect of the Hungarian flat tax and family allowance system
The study examines the income redistribution effects of the Hungarian flat-tax and the recently introduced family allowance scheme. They were done on the basis of people’s individual data for 2007, 2011 and 2020, which yields more accurate estimates than the previous studies based on aggregate or survey data. Between 2011 and 2013, progressive taxation was abolished, and a flat income tax was introduced, along with a substantial widening of pre-existing family tax allowances. We find that the tax reform has favoured high-income earners and taxpayers with children, while the main losers were low-income and/or childless workers. While the share of family tax allowances is somewhat lower for the high-income deciles, this effect is in practice negligible, therefore the income tax system can still be considered flat. The family tax allowance scheme favours wealthy families with many children over low-income families with fewer or no children. The biggest winners of the scheme are the taxpayers in the top income decile with three or more children: these 22,000 taxpayers (that is, 2% of all recipients) receive 10% of the total amount of the family tax allowance, and almost a third of the credit allocated to families with three or more children.