The applicant’s benefits were subsequently taxed at 98% in their part exceeding 3,500,000 Hungarian forints (HUF). The exceeding part was HUF 8,130,939, the tax thus amounting to HUF 7,968,320. The amount payable was HUF 4,054,085, regard being had to the fact that the benefits had already been taxed HUF 3,914,235 on payment, on 2 July 2010.
18. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union provides as follows:
Article 34 - Social security and social assistance: “1. The Union recognises and respects the entitlement to social security benefits and social services providing protection in cases such as maternity, illness, industrial accidents, dependency or old age, and in the case of loss of employment, in accordance with the rules laid down by Community law and national laws and practices.”
The European Court of Justice held in Case C-499/08 Andersen v Region Syddanmark,  ECR I-09343 as follows: “29. The aim pursued by the severance allowance of protecting workers with many years of service in an undertaking and helping them to find new employment falls within the category of legitimate employment policy and labour market objectives provided for in Article 6(1) of Directive 2000/78.”
European Commission Recommendation of 30 April 2009 on remuneration policies in the financial services sector (2009/384/EC) provides as follows:
“1. Excessive risk-taking in the financial services industry and in particular in banks and investment firms has contributed to the failure of financial undertakings and to systemic problems in the Member States and globally....
5. Creating appropriate incentives within the remuneration system itself should reduce the burden on risk management and increase the likelihood that these systems become effective. Therefore, there is a need to establish principles on sound remuneration policies.”
In the case Michel Bourgès-Maunoury, Marie-Louise Heintz v Direction des services fiscaux d’Eure-et-Loir concerning the compatibility with European Union primary law of a national provision on the procedure for calculating a wealth tax, Advocate General Cruz Villalón reiterated that the principle that rules governing tax law and the exercise of fiscal power must not have confiscatory effects is a “well-known and widely-recognised idea” (Case C‑558/10, Michel Bourgès-Maunoury, Marie-Louise Heintz v Direction des services fiscaux d’Eure-et-Loir 12 Dec 2011, OJ C-46, 12, Opinion of AG Villalón).
25. The Government did not dispute that the contested deprivation of revenue had amounted to an interference with the applicant’s right to property. However, in their view, this interference was prescribed by law and pursued the legitimate aims of satisfying society’s sense of justice and of protecting the public purse. These aims of general interest were also recognised by the European Union which had initiated legislative steps (see paragraph 18 above) against excessive severance payments, as their amount often per se violated society’s sense of justice and the remuneration policy applied in the financial sector to executive officers had contributed to the international financial crisis of the past years.
59. As regards the personal burden which the applicant sustained on account of the impugned measure, the Court notes that he had to suffer a substantial deprivation of income in a period of presumable considerable personal difficulty, namely subsequent to the loss of employment. The Court would observe in this context that Article 34 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (see paragraph 18 above) endorses benefits providing protection in the case of loss of employment, and that according to the European Court of Justice, the aim pursued by severance pay – that is, helping dismissed employees find new employment – belongs within legitimate employment policy goals (see paragraph 18 above).
Moreover, the Court cannot overlook the fact that the applicant received the benefits in question, reduced by the then applicable taxes, several months before the change in the revenue rules, and might have disposed of it already, unaware that subsequently he would have to surrender this money, almost in its entirety, in the levying of an additional tax. For the Court, this element – that is, the absence of a transitional period within which to adjust himself to the new scheme – is likely to have exposed the applicant to substantial personal hardships. In this connection the Court recalls that taxation at a considerably higher tax rate than that in force when the revenue in question was generated could arguably be regarded as an unreasonable interference with expectations protected by Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (see M.A. and 34 Others, cited above). The tax complained of was not intended to remedy technical deficiencies of the pre-existing law, nor had the applicant enjoyed the benefit of a windfall in a changeover to a new tax-payment regime (compare and contrast, National etc., cited above, §§ 75 to 83).